This is the 7th post in the Muslim Nation within Education series written by a group of younger NYM iNK sisters who are currently in high school. This series focuses on their personal lived experiences as Muslimahs in the mainstream high school system.
A hate crime directed to a young sister on social media. Terrorist and bombing jokes targeted at yet another young sister. These are just a couple of the Islamophobic issues we’ve touched on in our previous post. In addition to these issues, there are so many more that are sparking unwanted feelings among young Muslims across the nation.
Now, how do we combat these issues? How do we put an end to this ignorant and unwanted behavior that is targeting young teens simply because they are Muslim? Here are a few ways some of our sisters combatted these Islamophobic attacks, in addition to some practical tips on how to deal with these issues.
1. Report it to the Administration
More often than not, we may feel ashamed or even unimportant after such an event occurs. However, once we bring it to the attention of the admin we know that this issue will be dealt with and those involved can learn what they did was wrong. More so, this goes beyond just one incident. If one person can report an Islamophobic attack they faced, this will make it easier for the next Muslim students coming forward. Not only that, but it is also a learning experience for the staff on how to handle a situation similar to yours. In the future, the staff will know to take preemptive measures. So, not only are you resolving the Islamophobia issue you faced by reporting it, but you are also making it easier for any future Muslim students.
2. Educate about Islam
Ignorance is often the deeply rooted source of these Islamophobic attacks. We can solve this by collaborating with a teacher to talk about religion in a socials class. Or even starting a Muslim Students Association club. This is a great opportunity to bring Islam into the school and educate those who genuinely have no knowledge of Islam, aside from what news channels commonly tell them.
3. Don’t get too defensive or aggressive
A natural instinct for many is to defend themselves in a verbal, and sometimes even physical manner. Before doing this, take a step back and think of the best way a Muslim would respond. Better yet, think of how the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) would respond. Verily, in the Quran Allah SWT commanded the Prophet (SAW) to
“Take forgiveness, enjoin virtue, and ignore the ignorant” [7:199].
So, respond as how Allah SWT has told the Prophet (SAW) to respond.
4. Don’t let it get to you
These attacks will more often that not warrant unwanted feelings. But remember why you are Muslim and remember everything you do is for Allah SWT. At times, though, when it gets hard it can be difficult to keep the fire in your imaan burning bright. In these moments, recall this hadith and inshaAllah it will keep you going: The Prophet (SAW) said,
“Islam began as a something strange and it will return to being strange, so blessed are the strangers.” ~Reported by Abu Huraira [Sahih Muslim 145].
These are just a few tips on dealing with Islamophobic attacks within a school setting. May Allah SWT bring ease to the believers who face the struggles of living in today’s society. Ameen.