Following the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium on Tuesday, emotions and fears are running high.
Explosions rocked a rush hour metro train and the departure hall of the Brussels airport, leaving about 34 people dead and injuring dozens of others.
These horrific events occurred less than a week after one of the suspected terrorists from last November’s Paris attacks was arrested in the Belgian capital, indicating that this was no random act of terror.
Islamophobia throughout the world has been running rampant, particularly since the rise of ISIS, and has been normalized in the U.S. by anti-Muslim rhetoric from right-wing politicians.
People throughout the world are irrationally placing the blame for ISIS, terrorism, and Islamic extremism on all Muslims.
One of the immediate ways Islamophobia was displayed and embraced following the Brussels attacks was with the #StopIslam trending hashtag that is filled with hateful, cruel messages about Muslims and the Islamic faith.
Islam has been at war with the world since it's birth. It's demonic in nature and if you want to blame someone, blame Muhammad. #StopIslam— Jonathan Saelens (@YomasterJon) March 22, 2016
Rather than starting a trend such as #StopISIS or #StopTerrorism, some very ignorant Twitter user came up with a trend that attacks an entire religion — despite the fact that terrorism has no religion. What’s more frustrating is that so many others jumped on the bandwagon and entertained the hate.
While there were several people chiming in on the topic to condemn the hashtag, the fact that it even exists remains troublesome.
Terrorism has no religion. I think the "#StopIslam" tweets are getting overly pathetic and out of hand now.— Rahul Hussain (@ImRahulHussain) March 22, 2016
I would like to apologize on behalf of the idiots who made #StopIslam a trending topic. Cant blame an entire religion 4 the acts of a few.— zYme (@ZymeIsCool) March 22, 2016
#PrayForTheWorld, a more peaceful and unifying hashtag, later developed on Twitter. It actually knocked #StopIslam down to the bottom of the top trending list.
As expected, #PrayForTheWorld is a compilation of love, prayers, pleas for peace and encouraging memes that seek to unite all people.
Posts filed under #PrayForTheWorld still acknowledge the grief that Brussels, Paris, San Bernardino and the rest of the world is experiencing but uses love as a tool for healing rather than allowing hate to incite anger and rage.
Stop with the hate! Learn to love and respect others. Find peace! #PrayForTheWorld— Mindy (@Codyspalmtree_) March 22, 2016
Our hearts and minds are with the victims and families of the latest attacks #PrayForTheWorld— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) March 22, 2016
sending all of my love to everyone that has been impacted by bombings/ racism/ etc in the past year. #PrayForTheWorld— sunshine (@lovexnailler) March 22, 2016
#PrayForTheWorld it's so sad that these things are happening, nobody deserves this. ??— Gabby Berry (@GabbyBerry4) March 22, 2016
#PrayForTheWorld is the proper response to unite against terrorism. The kind of emotions that provoked #StopIslam is the reaction ISIS wants. The idea is to stand against terrorism, not feed into it.
Banner Photo Credit: Twitter @sykesylauren