Us & Them: Islamophobia

Dec 14, 2015

Are you afraid of Muslims? Not just those in ISIS - but the ones who live among us?

One Christian friend of ours is so worried, he refused to meet with Muslims over biscuits at Bob Evans as part of our "Us & Them" podcast.

“It’s indisputable that Muslims kill people who disagree with them," he wrote. "I do not fear death, but I cannot risk my innocent loved ones suffering the repercussions of the discussion you propose.”

In this episode of our podcast "Us & Them," we face our fears and visit a mosque in South Charleston, W.Va., where we meet Dr. Hazem Ashraf.

“Your loyalty is being called out, your worth and value as a person is being called out, that somehow you’re less of an American, less of a citizen, for something you have not done,” he says.

Muslims have lived in West Virginia for generations. They are buried next to Christians in the cemetery. Their children go to school together.

But now, Muslim parents say their kids are being questioned at school – Where are you from? Are you a terrorist?

“What they’re hearing is, go back to where you came from. Well naturally, their response is, ‘We’re from West Virginia. Where do you want us to go back to?’” Ashraf says.

But he says he has hope that Americans will ultimately reject Islamophobia.

“You can find love and hatred in the Koran just like you can in the Bible. When I am faced with radicals and radical ideas, I remember Woody Guthrie, 'This land is my land, this land is your land…this land is for me and you.'"

Listen to the entire episode below:

Us & Them is a new podcast exploring all sides of the cultural issues that too often divide us.

Peabody Award-winner Trey Kay brings us stories that may make you rethink your opinions on religion, sexuality, and other important issues.

Us & Them is a joint project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting and Trey Kay Productions, with support from the West Virginia Humanities Council.

You can subscribe to Us & Them on iTunes and Stitcher, and listen on the podcast's website.