Dr. Ann Gordon
Since 9/11, there has been a significant increase in anti-Muslim racism which can be linked to misinformation, misconception, and stereotypes reinforced by a lack of an educational upbringing. In this paper, I examine the extent to which an individual's education level in the United States contributes to Islamophobia. Using an original data set of responses to the questions in the Chapman University Survey of American Fears (CSAF), I find a moderately strong relationship between the highest level of school an individual has completed or the highest degree they have received, and the degree to which they are afraid of Muslims. While it is true that various factors such as political affiliation, cultural background, and the media contribute to Islamophobia, a lower level of education will prove to be the main indicator of an increased Islamophobic perspective. Moreover, education can be used to inform non-Muslims regarding Islamic culture, enforce stricter regulations against Islamic discrimination, and ultimately decrease Islamophobia-related behavior like hate crimes. Education (or the lack of it) has tremendous power to challenge phobic attitudes and move beyond the traditional realm of what has historically been the norm in American society. Therefore, one’s level of education can be traced as the reasoning behind growing Islamophobia in contemporary American society.
Felix, Cintya, "Why Education Matters: Understanding Islamophobia in the United States" (2023). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 578.