One of the best universities in the world, Stanford University, recently announced that it would be holding its first-ever course on addressing Islamophobia.
The class called “Interrogating Islamophobia” is a new one-unit course planned to be taught starting this fall by Abiya Ahmed, Associate Dean and Director of the Markaz Resource Center.
Ahmed said this course was held to broaden students’ understanding of how Islamophobia manifests.
Ahmed further explained that he could have provided statistics regarding the level of Islamophobic acts that occurred last year or any hate crimes, but this is different from this course. This course will broaden students’ thinking to understand Islamophobia in more depth.
As reported by The Stanford Daily, the class will discuss a different topic about Islamophobia every week, starting from Islamophobia as a phobia to the magnitude of Islamophobia manifested on both the right and left sides of the political spectrum.
Yusuf Zaharullah ’24, who is also one of the lecturers of the course, emphasizes that the course will further study Islamophobia and will explore it from a variety of different angles, such as how Islamophobia manifests, whether it is explicit such as hate crimes and verbal abuse or related to systemic Islamophobia as outlined in regulation such as what former US President Donald Trump tried to do.
Zaharullah hopes this class can trigger dialogue about the history of Islamophobia incidents that occurred on the Stanford campus in the past, such as when a certain campus political group, namely Stanford College Republicans, invited a guest speaker who was very Islamophobic.
Mehak Parwani ’24 said that she decided to take the Interrogating Islamophobia class to become a better ally by hearing from people directly affected by Islamophobia and understanding her position as a non-Muslim to help address the problem. She believes this class is well-designed to be enrolled by both Muslim and non-Muslim students.
Ahmed hopes that students who complete this class will be able to understand the concept and practice of Islamophobia as a living thing and can help to fight it better.