Islamophobia is the fear, hatred of, or prejudice against Muslims or Middle Easterners. Islamophobia has been around since before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and has increased noticeably over the decade, it affects more than a small fringe of group Muslims. It is a kind of discrimination that only Islamophobes deny and tell themselves, “I’m not racist because religion isn’t a race.”

Islamophobia is proven to be one of the most pressing issues in today’s society. It does not limit itself to hijab only. In fact, some often get mistaken for looking “Middle Eastern” and face anti-Muslim animus in public and online in the form of racial slurs and other invectives. A case of Islamophobia occurred on February 10, 2015, three of Suzanne Barakat’s family members were murdered by their neighbor in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She tells the horrific story of the incident that happened and the long-term effects it had on her and her family after the death of her brother, sister-in-law and her sister. The neighbor didn’t know who these three people were but hated them simply because of the way they looked and dress, he discriminated Muslims. It is shocking to know that there is 26% increase reporting of Islamophobic hate crimes and that it is still growing.

Islamophobia targets Muslims communities, people that look Middle Eastern, have Muslim names or have associated with them. Globally, many Muslims do not feel respected by those in the West. Kids have to go face others excluding them in school, many don’t want to be friends with them because of the way they look. Muslim youth ages 18 to 28 are the least happy and the most angry compared to the youth of other faith groups in America. Graduating Muslim students have difficulty finding a good career paths and advancing in their fields. Muslims deal with people giving them ugly looks in public. Significant percentages of several Western countries share the same feeling that the West does not respect Muslim societies. 52% of Americans say the West does not respect Muslim societies.

The best way to help eliminate Islamophobia is to understand where it comes from and what fuels it and simply talk with people who suffer from Islamophobia. We can try and identify where the anger comes from and work with the Islamophobes while keeping a calm mind. Invite them to your home and let them experience the difference between the news and real life. For the ones that don’t know a Muslim we can help by being nice and kind to them one never knows what they've been through.

The Muslim crimes and those that are readily labelled as terrorists has undoubtedly had an effect on the wider Muslim community, and increased the rate of Islamophobic attacks on innocent civilians like the case of Suzanne Barakat and her family members. Islamophobia in modern day America is not something alien to most Muslims, however it is rarely spoken about on public. Some people aren’t aware that islamophobia is an issue that Muslims have to deal with everything day.