OPINION: Dear America: Be More Like Burlington


Do we see Muslims as radical? After 9/11, which was a world changing event, many people began to view Muslims in general as such. By radical Muslims, I am talking about the Muslims who use the religion Islam as a reason to do harm.  Too many people view all Muslim’s negatively since 9/11 occurred. This mindset that all Muslims are terrorists who want nothing more than violence is as harmful as terrorism.

Why does Islamophobia exist? One reason Islamophobia exists is the negative way the media portrays Muslims as being dangerous violent people whenever there’s an attack or conflict caused by ISIS, the international terrorist group known for kidnapping western journalists and aid workers as part of their tactics. ISIS is an extremist militant group who identifies as being Muslim.  They are terrorists and they are Muslim. This group makes people fear them, therefore they make people fear all Muslims.  Too many people have the mindset that all Muslims must be the same. The media needs to be mindful of how their reporting on ISIS impacts innocent Muslims.

How do Muslims in Burlington deal with how Muslims are portrayed? Burlington is a very liberal place to live. In my experience, everyone, including the Muslims in the community, are treated fairly the same. The many Muslims students at Burlington High School that I spoke to about this topic like the lifestyle that they live here. They feel non-Muslims don’t treat them any differently.

Coming to this country has taught me tolerance. I’ve learned from my parents, teachers and imam that everyone should be treated equally and skin color or background should not be part of discriminating a group of people.  As a young, black, Muslim in Burlington, Vermont, I’ve always been treated equally and no differently from other non Muslim people.  I’ve never felt threatened or harassed in my school or in my neighborhood.  I’ve always felt safe because the people in my community don’t judge me for wearing my hijab (head scarf).  I appreciate Burlington for not judging me due to the way Muslims are portrayed in the media.
I get to go to Burlington High School! This is a unique high school because there’s a great amount of diversity. Students from all over the world attend this school.  Regardless of all of our differences, I know I can come to BHS and be who I am.  America should be more like Burlington.