Yet the depth of hostility towards Muslims has left some educators in despair. For Hussein Rashid, Trump’s rhetoric is profoundly disturbing: “His desire to ban immigrants from a country of immigrants; his comparison of dying children to poison; and his use of anti-Semitic imagery should all be called out during the debates. It is not just Islamophobia, but racism writ large”. He admits that he is losing hope. “What we’ve seen in New York this year is men being shot, women being stabbed, and women being lit on fire. I am not sure that if someone has it in their heart to try to burn another human being alive, that education will help”.
Muslims are New Yorkers and they live in Chelsea. A couple whose marriage I officiated at lived in that area. We are as likely to be victims of these attacks as other New Yorkers. We are more likely to be victims of racist assaults than white New Yorkers.
We can never tell our own stories. We always have to perform to someone else’s definition of a “good American” and are still told that our citizenship is conditional. We have to show we are not perpetrators, and we can never talk about how we are victims.
That Muslims are subject to a double threat is not a plea to feel sorry for Muslims, but a lament for the city.
“Aproximadamente el 70% de las personas en los Estados Unidos no conoce a ningún musulmán”, explica Hussein Rashid, fundador de una empresa de consultoría centrada en conocimiento cultural. Oriente Medio sigue siendo también una región desconocida.
Sin embargo, la profundidad de la hostilidad hacia los musulmanes ha dejado a algunos educadores en estado de desesperación. Para Hussein Rashid, la retórica de Trump es profundamente perturbadora: "En los debates presidenciales, tiene que salir a relucir su intención de prohibir la entrada de inmigrantes a un país fundado por inmigrantes. No se trata sólo de islamofobia, sino de racismo con mayúsculas". Rashid admite que él está perdiendo la esperanza. "Lo que hemos visto este año en Nueva York son hombres asesinados, mujeres apuñaladas, otras mujeres quemadas con fuego. No estoy seguro de que si alguien tiene en su corazón intentar quemar vivo a otro ser humano, la formación pueda servir de algo".
But Hussein Rashid, an adjunct professor at Barnard College who frequently writes and consults about Islam in the U.S., said the jump in anti-Islamic sentiment the study pinpoints is reflected in the current political rhetoric.
“The data from this survey shows that there is an increasing pull away from the promise of America,” he said in an email. “In 10 years, people have a more negative perception of Muslims, Jews, gays, Latinos, and Blacks. As a new America is taking shape, with all its diversity, there is a reactionary response that wants a mythic America of everyone being exactly the same.”
“Our obligations as American Muslims have not changed, they have just become more difficult,” acknowledges Hussein Rashid, a scholar of Islamic studies. He still believes Muslims should rise above hate and try to be the best version of themselves, not for the sake of appearing moderate, but to uphold and mirror their honorable religious values.
Shortly after the attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Muhammad Musri, president and senior imam of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, held a press conference to offer the support of the Muslim community. He also cautioned the media and Americans around the country from rushing to judgment.
But in this tense political environment, have American Muslims also become victims of such tragedies? For answers, we turn to Hussein Rashid, a professor of religion at Hofstra University. Click on the 'Listen' button above to hear our full conversation.
Ali defined more than a generation. His religious identity was new to the American public, but he did with it what many believers have done — offered a voice of moral clarity and urgency to the issues of the day.
NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, NYC Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, NYC Council Members I. Daneek Miller and Helen Rosenthal toured the America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan earlier this week with the museum’s executive director Andy Ackerman, the museum’s honorary board chair Laurie M. Tisch, museum board member Judith Hannan, the exhibit’s academic advisor Hussein Rashid and others. America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far is a groundbreaking new interactive exhibit for children and families that explores the diversity of Muslim cultures in New York City, the U.S. and abroad. The exhibit showcases the cultural expressions of various Muslim communities around the world through age-appropriate experiences with art, architecture, travel, trade, design and more.