Islamophobia can be termed as systemic and schemed racism, discrimination, hatred, prejudice, bigotry and fear against Muslims in general and the religion Islam in deep connection with the acquisition of geopolitical objectives by western world.
Islam, a religion of peace
Basically, this so-called perception of Islamophobia was first emanated after 9/11 assaults, which was later adopted & propagated by western world, associating terrorism, radicalism and extremism with religion Islam. Being a religion of peace, Islam does not preach any kind of violence, ferocity, indignation, barbarity and vehemence; rather; it sternly prohibits all kinds of acts that are meant to harm others and injure others’ values. Islam advocates for the rights of others, equality, justice, harmony and peace; but deplorable, this beautiful religion is being labelled with terrorism by ignorant westerners.
It is further exemplified by one of sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that no Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab. Nor does a white man have any superiority over a black man, or the black man any superiority over the white man. You are all the children of Adam, and Adam was created from clay. Islam is totally devoid of racial or caste feeling of any kind.
Rising Islamophobia in the West
Of late, an unprecedented surge in Islamophobia is being seen in world in general and in Asia in particular after French President Macron’s derogatory remarks on Islam, saying “Islam is in crisis” coupled with his backing of blasphemous sketches of Muhammad (PBUH) and display of caricatures on government buildings, is what has fiercely outraged international Muslim community against him, intensifying worldwide protests particularly from Muslim countries.
The main reason behind growing anti-Muslim sentiments among westerners, is the fast propagation of Islam across whole Europe and other specific parts of the world
These detestable acts have once again sparked a wave of abomination among all Muslims, in the world, demonstrating against the so called hypocritical, bigoted, sectarian and riotous norms and values of western world, guised in the garb of democracy and liberalism.
France’s aggression against Islam
It is not first time, France’s aggression against Islam came to prominence; rather, in the past, France was the first European Union member country which passed and enforced a discriminatory law in 2011 against wearing full-face veil by Muslim women at public places. It is also France which first passed a law on 8th December 1905 that officially separated the church and the state, aiming to defend the secular values of France by not allowing the propagation of other religions especially Islam, and deliberately dubbing it with radicalism, falsely considering it a threat to their western culture.
Condemnation by Muslim leaders
PM Imran Khan had already demanded UN to take a stiffest action against surging tide of Islamophobia while speaking on seventy fifth session of UN General Assembly, highlighted Islamophobia in his speech, denouncing the western malevolent anti-Muslim propaganda and their fear and bigotry against Islam. He has also recently asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, to place a ban on Islamophobic content circulating on Facebook, while protesting Macron’s pledge to never give up caricaturing Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Likewise, Tayyip Erdogan, acting against Macron, asked him to get ‘mental checks’. He even asked Turks to boycott French goods.
The profane acts of Islamophobia, for past couple of years, have gained momentum in anti-Muslim countries especially in Europe, since they are closely associated with their political motives. Macron here did the same, arousing his people’s sentiments against Islam, with a sole objective to strengthen his political position.
Islamophobia being used for political gains
The main reason behind growing anti-Muslim sentiments among westerners, is the fast propagation of Islam across whole Europe and other specific parts of the world. At a great rate, Islam has pervaded among non-Muslims in Europe, which is indigestible for the western world. This is what has conjoined them all to carve out their propaganda against Islam merely for political gains.
In 2018, Austria shut down seven Turkish mosques and expelled 40 Turk Imams in fit of bigotry against Islam as a vibrant religion. Same year, in Finland, amid European polls a candidate from the Finish First Party Macro Dewit deliberately desecrated a copy of Holy Quran in order to garner electoral support from populous. Similarly, Christchurch Mosque attacks in New Zealand on 15 March 2019 killing at least 51 people clearly reflects non-Muslims’ virulence against Islam.
Moreover, in Denmark, the Danish parliament passed a legislation in August 2018 which made wearing of full-face veil a heinous crime liable to be punished in a form of fine. Similarly, in November last year a young Muslim foiled an attempt of desecration of the Holy Quran during anti-Islam rally in Norway. This year incidents of desecration of the holy Quran occurred in Malmo, Sweden, Oslo and Norway which were strongly condemned by Pakistan.
Adoption of inclusive culture and interdependence among Muslim states is even indispensable to fill the vacuum that might be taken over by the roots of Islamophobia.
This western and anti-Muslim states’ perception seems completely unjustifiable and spurious holding Islam accountable for fanning extremism and terrorism, when they themselves are deeply engrossed in butchering Muslims, spreading sectarian violence and disparaging and denigrating religious values of others i.e. Rohingya Muslims’ blatant ethnic cleansing and their exodus from Myanmar, massacre and persecution of Palestinians by Israel, Kashmiri Muslims’ genocide at the hands of Indian troops, China’s repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang and Trump’s racist attacks against Muslims threatening their banishment from US are some authentic examples to refute anti Muslim countries’ false claims against Islam.
Muslims must unite
Regrettably, a deep rift amongst Muslims in form of their prejudice, malice, sectarian ideologies and divergent thoughts against each other are some fundamental causes, solely responsible to bolster western anti-Muslim campaigns. Sorrowfully, This deep-rooted division among Muslims hardened further after Arab world was seen embracing and recognizing Israel.
To counter such misconceptions about Islam in the shape of Islamophobia, adopting decisive measures is important. Muslims and Muslim countries from all over the globe have to be united, setting aside their differences with each other, devising a holistic and all-encompassing strategy to curb and curtail rising Islamophobia.
Electronic and print media have to play its unbiased role in presenting a positive image of Islam before this whole world and should play its significant role in promoting interfaith harmony among countries with disparate religious creeds. Adoption of inclusive culture and interdependence among Muslim states is even indispensable to fill the vacuum that might be taken over by the roots of Islamophobia.
Theologists and Islamic scholars from the Muslim world need to converge and collectively ponder over this flawed perception of Islamophobia and unanimously to disprove west’s conspiracy against Islam with strong Quranic references depicting Islam as peaceful religion.
OIC must take a bold stand against anti Muslim sentiments by passing a combined resolution, restricting and deterring dissidents from speaking ill and using bitter language against Islam. Furthermore, removal of all militant wings sponsored by unidentified enemies; evading intra state rivalries within Muslim countries; eradication of illiteracy; economic stability; counter platforms to prevent the spread of western media’s propaganda against Islam; and an effort by the Muslim world leadership to ensure certain legal codes for future incidents can be advantageous to tackle rising tide of Islamophobia.
Waseem Shabbir is a Gujranwala based political analyst and a freelance columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.