Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Islamophobia; oppression.]

"You go to a nightclub, and they don't let you in. You go to a party, they look at your beard, and say, 'Oh, when are you going to Syria to join the jihad?' Charlie Hebdo is a part of that, too. Those who are stronger than us are mocking us. We have high unemployment, high poverty. Religion is all we have left. This is sacred to us. And yes, we have a hard time laughing about it."—Mohamed Binakdan, a 32-year-old Muslim, who is a transit worker in France, a country in which "unemployment and poverty remain far higher among Muslims than in the nation overall."

The next time you hear someone say that it is stupid for Muslims to be offended by depictions of the prophet, remember Mohamed Binakdan's words, and imagine a ruling class marginalizing you on the basis of one facet of your identity, leaving you with little besides that identity, and then treating it with mockery and contempt.

It is a familiar dynamic: A privileged class regards something valued by marginalized people as important enough to use as justification for harming them, but ridicules those marginalized people for valuing it themselves.

I am not attempting to excuse or condone the attack on Charlie Hebdo. I am exhorting empathy with people being silenced under the cacophonous calls for unity, without any effort to extend solidarity or compassion in their direction.

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