Among the many problems The United States of America is faced with in the twenty-first century, the issue of discrimination may be the most prevalent. Issues of discrimination in the United States date back to the fourteenth century when the nation was still under British rule. As early as Colonial American times, individuals in the United States have suffered discrimination for various reasons. Native Americans faced cultural discrimination, minorities have faced racial slander, and in present times many religious groups are plagued by oppression. Although the United States has come a long way in terms of social tolerance, we still have a long way to go. Among the many minority groups affected by prejudice beliefs, Muslims are one of the most oppressed populations in America today, facing inflammatory prejudices throughout the media. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, by Al-Qaeda, a radical Islamic terrorist group, the perception of the word “Muslim” would be changed forever. Attached to the word Muslim is a stereotype which is indicative of ideals such as hate, violence, and terrorism. Evelyn Alsultany, author of The Washington Post comments on this claim by stating, “More than a decade after 9/11, despite a few sympathetic portrayals, underlying narratives in television and film continue to portray Muslims and Arabs as potential threats to U.S national security” (Alsultany). This is not to minimize or defend the wrongdoings of Muslims involved in terrorist attacks; however, Americans must understand that this subversive label cannot be applied to every individual practicing Islam. Radical Islam, or “Islamism” is the most radical form of politicized Islam which is responsible for the negative attention to which all Muslims are now subjected. The goal of this population is to purify their religion from modern ideas, such as democracy, and return to a strict Islamic state which lacks separation of church and state. In order to meet their goal of returning to a primitive Islamic state, members of the Radical Islamic community believe in using violent tactics which often include terrorist attacks and suicide bombings. While Radical Muslims promote violence, traditional Muslims encourage peace. Despite both of these groups practicing the same religion, many of their beliefs are polar opposite due to how they interpret the Quran. In the Quran, Allah gives his followers permission to use jihad (struggle or fight) in situations where their people and locations of practice are truly at risk. Thus, most Muslims follow the path of peace in their day to day life, and even respect other religions. Radical Muslims, however, believe that all Western ideas are a threat to their faith, and in this case believe excessive violence aimed at innocent people to be “self defense” (Barry). Traditional Muslims by no means support or agree with the actions of Radical Islam members. Sarah Barry, a Muslim teen and writer for the Huffington Post sheds light on this subject by stating, “Sometimes I’m asked by my non-Muslims what I think about the ISIS fiasco. What I think ? actually, what I and all Muslims know ? is that ISIS is not even Muslim. They’ve terrorized tons of Muslims, which would seem paradoxical if they were ‘Muslim'” (Barry). Traditional Muslims fear radical Muslims just as much as many Americans, demonstrating the clear cut differences between the two, despite technically being members of the same faith. In addition to the widespread, simple ignorance of the Islamic faith, there are also many organized groups that specifically loathe the idea of multiculturalism and believe in white supremacy. In particular, the Alternative-Right group has strong anti-Muslim views which fuels the fire of hatred that is aimed towards many innocent Muslims. As these groups which disapprove of traditional conservatism gain support, Muslims continue to feel the effects. Due to the actions and beliefs of white nationalist groups in America, Muslims are faced with severe alienation in a nation which was founded on freedom and diversity. The Alternative Right Group is one of the most influential groups in America contributing to the oppression of Muslims. Created in 2008 by Richard Bertrand Spencer, the Alternative-Right Group seeks to eradicate all other cultures and races from America as a means to preserve the nation’s roots (“Alt-Right”). This aggressive group began as an online blog which rapidly grew in support due to social media (“Alt-Right”). Today, members of the Alt-Right group which usually consist of young, white, males, hold meetings to discuss their ideas. Alt-right members believe that because the nation was founded by white anglo-protestants, the nation should remain this way (“Alt-Right”). In an interview with broadcasting company Al Jazeera, Spencer comments on minorities by stating, “…This is not your country. You might be a great person…but this is ours” (Al Jazeera English). Later Spencer states, ” “Being an immigrant is kind of pathetic to be honest…You are just taking advantage of what other people have built” (Al Jazeera English). Many members of this group claim to respect minority groups, but simply believe that they do not belong in America and fear they will enhance the diversity of the United States. The delusions of the Alternative-Right Group and similar conjugations are continuously fueling the fear that drives people to act hateful towards innocent, peaceful practicing Muslims. Social media is a key component of the Alt-Right group’s tactics in carrying out their agenda of spreading their white-supremacist beliefs. Alternative-Right group members flood websites such as Twitter and Reddit, with offensive, anti-multicultural images and memes. Many of these images contain Nazi symbols and offensive slurs aimed at immigrants and minority races (Stat N). Fortunately, awareness has been brought to this topic which prompted Reddit to remove Alt-Right images and ultimately ban the Alt-Right group from posting on their website. In their statement regarding the banning of Alt-Right members, Reddit explained, “We have banned r/altright due to repeated violations of the terms of our content policy….specifically, the proliferation of personal and confidential information” (Stat, N).. If the Alt-Right group was truly using their platform to “improve” the nation as the claim to be doing, it is likely that they would not have been banned from an online website. Social media is one of the many ways the members of the Alt-Right group spreads their messages of hates in order to subjugate Muslims in the United States. The Alt-Right Group’s anti-multicultural propaganda has gained so much popularity that it has even appeared on the Twitter pages of extremely influential politicians. Donald Trump, in particular, has recognized, and supported images created by the Alt-Right Group on social media. Recently, Donald Trump has been criticized for retweeting anti-muslim videos posted by a British far-right Group, “Britain First.” Although the video did not come from the American Alt-Right Group, perhaps the outcome would have been the same if it had considering the Alt-Right group’s similar beliefs to the Far-Right Group in Britain. The videos included an Islamic mob throwing a boy off of a roof, Muslims destroying a statue of Virgin Mary, and Muslim immigrants beating a Dutch boy (BBC 2017). BBC News reporter, Anthony Zurcher, suggests Trump’s reason for posting these offensive videos by saying, “He cites events and opinions there as a warning to Americans of what could happen in the US if they do not heed his policy prescriptions on immigration and border security. The Muslim ban, the US-Mexico wall, increased deportations, the sharp reductions on refugee resettlement – it’s all part of the president’s “national security” package. (BBC, 2017). Many Alt-Right supporters have praised Trump for the posts which depict Muslims as violent and unwanted in the United States which further adds to the injustice Muslim Americans face. Aside from simply using the internet to spread anti-diversity beliefs, the Alt-Right Group often takes part in rallies along side other organization which share similar beliefs. One recent rally, which took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, has brought much attention to both the Alt-Right Group and the issue of cultural diversity in America. This protest began as a white nationalist march and included white supremacist groups such as The Alt-Right Group, the Ku Klux Klan and the League of the South. Minority group activists which included Black Lives Matter and Muslim advocates met their enemies at the rally in their own march (The New York Times). The result of the opposing groups involved violence which included physical fighting and pepper spray. (The New York Times). One white supremacist went as far as to drive his car in reverse, plowing into a crowd people, which resulted in the death of one woman. The use of protest rallies enables the Alt-Right group to gain supporters in various states, which enhances their publicity and makes their inhumane beliefs more well known as well as instills fear into Muslims throughout the United States. Although this event was unfortunate for Muslims across the nation, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, failed to advocate for the victim minority groups. When speaking about this catastrophe only two days after its occurrence, Donald Trump failed to directly blame the white nationalist Alt-Right Group for the violence which took place. White House reporter, Jonathan Lemire, explains Trump’s logic behind remaining silent by stating, ” He knows that these people support him. He recognizes they are small but energizes some of the coalition of people that backed him this November” (msnbc lean forward). Both the Alt-right group and Donald Trump share the ideas of nationalism and the disbelief of conservatism. Because of this connection, both Trump and the Alt-Right Group were able to back each others beliefs, ultimately resulting in both Trump and the Alt-Right gaining supporters during the 2016 presidential election. Richard Spencer comments on this connection by stating, “Donald Trump has brought nationalism into the campaign. It is about survival and who we are. His arrow is pointing in our direction” (Al Jazeera English). The Alt-Right Group has become so influential that their actions have begun to affect the president’s actions in dealing with acts of violence. Donald Trump’s failure to advocate and support the victims of attacks, which include Muslims, can be partially credited to the support he has received from white nationalist groups. The Alt-Right Group has not only provoked issues of Muslim oppression socially, but their actions are also beginning to produce political effects as well, leaving Muslims with a lack of security in their own home. Not only do white-nationalist groups protest while in large assemblies, many commit violent crimes driven by hatred individually. Due to the attention many white-supremacist groups, such as the Alt-Right group have brought towards Muslims, hate crimes have increased in recent years. The Washington post comments on this claim by stating, ” Hate crimes, workplace discrimination, airline discrimination and mosque vandalism have all increased exponentially. According to the FBI, Muslim Americans are five times more likely to be the victim of a hate crime today than before 9/11″ (Alsultany, Evelyn). One of many examples of a crime aimed intentionally at a Muslim occurred in Lakewood Ohio, when a sixteen year old boy wearing a kufi was shot in the shoulder while walking home from work after being called a “taliban bitch.” (“Map: Recent incidents”). In December of 2015, a man placed a firebomb in a mosque, causing destruction to the Muslims’ place of worship. The man responsible for this action was later charged with a hate crime (“Map: Recent incidents”). Another incident revealed hateful, anti muslim language written in graffiti on a Muslim owned business in Pahrump, Nevada, in July of 2016. In 2015 alone, The FBI reported two-hundred and fifty-seven incidents in which Muslims were victim of attack due to their faith in the United States (“Map: Recent incidents”). Although unfortunate, this is just a small sampling of hundreds of hate crimes geared towards Muslims in America. The negative attention brought to Muslim’s by anti multicultural groups is further preventing innocent practitioners of Islam to express themselves without fear of persecution. The continuous hate Muslims receive has gone far beyond the simple feeling of being out of place. In fact, the widespread mistreatment of these innocent people has this has begun to affect the mental health of many practicing Muslims. A study conducted by research psychologist, Mona Amer, found the mental health of Muslim Americans to be worse than that of other Americans. Amer states, “Half the study participants had depression serious enough to warrant further assessment…A quarter reported moderate to severe anxiety. Those rates are higher than those of the general public and other minority groups” (Monitor on Psychology). Muslim oppression is apparent in all age groups, however, many Muslim parents are beginning to fear the impact this discrimination will have on their children. In a study conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, research found that 42% of Muslim children face bullying in school do to their religion, which is double that of the bullying aimed towards Christian children (“A Journalist’s manual”). Farha Abbasi, editor of the Journal of Muslim Mental Health, shares her view on this topic by stating, “Muslim students are under particular stress, as many come from immigrant families. That stress can be dangerous to the mental and physical health of Muslim students.” The discrimination Muslims face on daily basis ultimately causes this minority group to feel as though they cannot fully embrace their faith, which is a constitutional right, and are beginning to have dangerous mental health effects. The United States of America has a serious problem involving the oppression of Muslims minorities. America claims to be the “the home of the free,” however, it is apparent that this idea fails to hold true. White supremacist groups have been dominating America since the birth of the nation and it seems as though this issue repeatedly fails to be resolved. The issue is not only influencing the social dynamic of the country, but has also become further intertwined with American politics. The Alt-Right Group holds similar beliefs to the President of the United States, allowing them to continue to galvanize other new members. This nationalist group denounces religious tolerance and wishes to mold the United States into a land made up solely of Christians, which creates further conflict due the vast amount of religions practiced in the United States. The actions of these xenophobic people have not only made an impact in the United States, but have also produced complications on a global scale. For example, the offensive videos posted by Trump via a British nationalist group has left him unwelcome in Britain, severely damaging the relationship between the two countries. The American Alt-Right group uses their online platform to gain supporters around the globe, encouraging other nations to form similar organizations. White nationalist groups in the United States have been successful in suppressing innocent Muslims practicing a peaceful faith. If this prejudice continues, it is possible that the anti-semitic individuals of the United States could further drive the wedge between themselves and all other people world wide, prohibiting growth, and ultimately allowing a dark history to repeat itself.
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