This is what Islamophobia looks like
This is what Islamophobia looks like: A policy that has been in place for 20 years, allowing Muslim students the opportunity to pray at schools on Fridays, being violently opposed.
This is what Islamophobia looks like: Tearing pages out of the Qu’ran.
This is what Islamophobia looks like: Words like “this is a Christian country.”
And this is what it looks like to be an ally; to stand up for social justice: “How dare you say these hateful things!”
It just takes one…
One person stood up at a Peel District School Board meeting that went awry last week. One.
Christina Dixon stood up and said the words written above “How dare you say those hateful things!” because she couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
Only one person.
There were likely dozens of people at that meeting. I’d like to believe that Christina Dixon is not the only one who felt shock at what she was hearing. But she was the only one who took action; who spoke up. That is one of the things an ally does. And it’s so important. You can read the article here.
Why speaking up is important
Speaking up is important so that those that are being hateful, discriminatory, and (in this case) Islamophobic, hear that not everyone agrees with what they are saying. Silence can be interpreted as complicity, remember. If no one opposes what is being said, it’s easy to believe everyone agrees. That gives people permission to continue and fuels even more hatred.
Speaking up is important so that those that don’t agree know there are others present that feel like they do. This is what can help create allies, allyship and a movement to support those who are the targets of hate or who are being marginalized.
Speaking up is important for those who don’t understand what is going on, or think it’s ok – so that they see hate for what it is, and see that it isn’t ok.
Speaking up is important because it gives others courage to also stand and speak up.
And speaking up is crucial for those who are the target of hate and discrimination to feel supported. It shows them they are not alone and that someone is with them; That someone doesn’t agree with what is happening. It gives some hope.
Expressing shock can provide food for thought
Standing up and speaking up against hatred in the form of Islamophobia, racism, homophobia, transphobia, or any other form of discrimination can be as “simple” as showing your shock that someone would say or do what they did.
Expressing shock makes room for a pause.
Maybe the person or people you are addressing will take that pause and ‘get it”.
Maybe someone else will.
In that pause lives a hope for something better, a hope for change, a hope for a world where all people are able to live together with dignity and respect.