The Bartling Lecture

The Bartling Lecture was given by Jaylani Hussein this year, 2018. He addressed the social issues related to Islamophobia and how they can be resolved. Jaylani Hussein came to Minnesota in 1993 from Egypt when he was a young boy and henceforth is a true Minnesotan.

Jaylani explained that Islamophobia is the irrational fear of Muslims due to a lack of understanding their culture. There are two ways of knowing that are exhibited in Islamophobia, emotion and reason. Emotion is seen in the fear part, obviously. The fear of Muslims is an emotional response to the Islamic culture. This fear is strongly influenced by society. For, the media’s portrayal of Muslims shows them to be a savage group of people and only focuses on the extremist. The media’s negative portrayal of Muslims evokes society to have a fear of the Islamic culture because of the extremist groups. The way of knowing through reason and the way of knowing through emotion collide in Islamophobia. For, society does not see the fear as irrational because an emotional response is being evoked and rationalized by media, so society is using emotion as information. However, when the reason of the fear is analyzed it soon becomes clear there is no rationalized reason behind the fear. As in, the fear is not due to personal experience but due to a socially accepted response.

Understanding that Islamophobia is an irrational fear is important because it is a cause of many social issues regarding the Islamic people. The social issues include job discrimination, social injustices, and hate crimes. We can understand Islamophobia and cure it by educating ourselves on the Islamic culture, and advocate against injustice. If you see something say something, do not just let it happen. Expose, bring the issues to light by speaking up, and empower, do not be dismayed when your efforts fail, but find strength by knowing you may be the voice of the voiceless.

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