Curbing the rising trends of Islamophobia | By Dr Muhammad Khan


Curbing the rising trends of Islamophobia

FOLLOWING Europe and America, there emerged many far-right movements in developing countries that target the Muslims as community and Islam as a religion (Islamophobia).

All these movements supported by their respective governments are part of creating hatred against Islam and Muslims which runs counter to UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and covenants on human rights.

Very recently, Sri Lankan Government has decided to ban the wearing of the burqa (veil), taking cover of national security.

Though, Sri Lankan Minister for Public Security, Sarath Weerasekera, said, “It is just a proposal, but a decision has been taken in principle.

“The burqa is something that directly affects our national security…this [dress] came into Sri Lanka only recently.

It is a symbol of their religious extremism.” Besides, Sri Lankan Government has planned to close over 1,000 madrasas and mosques. Such an act will set a bad precedence in developing world.

The Muslim men and women in Sri Lanka (in veil) have never been a threat to the national security of that country.

Muslims have been living with peace and tranquillity with its majority population for centuries.

In the last few years there have been some incidents where Muslims were targeted by Buddhist extremist organizations during their payers.

Ambassador Saad Khattak, the Pakistani High Commissioner to Sri Lanka has twitted that, “The likely ban on Niqab #Sri Lanka will only serve as injury to the feelings of ordinary Sri Lankan Muslims and Muslims across the globe.

At today’s economically difficult time due to pandemic and other image related challenges faced by the country.”

The Sri Lankan government must reconcile its proposed decision of banning the burqa for Muslim women. Such an act will be a step forward towards Islamophobia in South Asia.

In “India, the Hindu chauvinist BJP has apparently adopted Islamophobia as a central plank of its state policy, passing laws that discriminate against Muslims while looking away when acts of violence target the community.”

It is worth mentioning that there have been unfortunate incidents of burning of the Holy Quran in the US, Sweden, Norway and many other European states. These trends represent a prejudiced mind-set which has developed in the traditionally tolerant societies of the West.

Despite appearance of racial symptoms, the Scandinavian region of Europe maintained the highest level of social capital; social acclimatisation and concord. It remained as an all-encompassing society having the highest level of socio-economic integration.

This region of the Northern European, the Nordic countries had high “civic participation, high ethnic homogeneity, high social and economic equality, and low public corruption.”

The Muslim immigrants in America, Europe and Scandinavian countries have largely contributed towards further enrichment of traditional values of this region with a visible uplift of economy and homogeneity. On their part, these countries assimilated and accepted the Muslims in their societies.

There was indeed, more room for excellence and talent development in the national discourses of Scandinavian societies.

Indeed, there developed an adversely negative mind-set against Muslims and Islam in the Trans-Atlantic region after the unfortunate happenings of 9/11 and thereafter.

The Incident of 9/11 neither benefitted nor conceived by any Islamic State or the Islamic institutions anywhere in the world.

The incident rather harmed the Muslims and indeed was an attempt to defame Islam and Muslims.

According to American and Western scholars, the incident was part of a greater game, hence well planned and executed with a lot of perfection and professionalism which needed expertise not available in any Muslim State.

The incident created a wide ranging hatred against Islam and Muslims everywhere since the pilots of those aircraft which hit World Trade Centre and Pentagon were Muslims from some Arab States.

The scholars however, questioned the bulk employment of pilots from the Arab world and their concurring flight timings. Moreover, they questioned the beneficiaries; Muslim, West, United States or someone else?

The sentiments of hate against Islam, Muslims and burning of the Holy Quran and desecration of mosques and places of prayers in the West are indirectly defaming the traditionally tolerant western societies too.

It represents the mushroom growth of an intolerant society in the West and America.

Hundreds of thousands of events of terrorism have happened in the West and America since the beginning of anti-Muslim campaign in these continents.

The perpetrators of these incidents were non-Muslims in over 90% cases. Mostly, the Christens were killing the Christens in these acts of terrorism.

But, amazingly these terrorists, who committed the act of terrorism against innocents in schools, clubs and other public places were not labelled as terrorists, since this label is dedicated for Muslims only.

Even, Brenton Tarrant, the man who killed 51 Muslims in live-streamed attacks on two New Zealand mosques was not declared as a terrorist. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment, a rare incident in New Zeeland.

He is still proud of killing innocent Muslims, since he is part of this new mind-set which is expanding all over Europe and America.

Indeed, Islamophobia and mushroom growth of hatred against Islam and Muslims in Europe and America and now in South Asia would go against the traditional bondage of their multi-religious, multi-cultural and all-encompassing social fabric.

Creation of hatred, desecration of religious places and burning of Holy Books is against the teaching of all Divine religions, thus cannot be justified for Islam and Muslims.

The leadership of civilized world must stop their far-right groups who are being used as tools against Muslims and Islam.

They must understand that today’s Islamophobia may take the shape of Christianphobia, Buddhistphobia and Hinduphobia tomorrow. Then there will be no end to these phobias.

After all Europe have faced centuries of internal strife, conflicts and wars in the name of religion and even within two schools of Christianity.

For the common good of humankind, let’s stop sowing seeds of hatred, intolerance and violence based on religions, races and communities.

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.

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