Islamophobia needs to be recognized, addressed

The Park community prides itself on diversity and respect, yet the editorial board feels that students and staff can do more to ensure Muslim students feel comfortable and safe in our school and our community.

Although our school seems diverse and inclusive, Muslim students still experience events of Islamophobia in Park. Although none have cited issues of direct conflict or violence, microaggressions and invasive questions persist.

Islamophobia is an issue that cannot be ignored due to the large Muslim population living in St. Louis Park and the greater Minneapolis area.

The editorial staff advises non-Muslim students to be aware of the privilege they have and to use their power to help others. Be respectful and be an upstander.

Park students should be aware that their words have meaning and could potentially offend others or make them feel unsafe. In order to create a secure learning environment, students should be conscious that Islamophobia is a current issue and to stand up to offenders should an incident occur.

Many students who are not Muslim may have questions about Islam. The Echo editorial board advises students to ask questions in a respectful way. Make sure the conversation is consensual because Muslim people may have negative experiences when speaking about their religion with non-Muslims. In addition to this we believe students’ intent makes an impact. Do not ask questions with the intention of judging or belittling the Muslim community.

Students who witness acts of Islamophobia should say something. Incidents can be reported to any teacher, GLC, or administration member.

When there are reports of Islamophobia in the real world, many Park students are concerned and want there to be changes, however incidents within our school and community are often overlooked.

Being respectful and standing up for others seems like a simple solution, but Islamophobic words and actions are still going unnoticed in our schools. In order for change to happen on a larger scale, Park students need to be respectful in our own school.