MARCO A. CIAPPETTA
Climate change and Islamophobia: the new era of controversy and contempt, catastrophe and prejudice... all avoidable, but inevitable if we do not resist. With Trump as the leader of the free world, dark clouds fill the skies, and uncertainty lay before us. With some intuition and intellect, it doesn't take long to realize what's happening. Climate change suddenly became a debate pitted between powerless rationality and powerful irrationality, while American Muslims and Muslims worldwide are gradually facing the immense challenge to fight against prejudice, discrimination, alienation, and deportation as nationalistic, anti-immigration movements perverse the international world. We crawl ever closer to an epitome of insane destruction and horror that reminds some of the past. This time is different, as the United States, the declining hegemony in world politics, is the most powerful nation on earth, and will be led by the most unqualified candidate ever to obtain the presidency. Notable cognitive linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky believes Trump is “almost a death knell for the species,” and he believes current times are reflective of the processes that led to the events in WWII (5). But why so serious? Well, it's simple. We need to be consciously aware of the blatant rhetoric running around the newest administration, which carries the baggage of literal incompetence. This rhetoric spewing out of incompetence is only the beginning as we witness the emergence of Trumpism.
It has been established by nearly 97% of climate scientists that climate change is not a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese (1). In fact, it's real. And it's only going to get worse if nothing is done to prevent the rising temperatures and the melting ice. Given President-Elect Donald Trump's distorted worldview and sociopathic tendencies, we are clearly in for a bumpy ride. Around half of Trump’s cabinet appointments attest to his view on climate change and the direction his administration implies to take, with the likes of Scott Pruitt, Mike Pompeo, Rick Perry, Ryan Zinke, Nikki Haley, Jeff Sessions, James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Tom Price, and Ben Carson all denying climate change in some form or capacity (4). Humans never came across a problem like climate change before as it threatens the existence of many if not all species (nuclear weapons count, too, I guess), and it will take drastic measures to curb carbon emissions; after all, there’s only one earth. However, it doesn't seem to matter how factually-based, scientifically proven climate change is, nor do its consequences seem to matter, because as always, greed prevails in the industrialized world and pseudo-science leeches itself into the paradigms of world politics. Now I don't mean to scare you, because in the end, the people are the most powerful, and together, we can win. But it bears significance to paint the trouble ahead if we simply sit at our desks and complain on our comfy cozy social media sites. Sure, I’ll be the first to admit it.
As the most recent claims from our incumbent administration that climate change is simply not a big deal, we are once again under pointless and irrational controversy that could leave the world in 100 years thinking how idiotic our people must have been. Interesting, because 100 years ago, I wonder what made people so racist, "How stupid were these people to not realize that race is socially constructed, and prejudice is primordial and unintellectual at best?” I am not saying racism doesn’t exist today. But as the saying goes, history repeats itself.
As climate change bears a new fruit of controversy, Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world are beginning to feel the wrath of Islamophobia on a whole new level. According to a New York Times article, “since the election, hate crime monitors… have reported a rash of verbal or physical abuse targeting minorities and others at schools, mosques and elsewhere” (2). In addition, Mr. Trump fuels islamophobia, as he “... proposed a temporary ban on all Muslim immigration,” once said that “Islam hates us,” and has even proposed a Muslim registry (3). Dangerous and provocative behavior like this by our next President could be a grave mistake. I personally fear the future for our Muslim friends here and abroad; we must not let Mr. Trump or anyone else hate any longer.
Furthermore, we must not make the mistake by elevating terrorist offshoots like ISIL as existential threats to our nation and nations abroad. Terrorism is no doubt a pestering and violent threat that must be contained, but we cannot blind ourselves to the true facets of the peaceful religion of Islam that does not bear the twisted ideology that terrorists succumb themselves to and advocate for. Islamophobia will only ensure ISIL’s influence and growth. Nevertheless, our next president will not simply stop his bigotry, and we must gather the troops and resist, peacefully.
Penn State College