Changing My Mindset

Just over a year after I was born the 9/11 attacks took place. Growing up in a post 9/11 America I was subjected to a plethora of false Muslim news and hate. But it wasn’t until I got to college that I realized that many of my thoughts about Islam were false biases. In my second-semester theology class, we spent a long time learning about Islam and what it means to be Islamic. That class went a long way toward breaking down many of the biases that I had toward the Islamic faith. One of the first videos that we watched was the Quran Project which is attached below.

Source: RT UK

The Quran Project opened my eyes to the fact that many of the ideas about the Islamic faith that circulate the world are false. After realizing how incorrect my views about Islam were I became very interested in what our theology teacher was sharing with us about Islam. I was particularly interested in learning about the similarities and differences of my own faith and the Islamic faith.

Image result for Images of Quran
Source: Jakarta Post

I was baptized Catholic and grew up practicing the Catholic faith in my home. The way that my theology professor introduced Islam to us was to draw comparisons between Islam and the Catholic faith. One of the things that interested me was the idea of the Quran and how Muslims view the Quran differently than Catholics view the bible. As a Catholic, I have always been taught the Eucharist is the central part of our faith, and the bible is more supplementary because it is Jesus’s actual presence in the eucharist that draws Catholics is to the faith. Whereas for Muslims the Quran is the central part of their faith. I was intrigued by how much reverence Muslims show the Quran, and by how much time and dedication many Muslims give to reciting the Quran.

Image result for Images of Quran recitation
Source: Tasnimnews

Having the opportunity to understand more about Islam and to grow in knowledge about what is important in their religious tradition was a huge growing point for me. The more that my professor helped us to understand Islam the more relatable the Islamic religion seemed, and I found that many of my fears and misconceptions about Islam had evaporated. Recently in my human geography class, my professor got me thinking more about the Islamophobia culture that is seen in America. Islamophobia is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force. This type of hate has been present in our country for a long time and sadly continues at full force today. In fact, the negative options about Muslims have increased in recent years when they should be shrinking.

Image result for Islamophobia
Source: BBC

She brought up the idea that as Catholics we need to find ways to be more accepting of other religions in order to better live out our own faith. I am always looking for ways to live out my faith better so I began to research Catholic teachings on empathy. Because when it comes to Islamophobia I feel like the root cause is that people do not have empathy and compassion for those who are unlike them.

Dialogue begins with empathy, not contempt, pope says
Source: cruxnow

Pope Francis was quoted saying “Christians who preach the Gospel must see people who do not know Christ as children of God and not as nonbelievers worthy of hostility and contempt.” The theme of Pope Francis’s talk was that dialogue begins with empathy, not with contempt. So often people use their faith as a deflecting shield acting as if it prevents them from speaking to or forming relationships with those who believe differently than they do. Simply because they are afraid to open their minds and hearts to those who are different. When in reality the Christian faith calls its followers to be empathetic for all even those who believe differently than they do.

As a whole, the hearts of many Christians have been filled with hate and fear of Muslims for far too long. In order to help in the movement for change, I am going to start making a conscious effort to shift my mindset, so that I can become more opening and accepting of those who are different than me. Campus Pride lists several ways that we can fight Islamophobia as a society. Some ways that I am going to take action against Islamophobia is to educate myself and others about the Islamic faith and about Islamophobia, I will lift up and support those who speak against discrimination and Islamophobia, and I will speak out against Islamophobia when I see it in my everyday life.


The world has been stuck in a cycle of hate and unrest, and it is time that the cycle is broken. My hope is that my example and the example of others will inspire people to follow suit, and break the Islamophobia culture that is Plaguing the United States and the world. For this to happen Christians, Muslims, and other world religions need to empathize with each other instead of meeting each other with judgment so that strong relationships can be forged, and peaceful resolutions can be found.


Hybrid/Digital Component:

  • 2.2 Digital writing and publishing – we will be publishing our work in the open.  We will have multiple digital assignments, and students will have some agency in choosing which item they’d like to blog about in each module.

Course Components:

  • Connecting geographic concepts and processes to real-life scenarios

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