This Crash Course History video is meant to educate in a non-biased, non-partisan way about the purposes, beliefs, and history of Islam. When terrorist attacks occur, society often blames ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), a radical Muslim terrorism organization. Because ISIS uses the Quran, the main sacred text of Islam, to justify its actions, society makes the assumption that all Muslims have the same beliefs as ISIS. In a time where misinformation about Islam is widespread, it is important that society be educated about the true ideals of this religion. For example, the Five Pillars of Islam include ritual prayer, donating your wealth to the poor, a month-long fast, and making a trip to the Holy Land, Mecca. These pillars are non-violent and quite similar other monotheistic religions such as Judaism and Christianity. In the novel, the narrator talks with her boss at the anti-terrorism police force, Terence Butcher, about Muslims and their threat to national security. He claims that their faith is beyond understanding because they are ruthless. The narrator counters this by saying “I don’t see how you can stop the bombers if you don’t understand them” (Cleave 95). She is absolutely correct in this quote. It is crucial for people to understand Islam before they form judgements and attempt to understand the people who practice it. If soceity simply understood the separation between Islam and terrorism, the oppression of Muslims could be nearly nonexistent.
Muslim-American people are often subject to hatred because the rise of ISIS has increased the negativity towards their religion. Often it is portrayed as an anti-American religion, which leads people to the conclusion that Muslims don't belong in the United States. In this Ted Talk, Dalia Mogahed discusses her personal experience with Islamophobia and how terrorism and election cycles are directly linked with a rise in fear and hatred of Muslims worldwide. First she talks about the nation's reaction to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and how the media was quick to blame Muslims because the attacks were "in the name of Islam". There were even threats to Muslim-American people who were just as much the victims of this attack on their country as anyone else. It is a common misconception that radicalization is a direct result of reading the Quran and practicing Islam. In reality, radicalization occurs in any religion when a person becomes isolated by their family or religion and seeks groups that justify their feelings of anger and disenfranchisement. She also discusses scientific studies which suggest that when people are afraid, often following terror attacks, they are more accepting of prejudice, authoritarianism, and conformity. Based on evidence that anti-Muslim sentiment spiked during two election cylces during the last decade, it can be inferred that politicians utilize people's fear and vulnerability following terror in order to legitimize and popularize the implementation of anti-Muslim policies. Mogahed calls this a tool of public manipulation that erodes the basis of democracy. The people of this kind of society are the unknowing victims of manipulation, and terrorism will continue so long as people allow themselves to be terrorized.
Marine Le Pen is a far-right candidate in the 2017 French presidential election. She is the perfect example of a politician who has used the threat of terrorism to manipulate the public opinion. This video explains that terrorism has a direct correlation with a rise in the idea of closing borders and anti-Muslim sentiment. Le Pen was quick to make the assumption that Muslims were responsible following all recent terrorist attacks. She also advocates for the banning of Islam in France, but glamorizes the policy as returning to traditional French values that made it great in the past. Le Pen leads the far-right party called the National Front, which is meant to advocate against the more progressively developed European Union. While many European countries are moving towards more accepting immigration and refugee policies, Le Pen is anti-globalization and would like to implement a complete halt to welcoming immigrants. Despite these extreme policies, Le Pen remains a front-runner in the election because she is able to use acts of terrorism like the November 2015 Paris Attacks to boost her platform, which leads to scared civilians adopting anti-Muslim views because it makes them feel safer. In the novel, the narrator's nurse after the attacks is fired from her job within weeks because she is considered too dangerous to be in a position of power. These policies are proposed ideas by politicians like Le Pen and threaten personal freedoms. However, people will often never see this threat to their own freedoms because they are blinded by the supposed larger threat of Muslims and terrorism which is amplified in the political sphere.