“Islamophobia: a word created by fascist and used by coward to manipulate morons” by Christopher Hitchens
The oxford dictionary defines phobia as “a strong unreasonable fear of something”. Islam phobia or ‘islamophobia’ is the preconceived opinion or fear averse to the Islamic religion or Muslims. Indiscrimination directed towards the Muslim community have sown seed in the hearts of the millions in form of hatred, fear and anger.
A research by the American Behavioral Scientists on Islamophobia claims that it came into existence in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s majorly by the political activists, non-government organizations, international organizations in western liberal democracies, etc. In the current day scenario these negative attitude toward this specific community have spread in almost the entire non-Islamic countries; be it USA, UK, India, Germany and France etc. with more everyday adding up to the list.
But first, the question that arises is ‘Is islamophobia a real problem?’ well the answer to this can be very easily seen in any of the newspaper’s headline. In every part of the world, we can see the sufferings of the innocent Muslim victims due to this ever rising fear of Islam religion. An American writer Bruce Bawer’s book ‘Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom’ which is focused on the 9/11 terrorist attack portrays Islamophobia in the darkest possible color. President Donald Trump’s constant tweets which seems to be promoting the anti-Muslim sentiments. A research by New America Foundation and American Muslim Institution disclosed a high level of distrust of US towards Muslims, showing that every two out of five Americans believe that Islam is conflicting with the US values.
In the European countries Muslims, Islamic practices, their religious sites like mosques or community gathering centers are assumed to be intrinsically vicious, violent and to some extent irreconcilable to the Europeans’ way of life. In France, Muslim men and women can’t dress up according to their religion because there, tying a head scarf or wearing burkha or in any way, being visibly Muslim is portrayed as going in against of the French secular values. Writer and critic Pankaj Mishra’s polemical article ‘The Guardian’ apprises Europe’s 53 million Muslim population to be a ‘demographic time bomb’. It says Europe need to tackle the situation wisely if it does not want to end up as ‘Eurabia’.
In India the never ending Hindu-Muslim cold war is in its worst possible stage. Despite being India’s largest religious minority the community face tremendous violence especially post the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992. With sudden plunge in the cases of mob lynching in which maximum of the victims were fellow Muslims. Hatred and fear in heart of Indians against Islamic religion is at its peak due to the incident of Tabliqi Jamad which is now assumed to be a well-through-out for spreading corona virus amongst Indian. So, coronavirus have already exacerbated Islamophobia in the Indian peninsula.
The next question that arises is ‘what cause Islamophobia?’ The most prior reason of fear and hatred against Muslims is terrorism. If we look into the data released by CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) according to which there have been 70,767 terrorist attacks between the periods of 2011 to 2016 across the globe. Of which 60,320 that makes up 85% of the total global terrorist attack took place in the Islamic countries. So, the mythology that terrorists harm just believer of other religions looks defying here. In fact most of their victims belong to their own community. But terrorism is not the only reason behind the phobia because in US after the 9/11 the worst terrorist attack the anti-Muslim sentiment in reality went down.
Islamic Phobia is just not the outcome of bad deeds done by a few wicked Muslims. Mainly Islamophobia is embedded in audience’s mind by the political leaders and Media. Islamophobia is used as an important tool to manipulate the voters, create hatred in their heart against each other and deviate them from the real issues like health care facility, quality education, and employment etc. other than this the way in which media shows data also influences people till large extent.
In all this hatred against Muslim community there is still some ray of hope that is trying to offer olive’s branch in this fragile situation. All Party Parliament group of UK in 2018 in favor of the British Muslims stated “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness,” and invited all the other parties to adopt the definition.
With the Inter-faith project in Germany highlighting the love and compatibility between the Muslims and non-Muslims in the country. Tuffix comic by German artist depicting the role of Muslims in our society. 2017 British film Freesia foregrounding the contribution of Muslims in the society and problems faced by them due to Islamophobia.
This is the time to show our solidarity and love as said by Thomas Paine “persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law”. Because above all the religions there lies one most supreme religion that is religion of Humanity of which we all are a part.