Middlebury College Statement on Islamophobia

January 2024

Ensuing the violence in Palestine and Israel since October 2023, we have seen a marked increase in Islamophobic acts on American campuses and beyond. The Council on American Islamic Relations has thus far received 2,171 complaints (a 172% increase) attributed to Islamophobic and adjacent forms of discrimination such as anti-Palestinian hate. These acts are exemplified by the tragic killing of a six-year old Palestinian American Muslim in Chicago, the verbal harassment of a Halal cart vendor in New York by a former US policymaker, and most recently, the shooting of three Palestinian college students that is being investigated as a hate crime in our own state in Burlington, Vermont. DEI officials and experts have more urgently expressed concern about the lack of proportionate response to the reality of Islamophobia on current campus spaces. Muslim and Muslim-adjacent communities not only face fear and alienation due to individual incidents but are also harmed by national policies and rhetoric. It is critical for our school to encourage students, staff and faculty to report any incidents of Islamophobic bigotry and bias to administrators and for such incidents to be addressed promptly. As an institution that values diversity, equity and inclusion we must remain committed to the protection of all our Muslim constituents. Thus, it is absolutely necessary to enshrine a stance against Islamophobia immediately and effectively. 

Islamophobia is any act that incites “the fear, hatred, or prejudice towards Islam and Muslims that results in a pattern of discrimination and oppression.”* Islamophobia often reduces a whole Muslim collective to a particular—often negative—view. It can occur at an individual, institutional, and legislative level, manifesting as harmful tropes or dehumanizing language through media, political discourse, hate crimes, desecration of sacred spaces, interpersonal conflicts, profiling, employment discrimination, and legislation such as the 2017 Travel Ban dubbed the “Muslim Ban,”** and more.

Muslims are made especially vulnerable given their often double-marginalized identities. In addition to being members of a religious minority, many also represent racial and ethnic minorities. Furthermore, Muslim women who wear the hijab and niqab (Islamic head-covering and face-covering) face marked discrimination. The risk of religious, racial, and gendered discrimination demands our immediate attention, especially given our commitment to protecting historically underrepresented groups, students of faith and our principles of anti-racism and anti-oppression. It is imperative that we, as a College, formally condemn Islamophobia while engaging in investigation of such incidents on campus, as well as producing educational initiatives, Islamophobia working committees, and programs that address this systemic oppression. We condemn any and all such actions that fall under said categories. 

To address the rise in Islamophobia, we are creating a web page set to launch this Spring designed to serve as a comprehensive resource on Islamophobia and its various manifestations. We are committed to pushing for the implementation of a new Islamophobia working committee, programming, coursework and services to better represent Muslim voices on campus. We invite students, faculty, and staff to engage with us in this work and to take advantage of the opportunities to better understand how Islamophobia operates and ways we can mitigate its presence on Campus.


Guled Adam, Muslim Student Association 
Ashiyaan C. Asif, Muslim Student Association
Youness Cheboubi, Muslim Student Association
Khuram Hussain, Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity
Maryam O. Junaid, Muslim Student Association
Zahra Moeini Meybodi, Associate Muslim Chaplain and Interfaith Advisor
Mark R. Orten, Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life
Smita Ruzicka, Vice President for Student Affairs
Renee Wells, Assistant Vice President of Education for Equity and Inclusion
Noemi Y. Zendejas Rodriguez, Muslim Student Association


*Islamophobia | Student Affairs. https://studentaffairs.stanford.edu/stanford-against-hate/islamophobia. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.  Defining Islamophobia – Islamophobia. https://islamophobia.org/anti-prejudice-tools/defining-islamophobia/. Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

**Time of the Muslim Ban | The American Civil Liberties’ Union https://www.aclu-wa.org/pages/timeline-muslim-ban

Additional resources will be added to this page periodically.