Sunday, September 5, 2010

May sanity prevail

Here is an urgent message from Amritjit Singh, Langston Hughes Professor of English, Ohio University, USA

Dear Colleagues,

Much is happening around the country right now to inflame hatred toward Muslims and Arabs. As one dear colleague noted today with understandable alarm, “I am deeply worried about the poisonous environment swirling around the Park51 initiative. Glen Beck and his ilk have given public permission to revile and attack Muslims and their institutions. Mosques are being burned, there is a threat to torch Qur'ans on 9/11, and individuals are being physically assaulted.”

Further, those of us with origins in South Asia or the Middle East (Muslim or not) – that is, those of us who are perceived as Muslim or Arab based on our phenotype or our dress – are also beginning to catch the fire.

As educators or as individuals otherwise concerned about civil rights and civil liberties, we need to be on the alert and be prepared to do whatever we can to speak up and to educate.

At the very minimum, we could take a few minutes of class time to address this burgeoning social issue and help in raising our students’ awareness of how such bias might hurt and scar real human beings around us.

We could also consider developing and sharing information sheets or power-points on Islam & Islamophobia for our courses and offer some programs for campus at large.

Have a good Labor Day weekend, Amrit

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