With growing hatred towards anything Islamic, life can be quite challenging for Muslims living in the Western world. From daily staring in the streets to occasional insults, violence incidents and even employment discrimination, we often feel that we’re constantly on trial and accused guilty until proven otherwise. However, like any other toxic phenomenon, we should really contemplate the reason behind Islamophobia in order to counteract it.
Let’s agree first that it is human nature that tends to get attracted to alike people and be confused or distant from those who show difference. As it is said, “birds of the same feather flock together”. So imagine non Muslims living in their own bubble in the West and receiving their Islamic background since childhood exclusively from media. How distorted their vision might be when the only Muslim picture they have in their mind is the extremists and terrorists highlighted by news. Feeling at unease is the least that could happen when these people meet a Muslim looking person.
So do we stand still and let this phenomenon spread? Or is there something that we can do about it?
In fact, there are simple acts that you can easily do in your normal daily life to spread your Muslim positive vibes around and unleash the beauty of our religion:
Yes, you heard it. Never underestimate how far your smile’s warmth can reach people’s hearts and melt the ice. Smiling makes you look friendly, approachable and most of all it’s a Sadaqa (Act of charity).
2. Mini chats
A simple “Good morning”, “How are you today” or “Take care” to your neighbors, coworkers in the elevator or service workers will show how much you care about them.
3. Small favors on the go
Allah immensely rewards those who help others in Dunya and Akhira. Offering your seat on public transit, giving up your turn at the cashier for older people or families with kids, or volunteering in your community are acts encouraged by Islam and perceived as generosity by Non-Muslims. We should always be naturally giving because this is the essence of our religion.
Many of the Islamophobes in the west have misguided perceptions towards Islam. It is our duty whenever we get the chance, to explain the difference between culture and religion. Acknowledge that there are wrongful behaviors in the Muslim culture and that this is being astray from the true Islam. And remember to always stay calm during the conversations as Allah said in the Quran.
Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.(An-Nahl 16:125)
5. Work sincerely
Being a great Muslim role model and setting up the standards at work, university or even sports is a great way to convey sincerity and devotion in our religion. If you know Mohamad Salah the Muslim Egyptian football player in the Liver Pool team, then you must have seen how he cast his magic to soccer fans around the world with his ethics, team work and sincerity.
Imagine if we have more like Mohamad Salah in all fields of life!!
Celebrate your fellow Muslims and share their achievements on social media in all fields of life. Let the world be their hall of fame because they deserve.
Living as a Muslim in the West and dealing with Islamophobia can be challenging, yet with small actions here and there, the fog will gradually lift insh’Allah.