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Islamophobia

Islamophobia In France

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An excessive worry, hatred, and enmity toward Islam and Muslims are preserved by negative stereotypes. Resulting in prejudice, discernment, and the marginalization and isolation of Muslims from political, social, and civic life. Islamophobia existed in premise before the so-called terrorist onslaughts of September 11, 2001, but it rose in frequency and notoriety through the past decade. Where Islamophobia in France carries singular political importance since France has the most extended proportion of Muslims in the Western world. Essentially due to the migration from Maghrebi, West African, and Middle Eastern countries.

According to a choice poll, 74% of Muslims in France acknowledge that there is a struggle between living in devotion to one’s religion and living in western society. The fear of the French of the reinforcement of cultural varieties hid the wish of many Muslims to merge.

The main reason for Islamophobia :

Islamophobia is one of the most harmful problems that beset Muslims within the West. This phenomenon has several adverse consequences on public integrity. It’s clear that the West has tried since the past to make a particular stereotype of the Arab Muslims. And for years, the Western media, with the terrifying impact it possesses on the souls and thoughts, has been carving out a largely negative perception of Islam. It presented Islam because the religion that represents terrorism and extremism, and this, in turn, contributed to making hotbeds of hostility and fright of Islam or “Islamophobia.”

The Hijab banning mystery for young girls :

Banning the Hijab in France, as the French government considers they’re doing an honest thing. They consider that they’re saving hijabi girls from allowing anyone forcing them doing something they don’t need to. And that’s strangely admirable, except for several young girls, wearing a hijab may be a choice. It’s admirable that they’re trying to fight for young women’s rights, but this isn’t the thanks to set about it. It’s incredibly short-sighted, to notice the smallest amount.

Truly, the total idea goes beyond this weird obsession with French nationalism. It really feels quite white savior-y, and that’s something that’s significant to acknowledge. The French government is actually saying that they know what’s best. And young Hijabi girls got to be told what’s secure for them to try and do. The govt is simply trying to save lots of them from themselves. And the way within the world can that be wrong?

Is banning Hijab a good choice ?

Where the state tells you that you just can’t follow all the parts of your religion. “There may be a true infantilization of Islamic women. We sleep in a community where women wearing the hijab are restricted from working. Restricted from doing sports, from singing on a television program, and from accompanying children on a school outing” French-Tunisian fashion contributor, Taqwa Bint Ali told Vogue Arabia.

“All these polemics and laws that have a desire to ‘liberate’ women push these women to stay home. It’s quite ironic when the clichés perceive us as women who don’t leave the house and don’t work due to male authority. When in reality; it’s the govt that wishes to erase us from society.” Taqwa added.

I don’t experience people who can’t see that this may do active harm or wrong. A hijab ban won’t save anyone — it’ll make young Muslim women withdraw extra into the depths of society. By telling them they don’t have the freedom to follow their religion within the way they see fit, the French government is telling them they don’t matter. Which they’re going to never be a valid part of French society.

The best ways to tackle this phenomenon :

Perhaps one of the most effective ways to stop the phenomenon of Islamophobia is to extend the efforts to show the actuality image of Islam. And that’s by reviving the civilized aspects of that religion, highlighting its bright dimensions, and presenting them to the planet. Additionally, there’s an urgent need to show the fact of Islam. Which is signified entirely on moderation not on extremism and terrorism as claimed.

At the regular time, there’s a desire for communicating, through the media. Therefore, the recent communication methods, in handling that event and correct misconceptions by empowering and stimulating the ways of civilized dialogue with the West. Besides, Muslims within the West must combine into the societies and bear in mind that even as they want duties, they want rights too. So they must command their rights and not condone the racial reactions or hate crimes to which they face. Rather, they want to complain through the possible legal processes and humanistic rights associations.

A recent Australian Islamophobia study

In this regard, the foremost Islamophobia study, finds non-Muslims living in Muslim areas were less Islamophobic than the overall populations of Sydney and Melbourne, scoring 2.31 compared to 2.80. This adds evidence to the “contract theory”, which says that sometimes, but not always, contact between people of different backgrounds decreases inter-group prejudice. Further, this study proposes a very powerful way to combat Islamophobia. Which is to have more Muslims among the non-Muslims and to know extra about their religion and way of life. So living side-by-side and communicating with Muslims might be an antidote to Islamophobia.

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The Scope of inter-religious pluralism within Islam

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Even though pluralism is a loaded term, its generic meaning suggests a phenomenon of peaceful coexistence between entities of diverse cultural, religious, and political inclinations. It is important to remember that pluralism does not mean the elimination of difference, nor does the word “tolerance” do justice to its intended purpose. Pluralism is not merely tolerating the other but engaging with the beliefs of others with peaceful dialogue and action. The scope of inter-religious puralism within Islam proposes this kind of pluralism.

Also, read Islamic Democracy: Is Democracy Compatible with Islam?

What does Pluralism mean in Islam?

Looking at the subjective meaning of pluralism within the ambit of Islam, the proponents of various Islamic discourses have proposed that pluralism is a pronounced feature of Islam. Many Muslim intellectuals claim that pluralism is central to the fundamental essence of Islam. A convincing case can be made for the presence of a compelling pluralistic ethos within the Islamic scriptures.

In his essay, Reformist Islam in Comparative Perspective, Mehran Kamrava claims that the rise in the level of religiosity amongst Muslims has given rise to other forms of Islam. One of which according to him is “likely to have the most resonating consequences for Islamic jurisprudence in both the near and the distant future” and calls it “intellectual Islam”. He claims that it is through this form of Islam that a Muslim reformist discourse is introduced. Which has produced significant work to locate the place of inter-religious pluralism in Islam. He further derives some themes out of the reformist discourse, very important with their reference to pluralism in Islam:

“First is a deep and abiding conviction in Islam as faith and a system of belief. In its current manifestation, the discourse of reformist Muslim intellectuals does not seek to instrumentalize Islam for purposes of achieving modernity in a manner palatable to the masses at large. Islam is not a means to an end; it is an end in itself. It simply needs to be re-thought and reformulated. The reformists’ reliance on and endless references to the Qur’an bespeaks of the text’s cultural centrality to them.”.

Such display of absolute faith by Muslim reformists whilst having reformist inclinations bespeak of their balanced position. A flexible modern vision can develop interfaith dialogue. The abiding conviction to Islam earns a sense of authenticity for their thought process in the eyes of fellow Muslims.

Read here, Islamophobia: Impacts on Muslim Women

What is Democratic Pluralism?

The next theme of the reformist discourse is “democratic pluralism”: “Pluralism, the reformist discourse’s proponents maintain, is a salient feature of the spirit of the Qur’an and the hadith.” (Kamrava )

To support his claim he cites another Muslim intellectual Abdulaziz Sachedina who quotes:

The challenge for Muslims today, as ever, is to tap the tradition of Koranic pluralism to develop a culture of restoration, of just intrareligious and interreligious relationships in a world of cultural and religious diversity. Without restoring the principle of coexistence, Muslims will not be able to recapture the spirit of early civil society under the Prophet.

In the globalized world, the facets of modernity like its political model of the nation-state have become a governing principle for all ethnic, cultural, and religious pluralism. This means the only larger identity governing the religious identity of the people is that of the nation-state. In the religiously pluralistic society of today, people may have different identities, but the model of the nation-state promises all of them the same status. People might identify with different religious inclinations, but the state identifies them as either citizens or residents of the state. This is exactly the kind of challenge that Sachedina talks about when he implores Muslims to revive the tradition of pluralism that is central to the Islamic texts for peaceful coexistence in the globalized world.

Also, read Why should dignified Muslims never normalize with Israel?

The Case of Muslims living as a minority

If Muslims live in a minority in a nation-state that runs on one of the political models of modernity like democracy or secularism, then for the sake of the welfare of Muslims they need to fulfill the duties that the nation-state demands from them. Andrew March talks about the jurisprudence of Muslim minorities also called Fiqh al-aqalliyyat al-muslima in Arabic:

Fiqh alaqalliyyat tends to be a discourse where departures from traditional Islamic commitments are not seen as desirable, and certainly not goals in and of themselves, but where creative rethinking often occurs in subtle and pragmatic guises. It is thus an important object of study for those interested in the ideal moral encounter between a public religion like Islam and modern/post-modern secularism. (March 6).

Important questions of interest toward non-Islamic institutions have been addressed from within internal Islamic discourses that advocate for a positive Muslim attitude concerning the issue of pluralism.

Read here, How Practical is the Secular Democracy of India? Curbing of Religious Freedom in Kashmir

Islam’s relation with other Faiths

The third theme within the reformist Islamic discourse is “Islam’s relations with other great faiths”. An important aspect central to the Muslim understanding of pluralism is the conception that god’s message in the Quran is universal and that the revelation was made through more than just one prophet, which means that the revelations had multiple manifestations. The basic underpinning for this idea can be seen in the Quran which mentions the monotheistic traditions of Judaism and Christianity. Far from denying the Quran in fact validates that Torah and Bible were predecessor scriptures affirming that their message has come from the same god. Many Quranic verses echo the sentiments which envisage a world where diversified people are united by their pious intentions and mutual devotion to God.

Also, read Islam in 2075: World’s Largest Religion!?

Some Important Milestones in the Islamic History

Apart from the theoretical contributions to promote Islamic pluralism, efficient action has also been taken within the Muslim discourse on a practical level to perpetuate inter-faith harmony.

One such historic step was the “1981 adoption of the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights, whose article XIII states: Every person has the right to freedom of conscience and worship in accordance with his religious beliefs.”.

Apart from this, another significant step was taken in 1990 when the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam was adopted, Article 1(a) of which states:

“All human beings form one family whose members are united by submission to God and descent from Adam. All men are equal in terms of basic human dignity and basic obligations and responsibilities, without any discrimination on the grounds of race, color, language, sex, religious belief, political affiliation, social status or other considerations. True faith is the guarantee for enhancing such dignity along the path to human perfection.”

Read here, Is This the Ultimate Solution to Rising Islamophobia in India?

Islamic Tradition of Peaceful Coexistence

The Quran recognizes fundamental rights for all humankind whether Muslims or non-Muslims and explicitly forbids compulsion in faith. The Islamic texts also provide a practical model of implementing pluralistic ideals which have greatly affected the treatment of non-Muslims in Muslim lands. Contrary to the Islamophobic stereotypes, Islam not only acknowledges pluralism, but it also goes beyond the reductive concepts of tolerance and intolerance to endorse and encourages a tradition of peaceful coexistence.

Also, read Islamophobia: Impacts on Muslim Women

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How Practical is the Secular Democracy of India? Curbing of Religious Freedom in Kashmir

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In Kashmir, a Closed Mosque Belies India’s Religious Freedom

Even while a right-wing Hindu nationalist government is ruling India for the past 8 years now, India still professes to be a secular democracy. The constitutional grounds for India’s secularism have been carefully accommodating religious freedom. However, the past 8 years have been witnessing a shrinking of sorts for the religious freedom of Muslims. The Indian government seems to be particularly adamant about curbing the religious freedom of Kashmiri Muslims.

In 2022, the Indian authorities arrested prominent religious clerics across Kashmir under PSA (Public Safety Act). After that, the Indian government banned schools run by FAT (Falah-e-Aam Trust ). FAT is an affiliate of the banned Islamist organization Jama’at-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir (Jama’at). Another incident followed with the circulation of a video of Kashmiri students. The video showed students being forced to chant Hindu hymns sparked controversy over social media. However, these are not isolated incidents that reveal the curbing of religious freedom in Kashmir.  

Read here, The BJP Enforcing Patriotism By Instilling Fear- “Har Ghar Tiranga” Campaign in Kashmir and Other Schemes

Curbing Religious Freedom in Muharram

Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar is one of the holiest months for Shite Muslims worldwide. During this month, Shia mourners gather together to hold a procession. They recite eulogies, and chant slogans to mourn the martyrdom of the Prophet’s grandson Hussain.

However, since 1989, the Indian government has prohibited some of the major Muharram processions in Kashmir. The government issues an order each year prohibiting Muharram processions due to “security reasons”. Kashmiris claim that the Indian state has been curbing their religious rights on the pretext of “security concerns”. Kashmiri Muslims have a history of raising their voices against the curbing of their religious rights by the Indian government. Nonetheless, this history of resistance against religious inequality has always been violent for the Kashmiris. Every year, Shia mourners face police thrashings, beatings, and arrests while trying to take out Muharram processions.

Since the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, the police arrested 15 Shia mourners. They also arrested a well-known preacher named Manzoor Ahmed Malik. The police charged them under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act). According to the police, they allegedly chanted free Kashmir Slogans during Muharram processions.

While talking to the Wire, Arshid Ahmad, a Shia mourner told The Wire “In contemporary times, the ‘step-motherly’ treatment of Muslims is unacceptable and the government should reconsider the decision on Muharram bans. This minority bears the brunt of the repression, even though other religious pilgrimages are permitted with full security and pomp,”.

“We are protesting and condemning this ban but no one is listening to us. If the government can allow other religions to perform their religious rites, why ban the Muharram procession?” Muzzafar, another mourner asked.

Most mourners who talked with the media brought up the Amarnath Yatra, a 40-day pilgrimage. They questioned why the government couldn’t guarantee protection for the Muharram parade for one day.

Also, read Lawlessness in Police Custody- Custodial Killings in Kashmir

Janmashtami Procession held by Kashmiri Pandits Amid Police and Army Security

Days after Muharram, Kashmiri pandits staged processions throughout Srinagar to celebrate the birth of the Hindu god Krishna. The government allowed Hindu devotees to take out the religious procession and provided them with tight police and army security.  

Amid massive spectacle and show, the government supervised and safeguarded the religious procession. National news outlets in India were hailing this incident as “signifying a perceptible improvement in the situation in the strife-ridden Valley”. However, none of the Indian media called out the hypocrisy of the Indian government that has been curbing the religious freedom in Kashmir for Muslims for decades.

Read here, Kashmiri Pandits Face Targeted Killings

The Grand Mosque in Kashmir Closed For Friday Prayers For Three Years

The Jamia Masjid or the grand mosque in the heart of Srinagar city is a 600-year-old that has been cherished and venerated by Kashmiris for centuries and is of historic and religious significance. On important religious occasions throughout the year, thousands of Muslim worshippers have been visiting the grand mosque. Friday is considered the holy day of the week for Muslims and congregational prayers are of utmost importance. Yet, Kashmiris haven’t been allowed to offer prayers in Jamia Masjid for three consecutive years now.

Additionally, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Hurriyat leader, and the mosque’s chief preacher has been kept under constant house arrest and is not permitted to give Friday sermons. Recently, the Lieutenant Governor of Kashmir Manoj Sinha disputed reports of Mirwaiz being under house arrest, yet a few days later, the Hurriyat leader was denied permission to deliver the Friday sermon at Jamia Masjid. In attempts to deny the claim of “prolonged closure, of the Jamia Masjid” the LG declared that it had only been in effect on three Fridays this year. However, the mosque’s administration made it explicit that this year, prayers have been prohibited for 14 Fridays so far by the enforced presence of the CRPF and J&K Police.   

To Kashmiris, the prolonged closure of the Jamia masjid serves as a bitter reminder of their helplessness. And the attempts of psychological warfare. This is yet another incident that speaks of the curbing of religious freedom in Kashmir.

Read more here, India Bans Falah-e-Aam Trust (FAT) schools in Kashmir

Religious Freedom Vanishing From The Largest Democracy In The World

India prides itself internationally as the world’s largest democracy. According to the Indian constitution, the government “will not discriminate, patronize, or meddle in the exercise of any religion.” Its constitution guarantees religious freedom, which entails that individuals should be able to adhere to and freely practice their religious views. However, the religious freedom and claims of secularism mentioned in the Indian Constitution are utterly absent when it comes to Muslims and particularly when it comes to Kashmir.

Read here, The Case Of The Gyanvapi Mosque Explained

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Hindutva Activists Call for Economic Boycott of Muslims

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Hindutva Activists Call for economic boycott of Muslims

Days before the Hindu festival Diwali, Twitter is full of anti-Muslim hatred. One of the trending hashtags on Twitter is “Halal Free Diwali”. It seems like a well-orchestrated campaign against businesses owned by Muslims or catering to Muslims. Through this social media campaign, Hindutva activists and supporters are calling for the boycott of Halal-certified products. Some of them allege that Muslims are creating a parallel economy that is used for Jihad. Some people have even gone a step ahead and called it “economic Jihad”.

Economic Boycott of Muslims is not New

The economic boycott of Muslims on this Diwali is not something new. It has been a constant for several festivals now.

Earlier this year, Temples in Karnataka prohibited Muslims from doing trade during festivals. This happened in the same locality where the Hijab row had erupted.

Hindutva activists alleged that Muslims had dominated the trade. They said that Muslims were doing “injustice” by dominating the businesses and keeping Hindus out. The Hindutva supporters also argued that while Muslims are involved in some unpleasant incidents but also want to reap the benefits of trade during Hindu festivals.

The boycott calls escalated later. Some Hindutva organizations also called for a boycott of Muslim cab and tour operators.

Boycott of Companies Owned by Muslims

Last year, some Hindutva miscreants launched a campaign of misinformation and fake propaganda against iD Fresh Foods, a company owned by a Muslim businessman. Common masses were misled through WhatsApp forwards that the products of the company contain animal extracts. It was a concerted attack to hurt the company’s reputation. Further, some people also alleged that the company only employed Muslims.

Even though these allegations were refuted by the company, nothing could undo the harm that the company suffered. Further, the government did nothing to punish the culprits who defamed the company.

Disempowering Muslims

Muslims in India are a minority. They have a very low literacy rate. They do not have access to resources. As a result, most Muslims are involved in trading rather than the government sector.

When a particular community boycotts Muslim shopkeepers, the Muslims have no choice but to shut down their shops. The only way out for these shopkeepers is to operate in Muslim-majority areas. However, since most Muslims are involved in the trading sector, how many traders can the Muslim community sustain?

Also Read: 2 Billion Muslims must send a Stern warning to India’s Nazi-like government to stop its anti-Islam discourse

Distortion of History

Hindutva activists and supporters allege that Muslims have always dominated Hindus. They accuse Muslims of perpetrating injustice on them in the past. Hence, they claim it is payback time.

It is a typical strategy that precedes genocide. The “other” are demonized. Their history is distorted. They are accused of being dirty. Further, they are also accused of things like dominating the economy or stealing jobs. 

Nothing can be farther from the truth. Muslims in India are disempowered. They are underrepresented in all the public sectors job.  The representation of Muslims in the formal sector of the economy is also low.

The condition of Muslims in India and their power can be gauged from the fact that they make up almost 15% of India’s population, but Muslim representatives constitute only 5% of the Indian parliament’s total strength.

It is the political power that determines the power of a particular community. Muslims do not even have political power proportionate to their population. The truth is that Indian Muslims are marginalized and excluded.

India’s Economic Policy and Economic Boycott of Muslims

Ever since coming to power in 2014, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched many schemes to make India’s economy grow faster. Further, Modi wants India to become a manufacturing hub.

While these schemes and plans are ambitious, Modi’s supporters are calling for the economic disempowerment of 15% of India’s population.

Also Read: Why Is Indian PM Modi’s Silent About Attacks Against Muslims?

Muslim Countries and the Indian Economy

A significant proportion of India’s population works in Gulf countries. They send remittances back home, contributing to India’s foreign exchange. Further, Indian businesses have a ubiquitous presence in Gulf countries. They do a lot of business there.

Muslim-majority countries contribute to India’s economy without discrimination. In fact, Gulf countries give preference to Indians rather than Pakistani Muslims when it comes to business and employment.

However, back home, Indians are marginalizing Muslims. Hindutva supporters are calling out Muslims because of their religion.

It is rather ironic that Hindutva supporters think it is fine for them to find employment and use profits from business proceedings in Gulf countries but at the same time accuse Indian Muslims of economic and employment Jihad back home.

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