CAMBRIDGE, MA–The International Scholars Working Group, part of Harvard’s Graduate Student Union-United Auto Workers, held a teach-in on Islamophobia Thursday evening that looked to educate members about “the history of Islamophobia in the U.S. and current issues facing Muslim communities,” according to the group’s Facebook page, reported the Harvard Crimson.
Anwar Omeish , a member of an undergraduate student group called the Anti-Islamophobia Network, led the teach-in, discussing discrimination against Muslims. He said that recent attacks on Muslims by activists, media outlets, and think tanks have fed a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment, the Crimson repoted.
Jake T. Gable, a member of the International Scholars Working Group and the teach-in’s organizer, said he arranged the event to learn about an important issue from another campus organization.
“We wanted to organize this event…to begin to cultivate cross-campus and cross-group connections and promote that outreach with each other,” the Crimson quoted Gable as saying.
Omeish also described surveillance, incarceration, and immigration programs that she said targeted Muslims, calling them discriminatory and prejudicial.
“These policies not only are messed up and target people based on their identities, but also don’t work,” the Crimson quoted Omeish as saying. “They are not the best way to fight terrorism. And they often trigger anger or resentment against the government.”
Gable said that the event provided “an opportunity for grad students to become more informed on issues impacting international students and international scholars” and to hear from students with “different perspectives”, according to the Crimson.
Omeish said the Anti-Islamophobia Network would try to involve members of the International Scholars Working Group in its upcoming activism efforts, adding that she considers the ISWG “as an allied group.”