Tania Rashid writes: I recently completed a short documentary about Islamophobia in America’s heartland, Texas. I got to know members of a gun-toting anti-Muslim group called the Bureau on American-Islamic Relations, or B.A.I.R.
I recall standing in the middle of them preparing for an “Arab rising.” Each practice shot they let out had me thinking that I could be an apparent target. One of them yelled “don’t mess with white people,” and proceeded to show me how he would complete a mass killing if he saw a group of Muslims.
I thought of my father, the most secular Muslim I know, who was wrongly accused of being a terrorist and interrogated for hours before a flight to Arizona. Could these men shoot me or other innocent people in my family?
But as much as I was repulsed by the group and their violent response to Muslims, it made me wonder: Were they all that wrong to feel so scared? [Continue reading…]