Why muslims are victims of attacks

Protesters climbed statues in France after staff members at Charlie Hebdo were shot and killed in January 2015. Photo Credit: Sémaphorismes

Sandra Gomez Aceves – Special to the Southern News 

Following the terrorist attack against the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, attacks against Muslims in France grew.

Charlie Hebdo publishes religious and political leaders in cartoon form in a way that is offending to their followers.

Yes, Charlie Hebdo has published images of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam but there have been images published of other religious figures as well. In 2010, the satirical magazine published an image mocking Pope Benedict XVI by drawing him holding a condom over his head.

Dr. Costel Calin, political science professor at Southern Connecticut State University, said that as long as the magazine isn’t targeting just one religious group, than they are within the margins of democracy and protected by freedom of the press. However, he also said that the Muslims in France are more sensitive because of the lack of integration into their society.

It is a shame and inhumane that a religion is seen as terrorizing and a threat to humans. It is those assumptions that cause stereotypes and racism to grow against a specific group of people.

According to Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, the attacks against Muslims have significantly risen since 2005. From then up until 2013, 691 total incidents have occurred. HumanRightsWatch.org said that since Jan. 7, the day the attack of Charlie Hebdo occurred, there have been over 50 attacks and threats towards Muslims.

Since the attack on The World Trade Center on 9/11, there has been a negative perception of Muslims in the U.S. as well. There has been ignorant comments and violence towards people that didn’t have anything to do with the tragedy that occurred.

Muslims are more and more perceived as terrorists rather than followers of a peaceful religion.

For a nation as educated as the one we live in, to still have people that think of Muslims as one, is just unintelligent. It’s not the actions of a few people that define an entire religious group.

Fereshteh Ganjavi, a student from Iran and a public health major, says the freedom in the U.S. is the biggest difference she’s noticed in her two years here.  However, she believes religion in many instances is used as another political power.

The problem with France is that it is a democracy that unfortunately has not become the so called ‘melting pot’ that the U.S. is.

The Muslim population in France makes up anywhere from 6.0-8.5 percent of the population. According to a survey by Pew Global Attitudes Project in 2006, unemployment is the biggest concern to European Muslims. In France the unemployment rate for Muslims is 5 percent greater than those of French origin. This is where the problem starts to build up.

“The fact that the Muslim minority in France is not well integrated into the French community,” said Professor Calin, “ and that the young French Muslim unemployment rate is 13-14 percent, creates a lot of tension.”

Calin also mentioned the fact that religion is a very powerful component to our world. He said that when used properly it can be used to create peace but that if and when it’s used improperly and exploited by a minority of extremists then that is when it leads to incidents like the one we saw in Paris.

When a minority group, like the Muslim population, is targeted and many times stereotyped and critiqued to the point that it becomes a violation of their rights it isn’t their fault but the fault of those pushing the negative insight towards them.

It is important to recognize that there are 1.6 million Muslims who practice peace. They are victims that suffer from stereotype because of a small percentage of extremists who claim to affiliate as Muslims.

Muslims deserve to be treated with respect. They should be allowed to integrate in any society that they choose without prior judgment.

With respect and integration will come the growth between religion and societies.


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