Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Will Likely Increase. Here’s How Not To Be A Bystander

by Kelly Walters

Yesterday the United States elected a racist, hateful, fear mongering bigot for president. Today is a day for mourning.

But unfortunately, we don’t have much time to collect ourselves. Trump’s hateful rhetoric is already being carried out by his supporters — there are reports of the KKK openly celebrating in North Carolina this morning, and swastikas filled the chat box on the livestream of Hillary Clinton’s concession speech. The fear is palpable on social media from people of color, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and especially Muslim women grappling with the question of whether it is safe to continue wearing their hijabs.

KKK tweet

swastika tweet

What’s important right now, in the wake of our grief and anger, is to support those who fear for their lives.

Earlier this year, artist Marie-Shirine Yener made a comic strip to assist with that task, giving instructions on how to help if you see a Muslim woman harassed in public.

islam comic

Yener said she herself experienced harassment, and wanted to provide a step-by-step guide for bystanders who wanted to help, but might not know how.

We are not only in the wake of Trump’s Islamophobic campaign (during which he suggested monitoring all Muslim citizens and banning new ones from entering the country), but we are also experiencing the United States’ highest level of hate crimes against Muslim Americans since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.

And hate crimes are likely to increase now that Trump has been elected, if the actions of our allies across the pond are any indication.

It’s easy to make comparisons between this election and Brexit in the United Kingdom, as both outcomes were fueled by white nationalist ideologies. Which means we have some insight into the consequences of national decisions being made based on fear and hate.

Shortly after the vote on Brexit, which resulted in the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, Islamophobic hate crimes increased dramatically in Great Britain.

According to the Independent, “61 percent of victims in the cases it recorded involved women, and of those, 75 percent were clearly identifiable as Muslim, for example due to their headscarves or veils.”

One political leader in Britain, Harriet Harman, said the results of the vote meant “open season” for racists; and why shouldn’t it be, there or here in America. As long as a person in political power is not admonishing prejudice in their country, they are encouraging it. 

hijab tweet

It’s impossible to predict what is to come in the next few weeks as Trump supporters rejoice in a country that just told them their racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and homophobia is valid. What we can do during this time is take a page from Yener’s book and stand up to hate.

Be safe, take care of yourselves, and take care of the people whose safety is currently in jeopardy.

Comic by Marie Shirine-Yener

This post was originally published on November 9, 2016

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