Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects, Social Issues & Politics

The Hypocrisy of Islamophobia

Not pleasant topics by any means, but certainly important ones, and that’s what we’ll be talking about today. But mostly hypocrisy. I’m going to tell you a story of something that happened a couple of days ago…

So, I was browsing my Twitter feed the same way I usually do almost every day and came across an older tweet about human rights (the Women’s March, I believe) and began reading the discussion going on. The rest is of the backstory irrelevant, I came across some hateful Islamophobic tweets by an account belonging to Mindy Gray so I clicked on her page to report the discrimination and move on to the rest of the thread when I got quite the surprise.

It turns out that this person does social work, much of the same kind that I care about too! I was appalled that in one tweet Mindy preaches the love and compassion of Jesus Christ and then turns around and posts the things that I’ve taken screenshots of below! (Click on them to see the entire thing.) Please tell me where in the world Jesus gave you an idea like this one! What I’d really like to ask her is what would you do if you picked up a Muslim in that hope coach vehicle? Which Mindy would they get? The one who loves Jesus or the one who hates Muslims? Because these two vastly different people cannot be the same one, right? Hypocrisy is something I will never understand.

After reporting to Twitter, I also wrote to the real Phoenix Rescue Mission that she is said to work at, or at least volunteer for. Why? Because there’s no way that I believe that the PRM is an Islamophobic organization that preaches hate. If one of them employees or ambassadors or whatever else you want to call it preaches hate under the name of their compassion and legitimate and important message then they should know about it. People like her make their work look bad or seem illegitimate. Hypocrites like her sadly reflect on organizations like PRM the same way that Donald Trump makes conservatives look like Nazis. I wouldn’t want somebody doing bad in the good name of my organization, would you?

It’s no different that those police officers who were fired because they are members of the KKK. Law enforcement officers are supposed to serve and protect with equality and justice. Here it might be on a much lesser scale but the denominator is the same. Big or small, this kind of stuff smears the good name of good organizations. PRM responded saying that Mindy never worked for them, yet I found this on their Facebook page, but what the hell. It’s not up to me anymore.

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Whatever they do (or not do) now is not up to me, but I can only hope that at some point somebody will stand up and do something instead of passively endorsing discrimination and prejudice. Twitter has policies against this and it’s the responsibility of every individual who wishes to enjoy this community to honor them. I’m not saying that you should go out and be the moral police — that won’t get you many friends nor is it your job to begin with — what I am saying is that if you stumble across something that violates the clear policies like I did during your daily activities for God’s sake report it! They have a button for that, make use of it! The community guidelines weren’t put there for nothing! Read more about Twitter’s policies here and here but to sum it up:

Freedom of expression means little if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up. We do not tolerate behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another person’s voice. If you see something on Twitter that violates these rules, please report it to us.

You don’t even have to engage with the other person, but if you do make sure that’s it’s by saying something respectful and constructive and not emulating their own behavior. Proving them wrong isn’t your job either, but by being part of a certain community it is your social obligation to honor their terms of service to create a good social atmosphere for all to enjoy the same way you do. If you stand by and do nothing you are as much of the problem as the person spreading the hate. Treat others the way you want to be treated, why is that so hard to understand?

I would be one hell of a hypocrite, equally a hypocrite as the person in question, if I went around preaching human rights and then silently standing by as my own people are victimized. I don’t go out looking for trouble or drama, but I am a responsible citizen and Twitter user who will take a stand when needed. I’m not going to uselessly argue or get emotional with people like this (that generally doesn’t amount to much) but I won’t stand by the heartache of the ummah either. We need to pick our battles and act appropriately and accordingly, and the moral of this story is social responsibility. When I think of social responsibility the first thing I think about is the following poem.

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It’s also important to bring up the issue that there is a big difference between criticism (or difference of opinion) and discrimination. There’s always going to be somebody who doesn’t agree with you or who gets angry about an alternate point of view but this is completely different than targeting a group or individual to harass them, put them down or entice prejudice against them. We can all share different viewpoints while remaining respectful and engaging positively. That’s also something that I hope will be taken from this story.

Lastly, why did I not blot out names you ask? This person is not a minor. This person knows what they are doing and they chose to post this kind of stuff publicly under their own identity. You choose the behavior, you choose the consequences. These were not isolated incidents of a lapse in judgement or in a limited context. These posts happened time and time again over a period of time and promoted the fear and hatred of Muslims. This is not a smear campaign nor does anything in this post promote hatred or harassment of the person in question or anyone else. I know it’s tempting to launch an Antifa-style social media smear campaign — and it’s not like I don’t often think about it when I see vile things in my feed — but it won’t accomplish much.

I won’t collect and publicly shame hypocrites or Islamophobes here either (nor do I encourage anyone to do so), however I chose to use this incident as a cautionary tale and to bring up important matters that too often get swept under the rug.

Author:

Liberal Muslim, social justice and human rights activist, cat lover, author and fellow human.

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