2 Duke F. L. & Soc. Change 1 (2010)
Introductory Remarks Given at the Duke Forum for Law & Social Change Symposium the New Face of Discrimination: Muslim in America

handle is hein.journals/dukef2 and id is 1 raw text is: INTRODUCTORY REMARKS GIVEN AT THE DUKE FORUM
Good morning. I greet you with the universal Muslim greeting, salaam
alaikum. I think one of the practical results of this conference should be
teaching more people this universal Muslim greeting. In response you say,
walaaikum salaam. This is a wonderful icebreaker for Muslim colleagues,
friends, and neighbors and will take you a few steps ahead in the conversation.
It's a wonderful greeting, but these days don't try it at airports. I don't know
whether to laugh or cry at that joke, unfortunately. Laughter and tears are both
appropriate when a salutation as innocent as peace be upon you could be a
source of tension and anxiety in an American airport. This greeting could earn
you additional care and attention from airport security, which I often receive.
Just two months ago, when I was about to board my flight, I was throwing
around these Arabic words, Inshallah, Mashallah, and Alahmdulillah. The
next thing I know I was about to miss my flight because I had been detained by a
nice gentleman who knew almost nothing about Islam and who thought those
phrases posed some sort of threat.
I really admire the people who organized this event, which is prophetic and
timely. I'm an Imam so I can get away with calling things prophetic. I really
appreciate the Forum for drawing attention to what I will call Islamophobia, an
unfounded and baseless fear of Islam and Muslims. Lately, anything linked to
Islam seems to bring fear and anxiety to people's hearts. I consider Islamophobia
to be a societal disease and a new challenge that American society must address.
The title of this symposium, The New Face of Discrimination, really captures the
essence of this dilemma. Islamophobia is still poorly defined and is not yet part
of the collective consciousness of American society but is similar to older social
Although it is the most recent face of discrimination, Islamophobia is
nothing new. Islamophobia is very similar to anti-Semitism, homophobia, and
racism, with which this society has dealt in the past. To view discrimination
against Muslims as a unique issue pertaining only to Muslims would ignore the
lessons of history. We must discuss Islamophobia as a human problem that has
shown itself in different forms and shapes in other times and in different
communities. Unfortunately, we human beings often seek a common enemy.
t Muslim Chaplain, Duke University

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