Let us make a serious effort to fight hate on campus.
With the recent terrorist attack on a Canadian Muslim family of five, leaving one survivor in London, Ontario, fear is the last thing that should control our next step.
The man charged with the terrorist attack was a student at a college. This is why it is important to note what Muslim Students’ Associations can do to defeat islamophobia.
1. Educate Muslims On Campus.
If Muslims themselves assume that the solution to problems like Islamophobia lies in ideologies created by non-Muslims, then that is threatening. Islam has the solution to all problems. We need true Muslims to stand for Islam, in order to change the narrative around Islam. We need Muslims to reconnect with Islamic teachings to do this.
2. Develop a dialogue.
Work with African-American, Latino, and Jewish organizations for a common cause against racism and bigotry.
3. Establish open-to-all dialogues about Islam.
Whether it be in the form of setting up stalls across the hallways, pamphlets, booklets, public events, or even within friend circles, starting dialogues to raise awareness to defeat Islamophobia is crucial. Most students are neutral about religion, or don’t find strength in religion. These are the students who will understand and condemn Islamophobia with a little dialogue.
4. Develop an anti-racism coalition.
This will encourage a welcoming environment for all students free of racism, Islamophobia, anti-immigrant sentiment, and anti-Semitism.
5. Do not allow hatemongers to use your campus to spread hate.
Make sure hatemongers like Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, etc. are not invited to speak. For a list of designated hatemongers, Google “Islamophobia’s Dirty Dozen”.
6. Stand up for minorities.
Thousands of children are languishing in abusive prisons, and they are disproportionately African-American and Latino. Working on this cause will connect you with other minority and immigrants’ rights groups. Minorities will be the majority in the U.S. by 2050.
7. Talk to the Tea Party at tea.
The power of the dialogue is surprising. A few Tea Party groups backed away from anti-Muslim rhetoric when they engaged with Muslims personally.
8. Own a Wikipedia entry.
Although no one owns a Wikipedia article, thousands of Islamophobes are polluting it with their hate. Every MSA member can adopt an article to improve it, learn what needs to be changed with the help of some good scholars, and get an alert each time someone tries to change it.
9. Hire someone for the MSA.
Hillel, the largest Jewish student organization, does much more for their causes because of full-time staff. Can each MSA have at least one part-time staff or intern initially? Can a Masjid fund it?
10. Transforming youth into leaders
The Ummah needs people like Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) who stand up and raise their voices even if the opposition is from their own home. We need leaders who are activists at their schools, who understand how to speak to people at their level, who work strategically instead of reacting to the situation, who are not afraid to be the person with the megaphone in a protest. These are people who will carry out the dialogue within their circles and at events to open the eyes of the people to defeat Islamophobia