The Weston/Wayland Interfaith Action Group (WWIAG) held their annual Kerwin lecture at the Josiah Smith Tavern on March 12 with Dr. Mohamed Lazzouni speaking to the group on “The Reality of Islamophobia in America Today: Challenges and Opportunities.”
According to Lazzouni, a visiting scholar of Islamic Studies at Boston College, “When it comes to dealing with this issue we need to start by understanding it’s long-term implications and then walk from there to educate and then to stomp it out.”
Lazzouni explained that, “Bigotry is a burden on our society and brings nothing good, but if we stomp it out, we eliminate hate.”
He described a “phobia” as the object of fear or an anxiety that drives people to irrational behavior and “Islamophobia” as a dread or hatred of Islam or Muslims which has existed for seven centuries in the Western world but in the last 20 years has become more prevalent in all sections of society.
He said there have been 187 crimes committed against Muslims in the U.S. which include burning mosques, throwing pig heads into mosques, painting swastikas on mosque doors and graves, horrible slurs, beatings, pulling on the head scarf or hijab, prank calls and racial profiling.