Muslim Americans Open Up About How Islamophobia Has Affected Their Lives

"How do I fit into a society that is not always accepting of me?"
Being A Muslim In America

This is what it's like to be a Muslim in America.

Posted by The Huffington Post on Monday, March 28, 2016

Years of discrimination have taken a toll on Muslim American communities. More hate-fueled incidents -- from physical attacks, to the vandalizing of mosques to divisive rhetoric from presidential candidates  -- are popping up every month.  Some Muslims are saying that Islamophobia is worse than it's ever been.

In a new video, HuffPost Rise invited four Muslim Americans to talk about what it's like to be a Muslim in America today. 

The interviewees spoke about how simple acts of devotion -- like wearing a hijab, growing a beard, or fasting -- can be misconstrued and misunderstood by those who are biased against Islam.

Rowaida Abdelaziz, a social media editor at The Huffington Post, spoke in the video about how these material signs of faith have become politicized. During the aftermath of the San Bernardino shootings, broadcast stations rummaged through the home of the suspected shooters, pointing out items like a prayer rug and a Quran.

"If someone went through my apartment they'd see those exact same things," Abdelaziz said. "These are things that I use for my personal life, to get me through my day to day, that emphasize my spirituality."

"And all of a sudden, they are being equated to the tools of a terrorist," she continued.

Imam Khalid Latif, chaplain of New York University's Islamic Center, said that many Muslims have to choose between practicing their faith and "just being able to live day to day." 

"This is a population that has been marginalized in every sense of the word," Latif said.

The question many American Muslims are asking themselves, according to Latif, is: "How do I fit into a society that is not always accepting of me?" 

Watch the video above for more.