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The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School

Expressions

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”Freedom of Religion”… as long as it conforms with the majority?

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Different religions do exist in the United States. Illustration courtesy of reporter Charly Elston.

  In the United States of America, people have the freedom of religion. Despite this, religious discrimination is present amongst individuals who don’t believe in the same religion as the majority, especially Muslim people. San Luis Obispo High School students should know about this, and hopefully be able to combat the discrimination in the United States.

  “I just want a story about a real Muslim person. We’re all different and unique; we are people, not just some stereotype, and I wish people would get to see that,” said freshman Habiba Abo Ismail.

  The first amendment in the Constitution has to do with the freedom of speech. There are five subsections, including the freedom of religion. Essentially, this means citizens of the United States are free to practice their religion as long as they’re not hurting anyone. 

  Despite this, there is still religious discrimination in the United States. According to pewresearch.org, Muslim people and Jewish people are subjects of discrimination more than evangelical Christians. Eighty-two percent of American adults said that Muslims faced discrimination in 2019, and sixty-four percent said Jewish people were subjected to discrimination. In contrast, fifty percent of American adults said evangelical Christians were the subjects of discrimination.

  Republicans were more likely to say evangelical Christians faced discrimination than Democrats. According to pewresearch.org, more Republicans are Christian than Democrats, meaning that Christians believe they’re being discriminated against, though the majority of American adults dispute this claim.

  “In school, I haven’t thankfully faced any islamophobia, [though] I have faced some online,” said Abo Ismail.

  In regards to doing well in society, sixty-three percent of American adults say that Muslim people are less likely to suceed. If people are less likely to do well in society because of their religion, they are being discriminated against.

  Everyone should have equal chances to succeed, though Muslim people, who also have the freedom of religion, are thought to have less chances than evangelical Christians.

 Both groups of people are exercising their freedom of religion to believe whatever they so choose, yet society favors one group over another. According to a gordonconwell.edu study, Christianity is the religion with the most followers in the world, 1900s and on.

  The United States society favors the majority over the minorities, meaning that religious discrimination still exists, despite the first amendment to the Constitution protecting religious freedom.

  Muslim people are painted in such negative ways by the media, and get called “terrorists” because of 9/11, even years later, and face racism and discrimination based on events they didn’t have anything to do with. Media representation reflects this discrimination.

  “Muslims are people like everyone else. The media and shows online often take humanity out of Muslim characters or Muslim-coded characters, either making us monsters or victims of stories that are supposed to be about us,” said Abo Ismail.

  Every person should be respected, no matter their religion or other factors about their identity, but this is not seen in the present day United States.

  “Not everything on the Internet about Muslims is correct, so make sure you get your information if you want to learn about Islam, which I encourage you [to do], from a trusted source. For example, if you have any questions you can always come to Muslim association club at lunch on Fridays, or go to the Mosque to get them answered,” said Abo Ismail.

Sources: gordonconwell.edu, pewresearch.org, nbcnews.com

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