Islamophobia Working Group

The Islamophobia Working Group (IWG) emerged in January 2016 to address the national crisis of Islamophobia and its impact on the campus community at the University of Michigan. The purpose of this group of 100 faculty, staff, and students from across the campus is to study the climate and its impact on Arab, Muslim, and Middle Eastern/North African (MENA)-identified students and to strategize on how to create a safe and more inclusive campus environment for those who are impacted by anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiments. The IWG has become actively involved in the University’s strategic plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and gained visibility across the university. In addition to drafting a report that assesses the needs of Arab and Muslim students on campus and creating a resource list for students who are impacted by Islamophobia, the IWG has been working on three areas: (1) To increase the number of reflection spaces on campus in order to facilitate prayer for those Muslim students who pray 5 times per day; (2) To advocate for a Middle Eastern/North African (ME/NA) category on undergraduate applications so that we can know how many ME/NA students there are on campus and better serve their needs; (3) To advocate for changing (or supplementing) the internationally recognized Arabic language textbook, al-Kitaab (The Book), that promotes an Orientalist and militaristic approach to the Middle East. The IWG has made significant progress in all three areas at the University of Michigan’s campus.