PBS recently republished a column by Rusul Airubail titled ‘Why educators still need to talk about 9/11 — and Islamophobia‘. I think this applies equally to adults and is actually very closely related to current experiences of racism and violence.
It is still critical to provide safe spaces for children and adults to discuss the wave of Islamophobia that swept the US, with a rash of bullying in school, public taunts & personal attacks, and attacks on Muslim individuals and Muslim-owned businesses. Was this caused by an impression that Muslims are a threat, or was it a manifestation of underlying notions of racism and white supremacy? All those continue today, as you can see in this excerpt from Rusul’s original column:
Kids look at me and call me a terrorist,” said 9-year-old Malika.… “It hurts. Because I am not. I just want to be treated normally.”
I think this means we have to include Islamophobia as one of the things we work on in any real anti-racism movement. (And some of us in the sustainability movement may need a reminder that sustainability isn’t just about climate, or environmental degradation, or healthy food — it’s about people and how our current systems devalue them.)