US: Over two-thirds of Muslims experience Islamophobia

By Dilara Hamit


(AA): Some 67.5% of the Muslims living in the US has experienced Islamophobia at least once in their life, according to a study by the University of California, Berkeley.

Women reported more Islamophobic experience than men as the rates stood at 76.7% for Muslim women compared to 58.6% Muslim men, the Othering & Belonging Institute said in a press release on Wednesday.

According to the survey, two out of three Muslims were exposed to Islamophobic acts, while 33% of respondents said they had hidden their religious identities at some moments to in fear of Islamophobic acts and 88.2% stated that they avoided certain speeches and actions for fear of facing backlash.

An overwhelming 93.7% of the respondents stated that Islamophobia affects their emotional and mental health.

“This may suggest that even if a Muslim is not directly targeted by an Islamophobic act, the ubiquity of Islamophobia in our media and culture after 9/11 has created an atmosphere in which Muslims feel they are being monitored, judged, or excluded in some form,” said Elsadig Elsheikh,” the director of the Institute’s Global Justice program, which conducted the study.

“As our survey demonstrates, Islamophobia has deep implications for how US Muslims engage with society, and the barriers they face to achieve belonging,” he added.

Nearly 45% of those aged between 18-29 were more likely than any other group to have hidden their religious identity.

“The news is not all bad,” said Basima Sisemore, a researcher with the institute’s Global Justice program who co-authored the study. “One of the uplifting findings of our survey is that despite a general climate of hostility, Muslims overwhelmingly express a desire to belong, regularly interact with non-Muslims, and believe in the ideals of pluralism and equality.”

“The challenge before us now is to actually create the conditions that foster and strengthen social bonds and disrupt the structures that support Islamophobia to help us reach that ever-elusive goal,” she added.

“The survey, conducted two decades after the 9/11 attacks which led to a surge of hate crimes and prompted government policies targeting Muslims, provides insight into the experiences, lived realities, and psychological impacts of Islamophobia on millions of US residents,” the press release read.

A total of 1,123 Muslims, roughly half women and half men, joined the survey. The participants live and/or work in the US and they are both citizens and non-citizens. Among them are Muslims of various ages, national and ethnic backgrounds, and educational levels. The survey includes over 60 questions.

Additional report by The Muslim News

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