The broad range of interviewed young Muslims feel alienated, suspected, if not traumatized (Semple). For women, raised unaware of earlier stigmatization right after 9/11 of Muslims, a hijab has become a mark of social alienation, if not anti-Muslim sentiments. Indeed, according to different accounts given by young Muslim women of different cultural backgrounds, putting on a hijab and, for that matter, being a Muslim has not only made young Muslim women feel increasingly pressured as peers in class and neighborhood cast more suspicions on people – Them – coming from elsewhere and spreading violence and alien ideologies, particularly in recent months after U.S. latest shootings and Paris Attacks. For young, Muslim men, a feeling of alienation is identified more by praying in public, speaking a foreign language or being called Mohamed or Mustafa.
If anything, I experience similar feelings as imparted by interviewed persons. Notably, I feel suspected. Of a broad spectrum of feelings one can really identify in America, I feel suspected. I was born in U.S., went to U.S. schools and never flied to a Mid-East country. I do not put on a hijab. My first name "sounds" okay. I do not speak a foreign language (at least in public). Until recently, I was normal. Or, so I believed.
Only after recent attacks by so called ISIS in US and Paris, I appear to be reborn into another person I never believed I am. Only recently, I have to know I am a Muslim. Only recently, each and every detail has come into a new light. True, I have always heard about earlier bias attacks and anti-Muslim sentiments, particularly after 9/11. That was different. So I always believed as I went on. Only recently, I feel singled out, alienated, suspected. Only few months earlier, I was a regular person. I had nothing so, well, Muslim about me before. Now, I am all over Muslim. I still believe I do not have something different (a hijab, name, color, neighborhood, family background or, indeed, faith) which sets me aside as so. That surfaced only recently. That is just felt. I am simply suspected. Before, I used to speak to anyone. Now, who I am speaking to matters. Now, I am different, suspected, well, sort of alien.
That a group of people – who happen to share my faith but, I believe, understand different stuff (or has been made to read different books, if any) –defines a broad spectrum of communities of diverse backgrounds is beyond generalization or, for that matter, stereotyping. Indeed, if stereotyping is broadly defined as a biased generalization against a single ethnic or religious group, for example, what is currently being applied to all Muslims is beyond stereotyping. A usual stereotyping, if any, stems from a lack of proper understanding of a specific religious group's faith. The gross misunderstanding which is now in place – indiscriminately – for all U.S. Muslims appears to originate from deeper, cultural reason beyond misunderstanding faith.
If anything, Muslims appear to be singled out for each and every attack occurring world over. In each and every attack, similar responses appear to be produced including, notably, wide denouncements and sympathies but also anti-Muslim suspicions. The pace and intensity of attacks by allegedly God-fearing, Islam-defending militia groups, particularly ISIS, appear to pull triggers of fear from – and suspicion of – Muslims. This steretoypization of suspicion is, if anything, detrimental not only to Muslims but also to social fabric. Because, if all Muslims are suspected now of whatever crime is done, who is next?
Semple, Kirk. "Young Muslim Americans Are Feeling the Strain of Suspicion." The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 14 Dec. 2015. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.