Brussels & Islamophobia: Post-Terrorist Attack, Anti-Muslim Reactions


    As you probably know, Tuesday, March 23, there was a terrorist attack at the Brussels Airport in Belgium. Three suicide bombers killed 28 people and left 340 people injured. Within hours of the attack, the hashtag StopIslam was trending globally on Twitter. The impulse to point fingers at Muslims always rises after terrorist attacks linked to ISIS, but one person’s actions doesn’t reflect the beliefs of a group of people. Islam doesn’t preach violence, so the accusation that Muslims are dangerous is incredibly insulting to both their belief system and their individuality. There needs to be recognition that only a very small percentage of Muslim people are extremists (and only a small amount of extremists are terrorists). It’s also very important to understand that many more Muslim people have been killed by ISIS than non-Islamic people.

    The Brussels Attack got linked to Muslim people because ISIS took credit for the bombings, and there’s a  misconception that ISIS is a representation of Muslim people. It’s unfair and ignorant to make this connection when Islam largely advocates for peace.

   That being said, this is not the time to push political movements; this is a time to show support to the people of Belgium who’ve lost loved ones in this tragic event. I think President Obama said it best when addressing the nation about this tragedy: “The thoughts and the prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium, and we stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people.” This response was very similar to the one Hillary Clinton gave offering support to Brussels.

  This is the opposite of the response presidential candidate Donald Trump gave.Trump took this opportunity to attack Obama and and make mildly Islamophobic tweets.

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 7.59.26 AM  Ted Cruz’s response was even worse, calling for police to “patrol and secure” Muslim neighborhoods. This is a blatantly ignorant attack on innocent people and could be extremely harmful because it pushes the idea that Muslims are the enemy. Ever since 9/11, after any terrorist attack, the number of hate crimes against Muslims rises significantly; spreading hate and the idea that Muslim people are violent puts anyone who believes in Islam at risk for unnecessary harm.

   Spreading hate is not the right way to solve this problem; as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” My thoughts are with the people of Brussels and with the innocent Muslim people who are now in danger because of stereotyping.