Sociology professor speaks to CNN, Denver Post about anti-Muslim backlash
Sociology | December 16, 2015
Sociology professor Lori Peek, author of “Behind the Backlash: Muslim Americans after 9/11,” recently spoke to CNN and the Denver Post about the harassment, threats, and hate crimes the Muslim community has experienced in recent weeks.
Threats, harassment, vandalism at mosques reach record high
By Daniel Burke, CNN
Lori Peek, a sociologist at Colorado State University who has studied anti-Muslim backlash, says hate crimes are often more complex than they might seem. Some are carried out by drunk thrill-seekers with nothing better to do on a Saturday night. Others, which often occur after terrorist attacks, arise from a mistaken notion of “defending” the country from Muslim invaders.
In other words, one violent act, supposedly carried out in the name of Islam, is met by another violent act, supposedly carried out to combat Islam. Meanwhile, innocent American Muslims are caught in the middle. The effects of hate crimes can be long-lasting and psychologically devastating, according to studies, leading to depression, anxiety and other emotional trauma.
As with the rise of ISIS in the last 18 months, the news keeps getting worse for American Muslims, Peek said, with every new attack like a drop of water falling into an overflowing sink. “Muslim Americans are feeling that they will never be able to say that this is in the past, that we will be accepted again into the fabric of America.”
Read the full text here.
By Colleen O’Connor, The Denver Post
Lori Peek, author of “Behind the Backlash: Muslim Americans After 9/11″ and associate professor in the sociology department of Colorado State University, has heard from many Muslim-Americans in recent weeks that they feel more targeted than after 9/11.
“Backlash and scapegoating are much more likely to occur after major events, and much more likely to be directed at marginalized minority populations,” she said in an e-mail interview.
“How many young, white, Christian males have shot up schools and other public places over the past decade? Are there ever hate crimes directed against that population after these major events? Are their places of worship monitored? Are they told they won’t be able to live in this country any longer?”
Soon after Trump’s [call for a ban on Muslims coming to America], an anonymous poster on the student Facebook page at Colorado State University in Fort Collins expressed agreement, saying, “Islam is the cause of all the world’s problems. Heck, I wouldn’t mind if someone started an anti-Muslim militia to ensure Islam is banned from campus!”
For Israa Eldeiry, the Egyptian-American president of CSU’s Muslim Student Association, it was a chilling moment.
“I thought, ‘Oh my God, I don’t feel safe,’ ” she said. “People act on this hatred, and you don’t know who it will be, someone in your class or someone walking next to you to class.”
She posted a defiant response claiming her right as an “American-Arab” and “proud Muslim woman” to a feeling of safety on campus and denouncing the assumption that all Muslims are terrorists. That post triggered more than 500 likes within 24 hours, and much support. This response encouraged her to write an opinion column for the college newspaper, published Friday, about anti-Muslim bigotry.
“I still have the fear in me, and I don’t feel safe, but I decided to take this opportunity to feel support,” she said. “Hopefully, most people don’t like to see this much hate going around.”
People in the local Muslim community stress that they’ve also received overwhelming support, from flower bouquets dropped off at mosques, kind messages and phone calls, and a recent interfaith vigil at the Colorado Muslim Society that drew hundreds of people.
Read the full text here.