2016 has been a rough year for all of us. While some individuals have been left speechless and others left silenced, poets took the stage to do what they do best.
The final stage in this year’s National Poetry Slam has been blessed by a brilliant trio, Rudy Francisco, Natasha Hooper and Amen Ra. This collaborative piece, titled “Islamophobia,” is meant to illuminate the hypocrisy within our national government and how it deals with terrorists.
Throughout the poem, they mention several non-Muslim terrorists whose religions and identities were never blamed for their actions. With this, the audience is left to ponder why the only religion constantly blamed is Islam. The poets then define jihad correctly for the audience as “a struggle,” not “a holy war.” The poem suggests that the audience educates themselves through unity rather than through media. Using their platform as artists to raise awareness is a symbol of allyship.
It is important for us, as an Ummah, to recognize this allyship and move towards building bridges with other communities–not walls.