Muslim Advocacy Initiative

Global Outreach

Muslim Advocacy Task Force


Launched in Spring 2016, the VCU Muslim Advocacy Task Force is designed to: 


the VCU and Greater Richmond community about how to become allies for Muslim people and those who practice the Islamic faith.


for Muslim students who may experience anti-Muslim bias on campus and in the greater community.


diversity at VCU by ensuring that our campus remains a welcoming and inclusive community for people of all cultures.


Common myths about Muslim people and Islam

Myth #1: All Muslim people are Arab or Middle Eastern. +

Fact: Although Islam began as a religion in the Middle East and its holiest sites are located there, the region is home to only about 20% of the world’s Muslims. The bulk of the world’s Muslim population–62%–is located in Asia. The four largest Muslim populations are in Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, each home to more than 100 million Muslims. Muslim students, staff and faculty at VCU include U.S. citizens and internationals, and are diverse, including Africans, Asians and African-Americans.

Myth #2: Islam is a violent religion and Muslims identify with terrorism. +

Fact: Within every religion exists a spectrum of attitudes and behavior, and extremism is not unique to one belief system. There are people who claim to be Muslims who have committed horrible acts in the name of Islam. These people, and their extremist interpretation of Islam, are a minority within the religion. The vast majority of Muslims reject their violence and consider their interpretation a distortion of the Muslim faith.

Myth #3: You can’t be Muslim and be a patriotic American. +

Fact: Based on a 2011 Pew Research Study survey, there are an estimated
2.75–5 million Muslims in the United States, making up almost 1% of the total population. A 2011 Gallup poll found that the majority of Muslim-Americans say that they are loyal to the U.S. and are optimistic about the future even though they experience bias and discrimination.

Myth #4: Muslim women are forced to cover their heads with a hijab. +

Fact: The Quran, the holy text of Islam, directs both men and women to dress with modesty, but how this is interpreted and carried out varies a great deal. While it is true that in some countries with significant Muslim populations women are forced to wear the hijab, in most Muslim-majority countries, women dress according to their individual choices and/or social norms. A woman may choose to wear a hijab, niqab or burqa out of personal modesty, as an act of piety or to form a sense of collective religious identity.


Ending Anti-Muslim bias begins with you

Find out what resources Virginia Commonwealth University offers to help ensure that our campus remains a welcoming and inclusive community, and how you can help.

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