Islamophobic fearmongering about Muslims in the United States ignores the ways they have influenced the country from its inception. Dr. Hussein Rashid, a professor of religion at Barnard College, chronicles this history from 1492 to today in an animated short from The New York Times yesterday (December 17)
Entries categorized "Media Appearances"
I'm in a video on the New York Times.
"A lot of people might assume Muslim immigration started in 1965 when the U.S. had a period of immigration reform, others will date it back to the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, yet others to the 9/11 attacks, but usually no one looks farther back than the 1960s and certainly not beyond the 20th century for this history at the popular level," said Hussein Rashid, who teaches at Columbia University.
I am a longtime fan of the Imaginary Worlds podcast, and was ecstatic was I was asked to participate in roundtable on the role of faith in imaginary worlds.
The episode description is:
Science fiction has not always been compatible with religion -- in fact many futuristic settings imagine no religion at all. But sci-fi and fantasy have long fascinated people of different faiths because the genres wrestle with the big questions of life.
You can listen to episode embedded below, or on the podcast page here.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the government’s ban, albeit a narrower version of its predecessors, further vilifying Muslims and legitimizing their discrimination.
Hussein Rashid, professor of religion at Columbia University, says that the ruling wasn’t surprising in that it has often ruled “in favor of discrimination.”
However, the highest court’s decision highlights that particularly since the 1978 Iranian Revolution and the 9/11 attacks, “Muslims have been “racialized”: bound together and stereotyped, instilling an idea of Muslims as a foreign threat and brown-skinned,” that includes anyone from South Asia or the Arab world, wrote Rashid after the ruling.
Whether viewed in terms of contemporary politics or American history, the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Trump’s travel ban against several Muslim-majority countries is not surprising. The court has safeguards designed to make it apolitical, but it is never immune to its immediate surroundings on Capitol Hill. Historically, as long as the people support its decisions, the court has ruled in favor of discrimination.
And when it comes to admitting people to these shores and welcoming them to the American nation, the court almost never acts for the rights promised in the U.S. Constitution without first denying them.
This month, we chose Hussein Rashid as our featured PACH member. Hussein Rashid is founder of islamicate, L3C, a consultancy focusing on religious literacy and cultural competency. He works with a variety of NGOs, foundations, non-profits, and governmental agencies for content expertise on religion broadly, with a specialization on Islam. Learn more about Hussein and read his responses to PACH’s We Are Human questions below.
Gatherings such as the one at Baitul Huda are common for Ahmadi communities living in various parts of the United States. According to Professor Hussein Rashid of the department of religion at Columbia University, they are more a manifestation of a shared insecurity than of anything else. “Staying together does not tell anything about the community except the fact that they are a minority, and a besieged minority,” he says. “This is often the case with immigrant groups and those who are persecuted in their home countries that they tend to stay within themselves.”
“Muslims find it painful to hear the sound they love tied to the violence they abhor,” Dr. Rashid continues. “Non-Muslims find it basically impossible to approach what Muslims find beautiful if they hear it connected to what we all find ugly.”
We are always judging ourselves by material attributes, material aspects. Instead of saying what is this person like as a human being, as a person? How can I better myself by being in contact with this person? I think that's what materialism does, is it keeps us from God, it keeps us from ourselves, and it keeps us from making a human connection. Basically, what we do is, we willingly turn ourselves into nothing more than an object, by denying our divine connection in our very own humanity.