Islamophobia is a reality, prove me wrong.

Definition, History, Evidences.

1. Definition

  • Organization of Islamic Council defines it as an excessive fear against Islam and anything associated with Muslims(Mosques, Quran, Hijab). It constitutes of racism and discrimination in daily life, mass media, workplace, and political sphere. It rests in mind, reflects in attitudes, and manifests in violent actions. Such as, mosque burning, vandalized properties, abusing women in scarf and insulting the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). It is a xenophobic perspective, statement, behavior and gesture, grounded in unconscious and implicit bias within the intuition.
  • In 1997, Runnymede Commission described it as an outlook, worldview that involves unfounded dread and dislike of Muslims. As a result, it manifests in discriminating portrayal of Muslims & Islam. Such as, inferior to west, separate & others, barbaric and sexist, or generalized as terrorists. It is an industry generating fear of Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry as a political ideology.

2. Historic Existence

  • Islamophobia is a new word for an old concept: Orientalism. In 1970’s, Edward Said wrote ‘Orientalism’ where he portrayed ‘’Eastern Peoples’’ civilization as exotic, others and radically inferior to Western Civilization. He considered them primitive, despotic and fanatics. Not to mention, even the cover of the book is a Snake Charmer. This book is evidence of Western apprehension of Islam with negative sentiments and stereotypes.
  • The foundations of antagonism against Islam date back to early Islamic period. Wherein, John of Damascus (679–749), a Christian scholar of the Umayyad Period, declared Islam a pagan cult (heaping derogation on Holy Prophet). His writings and accusations are benchmark of additional literature against Islam. Similarly, Church Elders held Islam as an evil & absolutely alien to God. In this regard, the role of Churchmen to inspire Crusades (Holy Wars) against Muslim Civilizations are case in point. Where in, they rallied crowds to battlefields by spreading contempt for Islam and Muslims. Therein, Pope Urban II (1096) is quoted of saying, ‘’Muslims are a vile race, they worship demons.’’
  • In addition, European Renaissance and Enlightenment has its own share in Islamophobia. Offensive discourse vis-a-vis Islam and Muslim is a continuation of stereotypes and distorted images. Voltaire, a French Philosopher of Enlightenment, had a theatrical play named ‘’Muhammad’’ in 1750’s, where he depicted Holy Prophet as a hypocrite, deceitful, lover of physical pleasures. Such distortions emerge in contemporary time via Danish & French caricatures and cartoons, confirming the stereotypes and distorted image of centuries in modern minds.

3. Modern Roots

  • Samuel P Huntington’s ‘’Clash of Civilization & remaking of World Order’’ is a center piece of Islamophobic tendencies. After the dismemberment of USSR (1992), Huntington warns the West of the next danger to replace the Red Danger, that is Green Danger which is Islamic. He predicts and thus consolidates the anti-Islamic xenophobia in Western Civilization by stating future wars will occur between cultures, not nations. He says, cultural and religious identities will be primary source of conflict in post cold war. In addition, he predicts the most likely clash will prevail among the West (US, Canada, West Europe, Australia, New Zealand) against Orthodox Culture (Russia, East Europe and Islam).
  • Similarly, the rise of Islamophobia has transformed from an expression to an Ideology since the 9/11. It seeks to find ways into political agendas of right-wing extremist groups, seeking political gains at the expanse of promoting anti-Muslim hatred. These systematic efforts are not limited only to extreme right. Wherein, the liberal left consciously harbors hostile sentiments, seeing the existence of Muslim demographics as a threat to Western Society and their lifestyles.
  • In addition, the rise of Militant Islamist Forces further compounds the stereotype against all the Muslims in the world. They use the rhetoric of saving Islam, fighting to fulfill the decree of God. However the Western Civilization must accept that it was infact West who sponsored the inception of such doctrine of Jihadi spirit during the Afghan War (1979) for its Cold War strategic gains against the Soviet Union.
  • Here the role of Mass Media is even more abhorrent. Wherein, the coverage of Muslims carried a negative connotation most likely. Such discrepancy in Media coverage of Violence by Muslims and Non-Muslims is self-evident. Wherein, terror attacks in USA by Muslims receive 3.5x more media coverage. In addition, an incident of Muslim violence is termed terrorism, while the others are not. The example of 2022 Brooklyn Metro Shooting is case-evidence, where the District Attorney refused to term the act terrorism. ADL Report (2018) proves that 98% of extremist killings in US are perpetrated by far right non-Muslim extremists, where as only 2% are accountable to domestic Islamic extremists. Between 2009–2018, right wing extremists in US perpetrated 73.3% domestic-extremist killings alone. To further substantiate, in 2017 Government Accountability Office of the USA shares data on violent extremist incidents since 9/11 (62 by far right extremists, 23 by radical Islamists).
  • The role of Media in shaping the perspectives on Terrorism is very vital. While the one’s by a Muslim is termed as Islamic Fundamentalism (implying the doctrine is inherited in Islamic Philosophy), they tend to ignore non-Muslim terrorism throughout the world. Such as the Muslims in Bosnia, Kashmir Muslims, Palestinian Muslims and Rohingya Muslims, suffering state-sponsored genocide and oppression. However the same do not receive the media coverage of the same scale. Similarly, it is crucial to question why Ukraine Invasion is termed a Ukraine-Russian War, however Israelian illegal expansion in Palestinian territory is a Conflict? In this view, the comments of European Journalists and Leaders are quite polluting. Former Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine said in a BBC interview, ‘’It’s emotional for me to see Europeans with blue eyes and blind hair being killed every day.’’ Similarly, French BFM Tv Journalist Philipe Corbe said, ‘’We are not talking about Syrians fleeing bombing of Syrian regime backed by Putin. We are talking about Europeans leaving in cars that look at us to save their lives.’’ Furthermore, an ITV Journalist from Poland is quoted of saying, ‘’This is not a 3rd World Nation, this is Europe.’’ Similarly, CBS Journalist has this to say on human lives value, ‘’Kyiv is not a place like Iraq or Afghanistan. This is a relatively civilized, European City.’’ Perhaps this is why there was no popular and state-level response against genocide of 1.1 Million Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, who were forced to exile in Bangladesh. Perhaps this is why Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State of US (1997–2001), admitted that the cost of sanctions on Iraq (amounting to 500k people dead) was worth it.
  • In addition, Hollywood has replaced Russians & Japanese after Cold War and WW2 with an orientalist perspective on Arabs. Prof Jack Shaheen is noted of saying, ‘’Arabs are hollywood’s shameless shorthand for bad guy. Muslims are the Public Enemy #1, portrayed as heartless and brutal, bent on terrorizing civilized Westerners.’’ For, example: 1) Jack Ryan, a CIA Agent stopping Muslim terrorists. 2), Money Heist portrays Pakistani Muslims as cyber-hackers. 3), 15:17 to Paris, rescuing passengers of airplane from Muslim terrorists. 4), 7 Days in Entebbe, Israelian rescues hostages from Palestinian terrorists. Last but not least, Aladdin: reinforcing Orientalist perspective of uncivilized nature. Similarly, the role of literary world further brainwashes people through the plethora of Islam & Muslim bashing books after 9/11. All these books use sensational and shabby screeds bearing screaming headlines by these political polemicists such as, ‘’Islam & Terror’’, ‘’Islam Exposed’’, ‘’Arab Threat’’, ‘’Muslim Menace’’. One wonders the motivations behind the institutionalized purpose to associate Islamic Theology with the terrorist conduct, would the same apply to any other person of an other religion? With cherry on top, such people are then furnished with awards and recognition to legitimize and popularize their fascist content such as Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Robert Spencher, Pamela Geller and Bill Warner.
  • However, the systematic effort to cement, propagate, and cloud Western Civilization with Islamophobic tendencies is being sponsored by Islamophobic Networks. A report of Southern Poverty Law Center shows that these ANTI-Muslim Hate Groups in USA proliferated from only 50 in 2010 to over 1020 in 2018. There are numerous organizations disseminating misinformation about Islam and Muslims. Such as, 1) SANE (Society of American for National Existence), ACT! for America, SIOA (Stop Islamization of America), all of whom sponsor public protests against Mosques and sponsor Anti-Muslim Bus Ads and Lobby for Legislation against Muslims. A report from Center for American Progress shows an annual revenue of $205 millions in 2013, funded to academics, credible officials to enhance the credibility of manufactured hate against Islam in US.
  • In this context, the role of technology is no less. Wherein, Call of Duty dedicates ‘’Karachi, Pakistan’’ as a terrorist-location. In addition, Counter Strike portrays its Terrorists with the outlook of Muslim attributes and AK47, symbolizing their relativeness to Al-Qaeda in a post 9/11 context. Similarly, a children game ‘’Bombo’’ portrays a turban-wearing cartoon throwing bombs. Similarly, Facebook revises its Hate & Violent Speech on 10th March, 2022, in the context of Ukrainian-Russian War. It is quoted of saying, ‘’Issuing spirit of policy allowance to T1 violent speech which would otherwise be removed under Hate Speech when targeting Russian soldiers in context of invasion. We have temporarily allowed forms of political expression normally violating our rules on violent speech, ‘’death to Russian invaders’’. As a result, Meta promotes conservative & extremist factions (The Jihadis of Ukraine) as heroic, ironically. It says, ‘’for the time being, narrow exception of Azov Regiment in context of defending Ukraine or as part of Ukraine National Guards’’. The issue is Brenton Tarrant who killed 51 Muslims in a Christchurch Mosque Massacre and Azov Regiment of the Ukraine are no different. These are Neo-Nazi Extremists who find Stepan Bandera a hero of Ukraine, the same man who had ordered Ukrainian Nationalists to massacre Poles & Jews in Nazi Concentration Camps. Not to mention, the Founder of Azov Regiment Andriy Biletsky is quoted of saying in 2010, ‘’Ukraine’s destiny is to lead White Races of the world in a final crusade against Semite-led Untermenschen (Inferior Race). One wonders if Facebook is promoting these extremists as heroic would also apply to the freedom fighters, which they were once, known today as Afghan Taliban? Such is the role of Mass Media & Social Media in shaping the perspectives on terrorism and extremism. Not to mention NATO is sponsoring grenade launchers and training instructions to Azov Regiment, according to NEXTA TV of Belarus. Would Meta consider Palestinian Hamas as freedom fighters and praiseworthy because both are doing the same job, fighting for their land. This duality of standards should be the issue of concern here. It were the same Taliban who were freedom fighters in the 80’s when fighting the Soviets and Terrorists when they fought the American Imperialism.

4. Effects of Islamophobia throughout the World

a. Indian State

  • The author of ‘’Idea of India’’ Sunil Khilnani says, ‘’Having tried to create a nation out of extreme diversity, India created a secular governance accommodating religion, caste, ethnic diversity into political economic structures that were inclusive. Its constitutional author Ambedkar granted rights to people who weren’t mainstream Hindus. This began to change as Narendra Modi gained political power.’’
  • Under PM Modi, since 2014, India has been transitioning from its secular and plural roots towards a Hinduvta Philosophy, which is a parallel version of German Nazi Fascism. As an effect, the 200 Million Muslims of India are under state-sponsored Islamophobic oppression and genocidal threats. Similar to Nazis of Germany, India has its own off shoot known as Rashtriya Swamyamsevak Sangh (RSS), a rightwing Hindu group. One of their member, Nathuram Godse had killed the Mahatama Gandhi, the reason being the blame he held for the partition of Indian land with Muslims. Current Indian PM Narendra Modi is a member of RSS which borrows heavily from the Nazi Party of Germany, in ideology and symbols.
  • In 2002, 59 Hindu Pilgrims died in a fire on a train, the causes being unknown. As a result, a Hindu Mob burned down Muslims of Gujarat alive and killed more than 1000. While the Chief Minister was now PM Narendra Modi, his indifference abets the Mob to allow picking up Muslims from their home. These minorities weren’t given the state-assured fundamental rights to life, security and liberty.
  • Similarly, NYTimes reports on Feb-8–2022, that a Hindu Extremist Yati Narsinghanand calls for violence against Muslims to promote a genocidal campaign. He is quoted of saying, ‘’Kill 2 Millions of them’’, urging an ethnic cleansing of the type that targeted Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. He invokes fear as a tool to present Indian Muslims as enemies of a Hinduvta State, whose higher birth rate will turn India into a Muslim State within a decade. The same Yati Narsinghanand comments on secular Indian Constitution, ‘’This constitution will be the end of Hindus, all 1 billion. Whoever believes in this system, Supreme Court, Constitution, will die a dog’s death.’’ He further calls for a genocide against Muslim Protestors of the Indian Citizenship Amendment Act (citizenship for all but Muslim immigrants) by saying, ‘’This will be a final battle. They are Jihadis and we will finish them off.’’
  • However, not all of Indian Society is Islamophobic. Retired Supreme Court Judge Rohinton Fali Nariman confirms these state sponsored propagandas, ‘’You have people giving hate speech, calling genocide for an entire group, yet we find reluctance of authorities to book these people. Unfortunately the higher echelons of ruling party are not only silent on hate speech, but endorsing it.’’
  • However the State is not reluctant to own its Hinduvta Ideology. Therefore, Yogi Adityanath (a Hindu monk) and the Chief Minister of United Provinces is quoted of campaigning for his elections (Feb 2022) under the communal principle. He goes around promoting the elections as a ‘’80:20'’ polling, the 80 being the percentage of Hindus in India and the 20 being the Muslims. Hence he promotes himself as a Hindu Chief Minister, rather an Indian Chief Minister. One wonders whether his administration would view the citizenship of his constituencies under a communal lens or not, the chances are more likely yes and the consequences even worse. The same Yogi Adityanath banned Muslim prayer in Open Grounds in UP, on grounds that it is a religious practice and should be confined to the bounds of a building specific to Muslims. However, one wonders whether the same would apply to Hindu Rallies throughout India during their religious festivals.
  • Similarly, the Wire (April 2) narrates an incident of radical Hindu zealots of BJP (PM Narendra Modi’s Party), who set ablaze and vandalized 40 Muslim Houses in Rajasthan. The Wire is quoted of saying, ‘’equally alarming is apathy of State machinery which wantonly looked the other way and failed in its basic duty to protect lives of its citizens. Minorities in India, Muslims especially, continue to live under fear & intimidation.’’
  • In addition, Karnataka High Court upholds Hijab ban in Educational Institutions. It further adds impetus to State’s effort to ‘’other-ize’’ Muslim & Sikh Community. One wonders that in a Liberal Democracy framework, whether such curtailment of human liberty to dress according to one’s faith is even justified. It seems that masks can be enforced upon with authority, if it comes to national security. It seems that it is liberating if feminists march naked throughout the streets. However, it is intolerable if a women decides to cloth herself according to her faith, which certainly does not violate the liberties of any other faith at all. As a result, many students were even barred from taking their final examinations due to the Hijab ban.

b. Western Nations

  • In a post 9/11 Context, the Patriot Act enabled suspecting Muslims on the basis of their identity. As a result, Muslims were cast as dangerous outsiders, excessively surveilled, their movements curtailed through such state-sanctioned targeting. A NY Report confirms the FBI & TSA racial profiling of Muslims, extra investigations at Airport customs.
  • In addition, there are 14 Nations in Europe who have banned Hijab systematically to violate the fundamental rights to religious freedom of their Muslim minorities. Among many, France, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Italy, Norway and Belgium are prominent and shocking nations with a guilty conscience. In this context, one wonders why European Union blocks Malaysian & Indonesian Palm Oil Export on grounds of deforestation but has imposed no such effective measures against Myanmar for their genocidal ethnic cleansing of 1.1 Million Rohingya Muslims. Perhaps the trees have a right to life, but not Muslims, in the liberal-secular laws of the European Union.
  • Similarly, there seems to appear a surge in populist and far right political parties in Europe. These parties seem to be promoting Islamophobic propaganda and even capitalizing on the same. In Germany there exists ‘’PEGIGA’’ which stands for Patriotic Europeans against Islamization of West. It seeks to build ties with right wing populist movements throughout Europe. Similarly, the German right wing parties campaign over greater restrictions on Mosque construction and anti-Immigration laws to limit arrivals with healthy dose of Euroscpeticism. In Sweden, Rasmus Pauldan (a far right Hard Line Party Leader) burns Holy Quran in a populated Muslim area, under Police Protection. Over in Austria, anti Islamic sentiment runs deep, where the Muslim population is 6%. Unlike the parties, 51% Austrians surveyed believed Islam is a threat to them. Such Islamophobia is further consolidated by Freedom Party of Austria, which proposed a Hijab Ban. Dr Fared Hafiz, an Austrian Professor, notes that ‘’Islamophobia is a part of far-right FPO Party, all of Anti-Mosque protests were coopted by FPO.’’ Furthermore, Denmark is the most strict immigration-wise regulating nation in Europe. It even restricts immigrants to marry Danish citizens, perhaps they believe in the same eugenics Hitler did for Aryan Races. Even worse, 13% of Danes interviewed believed the far right Danish People’s Party is still not tough enough on immigration. One such Dutch Politician and Right Wing Populist is Geert Wilders, who seems to promote false propaganda, misinformation and fallacies against Islam through his speeches. He comments, ‘’the source of inspiration, justification, of hatred, violence, terrorism in the world, Europe and America is Quran.’’
  • However the far right are not the only to blame. US Neuroscientist & New Atheist Sam Harris seems to have accomplished a scientific-research to establish, ‘’Direct link between Doctrine of Islam and Muslim Terrorism.’’ Perhaps his theory is validated by further assessing the fact that there are over 1.5 Billion Muslims in the world, it seems Islam either has over a billion dissents against its doctrine of terrorism or perhaps there is a discrepancy in Sam Harris’ point of view. Similarly, the assertive secularism in France is no new news. Emmanuel Macron did not only divide France on religious separatism, but caused fissures in inter-civilizational harmony worldwide, comments Alasdair Sandford of EuroNews. He exploits xenophobic tendency, hand instrument of far-right politics in France. He justifies inciting and xenophobic remarks under the guide of secularism and right of freedom of expression, criticizes French Parliamentarian Jean Luc-Melenchon. Ironically, Macron displayed anti-Islamic, hate-sponsoring, insensitive, caricatures on the government buildings in France, in defiance of ‘’Islamic’’ Terrorists and preserving ‘’Secular Traditions’’. He orders Mosque shutdowns and promises, ‘’Islamists want our future. We vow not to give up cartoons.’’ Surprisingly, the French Presidential Elections (2022) had one top-of-the triangle political issue on which both the candidates were equally agreeable, the Hijab Ban.

c. Global Community

  • Muslim Civil Rights & Advocacy Group (CAIR) shows that Muslim students are subject to twice the national average bullying in USA. In 2019, 40% students reporting bullying were Muslims. They were being harassed with verbal slurs & labels such as ‘’terrorists, taliban, bomber’’. A girl in Hijab was offensively touched and bullied. The report says no. of students feeling welcomed at school have declined over 14% in California alone.
  • In addition, bias in Education is no myth. Wherein, 12% students reported a teacher’s account of stereotyping teachings on Islam. While 29% reported derogatory statements about Muslims & Islam by their teacher. Even so, 15% reported offensive comments directly targeting the student themselves. In Oct 2021, New Jersey Maths teacher told a 17 year old Muhammad Zubi (an Arab), ‘’We do not negotiate with Terrorists’’ for requesting extension in his homework. As a result, Muslim students are suffering from depression, anxiety, and poor performance.
  • Similarly, it seems USA needs a new Civil Rights Movement. But one wonders if Black Lives Matter is willing to pick up ‘’Equality of Opportunity / Outcome’’ debate for Muslims as well, it seems interested only in one variant of group identity politics. Interestingly, a report by ING shows 13% lower callback rate for a Muslim candidate. Wherein, Muslim job applicants receive 32% less emails and 42% lesser calls. In fact, 700–800 religious bias complaints annually in workplace (2009–2017) were reported by Muslims. While being 1–2% of workforce, 20% of religious complaints were being filed by Muslims. However, most of these incidents go unreported, due to fear of retaliation or job layoff.
  • Islamophobia doesn’t begin with the sound of a gunfire. It is a form of racism, it is prejudice which stems from families, schools, workplace and communities. The whole world mourns Ukrainian Invasion however no one seems to find the same scale of emotions and sensitivity for the genocide of Rohingya Muslims, Kashmir which is a modern day largest prison in the world, Syrians, Yemenians, Iraqians, Palestinians. The racists in Northern Irelands leave a pigs head at a Mosque Door. Over in USA, there seems to be a festival known as ‘’Punish a Muslim Day’’. Similarly, 2 women in Guisborough tortured a Muslim convert and shouted ‘’We don’t like Muslims over here’’. There was an attempted murder of Muslim women and her 12 y/o daughter as a revenge for Parsons Terror Attack.
  • A report of John Hopkins University tells American Muslims are at a higher risk of suicide, owing to deadly Anti-Muslim harassment since the 9/11. Muslim Women are most likely to suffer since 2016, and 47% of Muslim have expressed fear of White Supremacists. The psychological impact of living under threat seems to be staggering high for Muslims (42%), compared to Jews (23%) and Catholics (6%). Similarly a PEW Poll shows 41% US Citizens believe Islam encourages violence. In fact, 2015 Public Religion Research Institute Survey shows 57% US participants believed Islamic Values are at odds with American values. Perhaps, Samuel P Huntington lives forever through his successful warning to Western Civilization.
  • The quality of Life as a Muslim is further degraded in the Western World. A Pew 2021 Survey of Muslim American shows 50% affirmed to living as a Muslim being more difficult in recent times. Where as, 75% affirmed discriminatory actions against them in US due to their Muslim identity. Even so, there were over 500 Anti-Muslim bias incidents in 2019. California Department of Justice reports 44% in Hate Crime against Muslims. Where in, assaults against Muslims have been following a linear rising curve (126 in 2016, 93 in 2001). The Community Centers of CAIR group were vandalized and attacked 370 times between 2013–2017. In fact, there has been a x3 rise in attacks on Sikh Community in USA due to their similarities in outlook with Muslims owing to the generalized, deep-seated stereotype of associating beards with Muslims.
  • To make things worse, Islamophobic Networks are being funded to manifest, propagate and advance anti-Muslim rhetoric. The ‘’Ground Zero Mosque Protest’’, masked under environmental and traffic concerns, was being protested with comments such as ‘’Mosques are monuments to terrorism’’, as confirmed by NYTimes Article. Similarly, ACT for America issues a warning moto, ‘’Threat of Radical Islam and Sharia to our Nation.’’ Interestingly, ACT Staffer Lisa Piraneo was appointed under US State Department, perhaps they ran a background check and found the perfect candidate. Similarly, ex-FBI Agent John Guandolo offers Islamophobic training courses to LEO & Civilians under ACT for America’s ‘’Understand the Threat’’ mission. He harbors far right views, advocates depriving Muslims of 1st Amendment Rights, accuses them of being Anti-American and holding ties to terrorist organizations. A report by CAIR group exposes that 100 mainstream charities fund 39 Anti-Muslim groups in USA. Where in over $125 Million were funneled between 2014–2016. Perhaps Elon Musk is right, you should know where your charity is being utilized and for what purpose.

5. Before we bid farewell: Food for Thought.

  • Why is it liberating to be naked, which is a form of clothing choice. But intolerant if the same women wants to just dress a little more with a Hijab? Would you support liberating Christian nuns with state-sponsored regulations to only wear mini skirts and bikinis because anything more is oppressive? This is a question of Cultural Relativism, not nuance.
  • Why is Ukraine Invasion a Ukraine-Russia War? Why don’t the same term ‘’War’’ apply to Syria and Palestine? Why are these ‘’Conflicts’’? When the parallel is same, external nations subjugating the national sovereignty of a nation-state. No, I am not anti-Semite, I want Jews to have their nation-state and their territory. I just wish the same for Palestinians. I don’t want AI bots screening Muslims out in Jerusalem. Neither do I support racial access to employment and social justice opportunities. We need to live in a tolerant, compassionate and plural world. Prophet Muhammad established Madina State under the Madina Accord, and the Jews were signatories in the social contract along with the Muslims and both communities promised to safeguard each other. Even so, the Jews were to be treated with their own legal laws and not to be imposed upon an Islamic Law over their affairs.

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