Islamophobia in Castro Valley

With the San Bernardino shooting on Dec. 2, the Paris terror attacks by ISIS, and presidential candidate Donald Trump’s egregious statements of wanting to ban Muslims from entering America, Islamophobia has been resurfacing back into our everyday lives and has had detrimental effects in communities all over the nation, including Castro Valley.

Though Castro Valley is fairly tolerant concerning Muslims, a woman was caught on video yelling maliciously ignorant words to a group of Muslims praying at Lake Chabot on Dec. 9.

“When people are praying, they don’t break focus,” explained CVHS junior Jala Atufa, a Muslim. “While they are praying, they are only praying. They don’t look up, they don’t talk, they can’t react to anything in the outside world. They can’t defend themselves.”

Castro Valley resident Denise Slader allegedly threw coffee at a Muslim and hit him with her umbrella. The video was later posted on YouTube, causing angry reactions from our community as many people were incredulous and disturbed by her actions. She has been charged with misdemeanor battery and hate crime charges, and entered a plea of not guilty.

Although this incident has created a dent in Castro Valley’s reputation of being a hate free community, new CVHS math teacher and Muslim Tagreed Badwai states that the woman alone “does not represent our community, just like how a small group of Islamic terrorists doesn’t represent anything related to my religion.”

CVHS strives to be a hate free zone as there is zero tolerance for hate crimes on campus. With clubs like Safe Space, 50/50 Feminist club, and CV Cares, students take the initiative to help create a safer and more welcoming community here at CVHS.

Additionally, Muslim Afifa Abdullah states that, “CVHS is a relatively safe place for Muslims.”

There are many prejudices and misconceptions about the Muslim community, which are further perpetuated and exaggerated by an anti-Muslim sentiment that creates the irrational ignorance of Islamophobes.

However, “Islam is a religion completely devoted to God and peace,” Atufa said.


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