Any parent or a student will attest to having a fear of being bullied in any sphere of life. As a matter of fact, be it at the workplace or in school, being on the edge of being oppressed is naturally despicable. It is even worse if you are looked down upon because you exhibit characteristics seen to be with a minority such as skin colour, race or even, a different socioeconomic background.
As dreaded as it is to be bullied, would you imagine living in a country where a majority of the people you are likely to meet, have that extreme feeling of hate and negative prejudice towards anyone of your religion?
Having a life whereby people will take on their heels when they see you entering a shopping mall fearing you may be out there to bomb the store? Won’t you break due to this unfair treatment? I bet most will agree that this is hard.
Islamophobia is when people around you harbour an exaggerated fear, hatred, bias against or even hatred towards those of who proclaim the Islamic religion. This behaviour has seen its prevalence among the western and European countries. Recently, some African countries are following the trend. While the reasons behind the said unjust treatment are debatable, some of the three main reasons fuelling Islamophobia among the nations include:
1. Cultural stereotyping.
Did you know that old stereotypes can affect generations and generations of a said group of people or community? You will also be surprised that when most people lack general knowledge or information on a said topic, they peg their understanding of the problem on the existing stereotypes.
For instance: all those findings documented on Edward’s manuscript, Orientalism about the inhabitants of the Middle East and North Africa laid a foundation to the now thwarted Islamophobia.
Muslim-Arabs being the principal inhabitants were portrayed to be a weaker race that was predominantly primitive and misogynist. They were also seen to exhibit aggressiveness and violence. Incidentally, it is this kinds of analogies that have seen Muslim men being singled out as possible terrorist and more security measures have been put in place to watch them in some airlines. Given such a background, the Muslim community has been handled with bigoted suspicion which is unjust to the Muslim faithful.
Ever since such findings were documented, the western nations formed a perception that the Muslims are less deserving equal rights and opportunities in the job market. The aggressive behaviour has been in the late ’90s associated with extremist behaviour such as terrorism.
In addition to that, educational curricula are biased in that it has mainly painted a negative picture of the Muslim religion.
2. Fear of foreigners by natives.
Psychologically speaking, if you form a habit of relying on a stereotype to describe a particular culture, they may consciously or unconsciously gain a bias towards that community.
When Muslims are continually associated with extremism, chauvinist and terrorism, communities around them may envision them as threats to their lives. Recently, Aljazeera has exposed a segment of the Indian community that has blamed the COVID-19 pandemic on Muslims . So, those existing narratives facilitate a kind of Unfounded fear in the members of the said nations.
Again, if you carefully examine, there has been a hype on which community dominates which area. In an era where people can freely immigrate, the natives have been seen to feel as though the immigrants have come to take away their jobs, lives and maybe at some point take over their country. As these concepts strive to settle, Muslims, who are majorly seen to have originated from Asia and Northern Africa face the same kind of discrimination. A good example is at America where Muslims who live there are experiencing bigotry owing to President Trump’s act of empowering white supremacists. At the end of the day, they may end up lacking equal opportunities as other occupants in that country.
3. Anti-Muslimism advances and crusades
While some see Islamism as a religion, other people at a glance see Islamism as a political mine.
Research by Center for American progress has, in many instances carried out studies which has deduced that some organisations have purposed to spread hate messages through funding radicals and publishing literature that has had a negative impact on how the world view Muslims.
At the same time, take a look at the social and mass media platforms, when there is a crime that has been done by Muslims, it is magnified to look like a hill yet other people commit equally severe crimes, and the media do not give those equal weight. Again some of the media segments have been set only to criminalise the religion.
In other instances, movies have been scripted and filmed with themes that portray Muslims as public enemies. The same case applies to publications made filled with literature that is intended to bash the Islam religion, making them look like people who are cold-blooded, ruthless, and those are rigid to civilisation. Others, including video games, have been strategically manufactured to make even children at a tender age take in the same mind-sets.
On the same note, policies and laws have continually been passed with both national and international advisories, and issuance of travel bans in the Americas to Muslim populated countries in the fear citizens may become victims to terror attacks.
Islamophobia is slowly wasting away the value of togetherness and cohesion in nations. The more this is brewed in, the more governments will continue turning away from each other and even citizens turning against their fellow citizens. As opposed to this, it can be a good idea if it is given the same attention just as vices like bullying, apartheid or even racism. It would also get better if everyone pulled efforts to ensure that Islamophobia is slowly diffused out of the community.