Dealing with Islamophobia
These days, in which Muslims are the object of suspicion, especially here in the U.S., how can we convince our children that racism and prejudice are wrong, particularly when they hear insults and bad things about Muslims at school?
Being a Muslim means that we should act Islamically under all circumstances and be role models of goodness despite any injustices perpetrated against us. This is obvious in the case of the Prophet SAAW and his companions in the challenges they faced from the non-believers. One example of this conduct is when a Muslim family (Aal-Yasir) was being physically tortured. Whenever the Prophet SAAW passed by them, he would urge them to be patient.
When our children interact with people from Western cultures or at school, they must be encouraged to continue acting according to Islamic values and not to resort to foolish behaviour if they are unfairly provoked by others. However, we do not mean that our Muslim children should be passive, but rather that they should accept the challenge they are faced with and try to correct the problem through constructive means, such as discussion. By acting in this manner, they will incur the support of Allah SWT and bring about changes in the people around them, even though it may take time to see the results.
Parents should play an active role in supporting their children by talking with the school administration and presenting the Islamic stance on issues of injustice and racism through interactive sessions with the school community. Parents should explain to their children that not all Americans support this negative attitude. You can expose your children to a more positive side of American culture by having them interact with more friendly and supportive Americans and by showing them news articles, such as those found in The Guardian of UK and The Independent also of UK. The articles written by Robert Fisk as well as articles in the Orlando centennial could also be of great help. The Islamic circle of North America (ICNA) website has a great collection of these articles.
For more positive news articles please, also check www.isna.net, and www.masnet.org. You should expose your children to opinion polls indicating that a large percentage of Americans are against these types of injustice and prejudice. This way, the children will see that the situation is not as bleak as it seems.