A nearly full house gathered in Ritsche Auditorium Tuesday, Feb. 9, to listen to executive director Jaylani Hussein, with the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), speak about Islamophobia.
Hussein, who emigrated from Somalia with his family in 1993 to Minnesota, gave insight into the sensitive topic with some background information about the history of Islamophobia.
He then introduced some current facts regarding harassment, bullying, discrimination, vandalism and anti-Muslim events, all of which have contributed to the rise in Islamophobia in recent years.
Hussein spoke of close-mindedness, ignorance and misinformation being the main foundations for much of the projected hatred of the Muslim community.
He proposed that Hollywood has portrayed Muslims in a negative light, which has perpetuated negative stereotypes allowing for further discrimination.
He discussed the political side of Islamophobia as well, noting that both right- and left-wing supporters have participated in smear campaigns against Islam by portraying Muslims as terrorists, anti-American and people with poor hygiene.
In closing, Hussein asked the audience to combat Islamophobia by starting a conversation with people of the Muslim faith.
He said, “Find out the facts, think for yourself and connect with others.”
He ended his speech with this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King citing, “In the end, we will remember the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”