Letter to the Editor
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 09:03
In response to the paid advertisement that was printed in Monday’s Daily, we condemn the sentiments which were implicitly and explicitly expressed. The advertisement, which attempted to make some ill-conceived comparison between Israeli Apartheid Week and Islam, was offensive, problematic and reinforced damaging images of Muslims and persons from the Middle East.
First and foremost, we are responding to a cultural ignorance that readily conflates Arab bodies with Islam and projects upon both identities the harmful, dangerous and damaging stereotypes published by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, an organization that unabashedly aims to promote these negative images and further reify xenophobia, racism, Islamophobia and hatred against Muslims. Images like this, promoted through mass media or ignorant and assaultive speech, have catalyzed hateful actions and instigated acts of violence against Muslims and individuals identified as having a relation to the Middle East.
These examples of violence perpetrated against Muslims and Middle Easterners should not be news to anyone. By now all should be aware of the daily harassment, accusations of terrorism and the perpetual feeling of constantly being interpreted through a dominant society’s lens, one which associates the bodies of Muslims and other Middle Easterners with violent, irrational and barbaric behavior.
This not only demonstrates and reinforces racist and hateful structures — it also subordinates our fellow students’ voices through invective speech. In just the past year, Muslim students at Tufts have been accused of terrorism, dismissed in the classroom and slandered online. These aggressions and microaggressions feed the larger structures that violently target Arab bodies and Muslim culture. Last year saw rampant Islamophobic violence: the racially-charged shooting at the Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wis., the murder of a Hindu man (“They brought down the twin towers,” the killer said) in a New York City subway and attacks on mosques in Chicago, New York, California and Mississippi. This violence is intertwined in a culture that has taught us to conflate Muslim and Arab; Muslim and “terrorist;” and Muslim and Hindu or Muslim and Sikh. These forces of oppression are ubiquitous.
After similar xenophobic generalizations were made about Islam at Tufts in 2007, former University President Larry Bacow called on “students [to] hold their fellow students accountable ... When community standards of civility and respect are violated, we should not ask those who have been unfairly attacked to respond on behalf of the community. This responsibility should be borne by all.” We remember Tufts’ legacy of Islamophobia and subsequent student solidarity against hate speech. With this at heart, we raise our voices.
Alexandra Minter, 2015
Christopher John Ghanny, 2015
Walker Bristol, 2014
Chowdhury Shamsh, 2013
Rebeccah Marrero, 2013
Tabias Wilson, 2013
Stephen Goeman, 2013
Duncan MacLaury, 2013
Logan Cotton, 2013
Jameelah Morris, 2013