There are two types of fear, rational and irrational fear. I have two irrational fears. I’m not too keen about spiders or heights. For some reason I’m not afraid of Muslims. I don’t have Islamophobia. It’s great. Irrational fears is some kind of a test in itself. Who needs it?
So far I have not come across rational Islamophobia. (Rational fear, by the way, is what you would feel when facing a bear, realizing your brakes don’t work on the highway and imminent things like that.) Islamophobia is not rational at all. But it is possible to build up irrational fear, and create things to be afraid of. Just like the bonfire stories youth like to tell. It often starts in small groups. Among family, neighbors and friends.
So if you manage to build up Islamophobia, you have achieved two things. You have created something you don’t really want. And if acting out, you have started to hurt people around you.
The words hurt. The posts in social media hurts. The YouTube films hurt. The epithets screamed at schoolyards hurt. Because yes, children are very quick to learn, and they are taught hatred. The more of this that Muslims have to face in their daily life, the more they are likely to turn extreme. To find a way to respond to oppression.That’s how it works.
If you come by a Muslim that you think is not integrated – you got half the responsibility.
It comes to my mind that when I was living in a country where I couldn’t understand the language, I didn’t know people but every time I walked the dirt road to run an errand it took hours. Because all the neighbors invited me, wanted me to eat, share a few moments and that is how a learned their language. It started in gardens. I learned the names of the fruit. There’s riches to be discovered. And I hope you find yours.