Austin’s Ahmadi Muslims: Islamophobia is an uphill battle

The Texas Ahmadiyya Muslim Student Organization is putting on an event titled ‘Stop The CrISIS’ at the UT campus. The event will focus on guarding against radicalization and feature topics like beheadings, terrorism and the recent attack on Charlie Hebdo. The public is invited to attend. The event will be 6:30 p.m., February 19, at Welch 2.122


“We wanted to participate in the Round Rock 4th of July parade but our entry was first accepted then denied,” University of Texas student Usama Malik said.

Malik recalls the backlash against the Muslim community in Round Rock back in 2013. He said he heard questions like, “Why are Muslims going to be marching in this parade next to soldiers that served in Iraq?”

But Malik said he doesn’t blame the protesters that successfully kicked them out of the parade.

“The people of the community came to know that there’s nothing to fear that we are Muslims, we are patriots just as they are and we work for this country the same way they do,” he said.

Malik said Islamophobia is an uphill battle and the recent terrorist attacks in Paris worsen the misconceptions held by many, but he isn’t standing by doing nothing.

Malik is active on the UT campus passing out flyers and having conversations with students about his religion. “We are not here to apologize for anything we are here to set the record straight,” he said.

While some Muslims are taking to the streets, others are using a pen.

“We disagree with publishing cartoons and caricatures of the holy prophet,” said Yasir Mirza with the Baitul Muqeet Mosque in Round Rock.

Mirza disapproved of the media’s portrayal of Muslims while also condemning recent terrorist attacks.

“In the last week since this happened we have written articles and op-ed in different papers across the country,” he said. Mirza and Malik both agree changing American’s perception of Muslims will take time.

“If we just rest in the backseat and let ISIS or al Qaeda or any fringe groups speak for Islam we kind of have blame to share as well,” Malik said.

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