الَّذِينَ قَالَ لَهُمُ النَّاسُ إِنَّ النَّاسَ قَدْ جَمَعُوا لَكُمْ فَاخْشَوْهُمْ فَزَادَهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَقَالُوا حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ
فَانقَلَبُوا بِنِعْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَفَضْلٍ لَّمْ يَمْسَسْهُمْ سُوءٌ وَاتَّبَعُوا رِضْوَانَ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ ذُو فَضْلٍ عَظِيمٍ
إِنَّمَا ذَٰلِكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ يُخَوِّفُ أَوْلِيَاءَهُ فَلَا تَخَافُوهُمْ وَخَافُونِ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
Those to whom the people said, “Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.” But it only increased them in faith, and they said, “Sufficient for us is Allah, the best Disposer of affairs.” So they returned with favor from Allah and bounty, no harm having touched them. And they pursued the pleasure of Allah, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty. That is only Satan who frightens [you] of his supporters. So fear them not, but fear Me, if you are [indeed] believers. [3:173-175]
Fear, more than terrorism, has crippled our country. Since 9/11, an overblown fear of terrorism has resulted in the erosion of civil rights, costly wars and occupations overseas, and trillions of dollars of much needed resources being spent on creating a muscular surveillance state. And none of this accounts for the psychological cost to the American public gripped by anxiety as the mainstream media sensationalizes and trumps up what, in reality, is not a serious threat. For example, far more Americans die every year due to furniture accidents than terrorism.
These are not my words. These are words we have heard from many level-headed pundits, academics, and Muslim leaders.
But, guess what? The same points apply in spades to the Muslim community. How serious of a threat is Islamophobic hate crime to the 5 to 7 million Muslims in the US?
Let’s do the math.
In this 2015 FBI report**, they count a total of 307 victims of anti-Muslim hate crime. Let’s just assume all the victims were actually Muslims (not Sikhs, for example). Also there were 48 victims of anti-Arab hate crime. For the sake of argument, let’s add that to the total: 355 victims of anti-Muslim hate crime in the US.
If we assume a low estimate of 5 million Muslims in the US, that means that Muslims are more likely to accidentally fall and die than be victim to an anti-Muslim hate crime. For every 100,000 people in America, 10 of them will die due to an accidental fall. In comparison, for every 100,000 American Muslims, 7 will be targeted for a hate crime.
Of course, every hate crime is significant and these stats are not meant to minimize hate crimes any more than stats about terrorism are meant to minimize terrorism. But it is nonetheless important to keep things in perspective.
Fear is natural — there is nothing wrong with being afraid. But we cannot let that fear grow out of hand and control us and push us into things that we would otherwise avoid, even things that may very well be contrary to our deen and the pleasure of Allah.
There is indeed a high price to be paid for misplaced and overblown anxiety and fear.
There is no political party or political orientation that will protect us from Trump and his ilk. We trust Allah and are fully confident that He will take care of all of our affairs.
** 2015 was a big year for anti-Muslim hate crimes. This is being attributed to Trump’s rhetoric. In a previous post I explained why it is short-sighted and dangerous to attribute “emboldened racism” exclusively to Trump while ignoring all the terrible Obama era policies that created the America that Trump will inherit.
But beyond this, when we actually see the hate crime stats by month, they spiked in the months where major ISIS attacks occurred, which makes sense. And lets not forget who was the president in 2015.