September 8, 2014

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: United Against Islamophobia

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To the Editor:

Re: “THROWDOWN THURSDAY: Islamophobia and Racism,” Opinion, Sep. 4.

Last week, The Cornell Daily Sun published an op-ed, “Islamophobia and Racism” by Julius Kairey, which we consider to be an unacceptable expression of Islamophobia at Cornell. We do not claim that “Islam [should] not be critically examined like other value systems” and indeed would have welcomed an informed critique of Islam as a belief system. However, the author of this article unfortunately descends into a plethora of selective and irrelevant armchair observations about “goings-on in the Islamic world,” which he then collectively portrays as reflective of Islam and Muslims as a whole. This is not only highly misleading but is also an insulting attack on anyone who identifies as Muslim. Muslims’ values can certainly not be encapsulated by a handful of surveys of ‘the Islamic world’, and we deplore the value judgment that the author places on our beliefs without providing a “well-grounded criticism of Islam as a religious ideology”.

While Kairey correctly notes that “[not all] Muslims believe in such values and practices,” he goes on to conflate certain practices in the ‘Muslim world’ with the values and belief system of one billion people who inhabit almost every country in the world. His use of divisive terms such as ‘our values’ and ‘our society’ while implicitly referring to Muslims as the other, is an incredibly alienating attitude that we frankly do not expect in a pluralistic community such as Cornell’s.

We condemn Islamophobia in the United States and on the Cornell campus. We hope that this article has not legitimized Islamophobia in the eyes of the Cornell community. Islamophobia is, and should be, as unacceptable as racism.

Saim Chaudhary ’17, President, Islamic Alliance for Justice

Omer Syed ’16, President, Muslim Educational and Cultural Association

Qurrat Ahmad ’15, President, Committee for the Advancement of Muslim Life

Gina Nauman ’15 and Amna Chaudhry ’16, Co-presidents, Pakistani Students Association

Fahmida Rashid ’16 and Anika Alam ’15, Co-presidents, Bengali Students Association

Ammar Busheri ’16, President, Arab Students Association

Mohammad Radiyat ’15, President, Asian Pacific Americans for Action

Syed Ali Khan ’15, Minority Representative for the Student Assembly

Keanu Stryker ’16, Cornell Organization for Labor Action

Emad Masroor ’17, Students for Justice in Palestine

Ihsan Bashir Kabir ’14

Antoine Saint-Victor ’16

Danny Qiao ’15