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The Attacks On Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib Don’t Surprise Young Muslim People

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For Kifah Shah, who splits her time between Los Angeles and New York, many of the reactions towards the two women remind her of growing up as a Muslim girl in a majority non-Muslim community. It’s also emblematic of a larger scope of intolerance and ignorance towards Islam as a whole: “With mostly white people, [life] after 9/11 were a mixed bag of curiosity and coded (sometimes blatant) racism: from being asked whether or not I’ll have an arranged marriage to being told my uncle was [Osama Bin Laden] to having teachers dehumanize Muslim lives by saying an entire city in Iraq wasn’t worth the life of one U.S. soldier,” she remembers, adding that seeing trolls target both Omar and Tlaib by questioning their patriotism doesn’t surprise her.

“The right has asserted pernicious ideas about whether or not Muslims in the U.S. subscribe to the idea of ‘America,’ because if they don’t, or if they question any aspect of it, then they must subscribe to some other ‘state,’” Shah notes. “This conspiratorial, baseless, and harmful lens has for a long while attempted to push Muslims into dichotomies of good versus bad.”

[…] Yusuf agrees. “The typical profile of a congressperson has been an older, cisgender, heterosexual, white man with money for as long as our country has been around,” she begins. “For [two] Muslim women — one Palestinian and the other a Somali refugee — to enter a space that this country has excluded women, people of color, queer people, immigrants and anyone else from is extremely significant.” It is no surprise that the system is not set up for them to succeed in that space, she adds. “There can be no question why their identities are at the forefront of every discussion about their actions and words.” More here.

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