Nabra Hassenen, 19, was kidnapped, beaten and then killed because of her status as a Muslim earlier this month. Hate crimes against Muslims have risen across the globe and are all over the media. While some debate whether Hassenen’s death was even a hate crime, and not just caused by road rage, xenophobia towards Muslims continues to grow.
Muslims across America are experiencing prejudice and some live with fear any time they are leaving their homes. Our campus has not been free from this prejudice, evidenced by the shooting of two young Somali men that occurred in 2016 in Dinkytown, or the spray painted “ISIS” that appeared on the Muslim Student Association’s bridge panel.
As students, it is part of our duty to make our campus feel like a safe space for all students, including Muslim students. For non-Muslim students, it is important to advocate for resources that Muslim students, specifically, may need. Expanding access to health-related resources, like access to mental health and spiritual services, from a University of Minnesota perspective is specifically important due to many stigmas that exist within the Muslim community.
However, more ought to be done to bring together non-Muslim and Muslim students to build dialogue and community within our University. The Al-Madinah Cultural Center has also done important work to become a platform where this collective dialogue may occur.