When I woke up Friday morning to the news of the massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, I felt sick. But sad
ly, not entirely surprised. I had been dreading this kind of violence happening, although I would have never imag
ined this kind of scale — 49 Muslim men, women and children killed in cold blood with such clinical, methodical precision and filmed for social media.
Islamophobia is on the rise and has been for some time. Muslims have been demonize
d, dehumanized and scapegoated on an industrial scale by society since 9/11.
No other group has been punished for the sins of the father in such a systematic and accepted way. Politicians, commen
tators, influencers and the media on the right have waged a war against Muslims that has become normalized.
The most powerful man on the planet, President Donald Trump, has sought to ban them fro
m entering the United States. British prime minister hopeful and former Foreign Secretary Bori
s Johnson made “jokes” insulting Muslim women, saying they looked like letter boxes. After those comments, Tell Mam
a, an organization that records Muslim hate incidents, reported that attacks on Muslim women went up.
They often take the form of pulling off a woman’s headscarf, espe
cially when she’s taking her children to and from school. Imagine what that does to a young
frightened and confused Muslim child? We have respected high-profile commentators who say that Islam
ophobia doesn’t exist and imply that “they” have brought it on themselves because of terrorism.