America, you didn’t let them go to Disneyland because they are Muslim?

I would love to see the media’s reaction if something like this happened to a Jewish family.

Faiza Iqbal December 26, 2015
Every single day, I wake up to more and more stories of Muslims either being thrown in front of moving trains, or having pigs heads thrown at their educational establishments or even being denied entry to the US in order to go on an innocuous holiday to Disneyland. Muslims seem to be tainted by association. 

Whenever a Muslim is portrayed in a positive light in the media, a couple of weeks later the same publication will try and besmirch him in some manner, like Aylan Kurdi’s father being labelled as a people smuggler after his son become an emblem of the Syrian refugee crisis. It’s as if being a Muslim or associating with one is a crime.

When will this blatant Islamophobic attitude end?

When will people realise that the acts of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or al Qaeda or even Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) do not represent those of the majority?

The news that a Muslim family was barred from flying to the US, despite obtaining all the appropriate permissions, was really quite sad. I could just imagine how excited the young children must have been, waiting in queue to board their plane and then being told that they can’t go. What’s worse is that absolutely no reason was provided for their exclusion. On top of this, the family lost £9,000, which included flight tickets, hotels and park fares, without any hope of it ever being refunded.

Stella Creasey, the MP for Walthamstow has now written to David Cameron asking for an intervention following the blatant stereotyping, but the prime minister has yet to do anything. I would love to see the media’s reaction if something like this happened to a Jewish family. There would be immediate outrage, screams of anti-Semitism and even accusations of being Nazi-sympathisers.

Why is anti-Semitism abhorred and Islamophobia tolerated?

When you have buffoons like Donald Trump and Katie Hopkins slating Muslims all the time, it achieves the desired result of ostracising Muslims. This constant haranguing and harassment of Muslims will lead to further isolation of a community and encourage lone-wolves to join terrorist groups as a way of seeking revenge against an errant western society. There is often huge encouragement placed on the Muslim community to integrate into western society, but when you’re denied a trip to Disneyland or kicked off a train for looking suspicious, then integration can become a little more burdensome.

When I was living in Saudi Arabia, I was always saddened by the treatment that westerners were given as compared to Pakistanis. Americans or British people were always given first-class treatment, the best facilities, amenities and salary while Pakistani labourers had to sit on the floor at the airport to be “processed” and be driven around in rickety buses to work long shifts. It was extremely disappointing to watch that Muslims treated their own in this manner. If people of our own faith don’t give respect to us, then we can’t expect others to do the same, but we need to start becoming collectively outraged at such blatant discrimination. It seems that the more Muslims are criticised, the more ingrained it becomes in people’s psyche that it is acceptable to treat people like this.

For the family of 11 who lost out on their trip of a lifetime to Disneyland, there can be no consolation. But America’s arrogance in allowing who it deems worthy of entrance to its country further acts as a recruiting tool by the same terrorist organisations that it seeks to wipe out in entirety. It will always be a vicious cycle.
Faiza Iqbal
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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