Islamophobia plagues perception of Muslims throughout the world, inhibiting Muslims from being an accepted part of society in several countries.
In 2019, the Indian government passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill which grants citizenship to religious minorities from the three nearby countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. This bill excludes and discriminates against Muslims under the false pretense of aiding refugees fleeing persecution. Muslims in India have constantly faced de jure and de facto discrimination, even more so now with the current administration. The cultural bias coupled with emerging Hindu nationalism has led to a toxic, unsafe environment for Muslims in India.
Another Asian country that has a long history of mistreatment of Muslims is Myanmar. The Rohingya Muslim minority in the country have been forced to flee to nearby countries in seek of refuge due to the mass persecution being carried out by the Myanmar government. The sectarian violence in these countries isn’t a new phenomenon in this part of the world; Islamophobia has been present throughout history and has now become normalized as part of daily interactions, media, and society as a whole.
The situation isn’t much different in the United States. There are constant microaggressions and hate crimes directed towards Muslims on a daily basis. Sutahar Subburaj, an Indian chef living in Omaha, was assaulted by a man who incorrectly assumed tbat Subburaj was a part of the Islamic State. This isn’t uncommon; South Asian Americans are often racially profiled by many ignorant Americans. In this generation, it is crucial for us to take steps to fight Islamophobia and any form of bigotry, starting within our own community.
Asian Americans have internalized discrimination, causing our activism to be fragmented and exclusive. Muslims are heavily excluded from the Asian American community, so topics like Islamophobia often go undiscussed. It is necessary to include the conversation of Islamophobia in Asian American activism and be aware of the prejudice that Muslims face in this country and around the world. We need solidarity among the AAPI community to battle Islamophobia, and to do so, we need to be more inclusive to every ethnic and religious minority that the Asian American demographic encompasses. The integrity of the movement only stays true when we include everyone's voice.