Long after 9/11, a pervasive climate of Islamophobia persists across America

The Guardian reports: Aya Beydoun wants to be president of the United States. On paper, the 17-year-old already is not an implausible future occupant of the White House.

She’s an ambitious, articulate, near straight-A student, planning to use a college law degree as a stepping stone to politics. She already chairs her high school politics club.

Her problem – at least according to Ben Carson, one of the leading presidential candidates in the current Republican field – would be that she is Muslim.

Aya’s voice quivers when she mentions Carson, a former paediatric neurosurgeon who studied at the University of Michigan just a few miles from her home.

The teenager was at home last Sunday, watching the TV with her mother, Wanda, whose parents came to America fleeing the Lebanese civil war in 1970, when the pair heard Carson’s incendiary remarks.

In his trademark quiet, civil voice, Carson, who is currently trailing only Donald Trump in the Republican polls, said on NBC News on Sunday that Islam is incompatible with the US constitution and he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation”.

Beydoun said: “I see a lot of awful things in the media; people dying, discrimination, politicians being disgusting, but this really hit home because that was me he was talking about.”

“I’m educated enough to know that what he’s saying is absolutely against the constitution, but what about all the kids in my area who don’t know that? Now they’re going to think that maybe they have to lie or keep their religion a secret, maybe they can never fulfil their dreams.”

Carson’s comments did not emerge from a vacuum. They marked just the latest example of an increasing tolerance for Islamophobia in the Republican presidential race, as views historically associated with the Tea Party fringe have been thrust to the mainstream. [Continue reading…]

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