The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

Faced With Hate: Rising Islamophobia

On Oct. 14, 2023, six-year-old Palestinian-American Wadea Al-Fayoume was stabbed to death while his mother was critically wounded in Chicago under an assumed religiously motivated assault by his landlord.

Six year-old Wadea al-Fayoume was stabbed in his apartment in Plainfield, Illinois, on Oct. 13 2023, in an Islamophobic hate crime. Hanaan Shahin, Wadea’s mother, was stabbed and strangled, leaving her injured as well. The killing, perpetrated by landlord Joseph Czuba, gained significant media attention and public outcry. (Jana Badawi)

On Jan. 30, 2024, a seventh-grade hijabi girl from Glendale Heights was put into a choke hold by a male classmate of hers while the other students recorded her being assaulted.

Over the past few months following the Oct. 7 Israel-Hamas war, these are some of the tragedies and hate crimes that have occurred in Illinois.

I’m sure we are all aware of the current troubles following us across the country: foreign affairs have affected where our tax dollars go and hatred is skyrocketing as it continuously fuels our nation.

It’s sad to see discrimination still prevalent. This piece isn’t about whether you should be ‘pro-Israel’ or ‘pro-Palestine’. And quite frankly, you don’t have to be ‘pro-Israel’ or ‘pro-Palestine’ to realize the number of hate crimes occurring is a problem.

This is life. This is hatred. Thus, it’s important to bring awareness to the harm and hatred overseas conflict has spread in the United States specifically on Islamophobia.

I do want to acknowledge that there has also been a rise in antisemitism; however, I want to elucidate the islamophobia currently in the United States as it is something I feel strongly about since I am a Muslim student. After 9/11, Islamophobia has increased tenfold in our daily lives and has stayed prevalent. Stereotypes and concerning glances follow Muslim people daily as we navigate living in a country that is supposedly known for how ‘open’ and ‘welcoming’ it is.

Recent events have increased this phobia resulting in requests for help and reports of bias incidents listed as high as 182% from Oct. 7 to Oct. 24, according to NBC News. I’m sure we can all mutually acknowledge how harmful this hatred has become. So, the problem arises: where are we as a society headed? Is it when young kids are getting murdered? Is it when they are being physically harmed in schools where the sworn duty is to keep children safe so they can learn? Or when hateful comments are being made online under anonymous aliases?

To be quite frank, I think we’ve already passed the point of no return.

We have seen with our own eyes how far people are willing to go to spew mass amounts of hatred resulting in blood in the hands of others. So, how do you combat discrimination and hate crimes when it is affecting young kids or causing them to inflict violence on others as a result of the information/media they consume?

In all honesty, I believe the only solution is to educate. Talk about events that are happening in our local community and push for a better future. This is entirely about human life and how we can help. Without education, acts of violence will continue happening and we as a civilized group will not be able to properly function. So, collectively we should be able to recognize and push back external opinions to help people who may not have the same opportunities that we do.

The push for a solution doesn’t have to be a big gesture either. Simply talking about current events or reposting acts of violence on social media for it to be seen by a large margin goes a longer way than most people may think it would.

Overall, it’s discouraging to see people be shunned and physically harmed due to a religion they chose to practice or were even born into. And the day the world realizes and accepts the possibility of coalescent unity in all races, religions and more is the day we as a civilization may thrive.

Say their names and say them proudly because, just like we are, they were human too.

Pediatrician Dr. Talat Jehan Khan, was stabbed while sitting with her dog in Conroe, Texas on Oct. 28th, 2023. Dr. Khan was a very devout Muslim, and the attack was most likely a hate crime. Dr. Khan has a 14 -year-old daughter and 23 -year-old son. (Jana Badawi)
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