Phobia is defined as the “irrational or exaggerated fear or dislike of a specific thing or group”. So Islamophobia is defined as the “irrational or exaggerated fear or dislike of Islam”.
Islam is a religion and the people which follow it is called Muslims. Islamophobia is when Muslims are the victim of attack just because of their religion. Excessive terror and worry often lead to act of discrimination against Muslim. Therefore Islamophobia is the one of the major challenges faced by the Muslim Community now a day. This phenomenon is very strongly expressed in global and regional politics which threat the relationship between the Islam and western countries.
In this era Muslim are the one who are being the target most of time. If anything in this world bad happened they just put the blame on the Muslim. After some of the historical events in which the attacker claimed to be Muslim but according to Islam he is not. After those of incidents Islamophobia spread rapidly. Islam is a religion of peace. Islam teaches us to be polite and generous. Some people who hate Islam do propaganda against Islam. They misguide the non-Muslim about Islam. Muslim youth is adversely affected by Islamophobia. It ruined their social life and lead to the many act of discrimination. It result in the construction of the Anti-Muslim. It is quite clear that the misconception associated with Islam can lead to the self-exclusion and exclusion, with a noticeable effect on self esteem and social practices.
Causes of the Islamophobia
The act of Islamophobia takes place at both the individual and the institutional level and can take up many forms. Since 11 September 2001 Muslim across the world have had to endure the increasingly animosity from the West. The 9/11 terrorist attack in the U.S is the birth of Islamophobia in the West. The main reason behind Islamophobia is as follow:
- Political figure
Terrorism is defined as the unlawful use of violence and threats, especially against civilians in the persuade of political aim. Terrorism is the one of the major cause of Islamophobia. After the 9/11 terrorist attack in the U.S ,the western people connect it with Islam. Many polls carried out after the attack found that there was widespread negative attitude toward Muslims. International media is depicting a medicated image of Islam to the world.
In the White Washington Post, Philip Bump’s writes that the term “terrorism” has become so central with Muslim is that associating it with the white people dismantle the entire lexicography of America (and Israel) political culture.
Muslims are not terrorists and Islam does not teach us to kill people. In the Quran Allah Almighty clearly mention that “Whoever kills a person…it shall be as he had killed all the mankind”. Islamophobia becomes the biggest challenge faced by the Muslim community. The term “Islamic Terrorism” can be better understood as an emotionally depoliticizing term which aim to make the public think less and fear more. Without having any evidence behind the terrorist attack they put all the blame on the Muslims without doing any investigation.
Racism is the practice of discrimination against people on the basis of race, national or ethnic background. Many scholars consider Islamophobia as a type of racism. A 2007 article in journal of sociology describes islamophobia as anti-Muslim racism and a continuation of anti-Asia, anti-Truks and anti-Arab racism. The ECRI defines Islamophobia as ‘the fear of or prejudiced viewpoint towards Islam, Muslims and matters pertaining to them’.
.Islamophobia is a violation of human rights and a threat to social cohesion. Muslim often faced discrimination in America. Americans are overwhelmed by hateful media, demonizing all of Muslims because of the actions of few. In American society there is a legacy of racist history against anything that is not WASP (white Anglo-Saxon Protestant), not only against Muslims. The United state has never been the religiously homogenous. Here is one of incident that occur in United State which show the rascim. After professing the Muslim faith, a Muslim cab driver has been brutally assaulted by the New York resident.(Siegel,2010.p1)
Many Americas misinterpret Islam, and their confusion has become like myths that fuel Islamophobia. One of these stereotypes is Jihad. Jihad is a fight or Islamic Holy war against enemies of Islam.
The President of America Donald Trump expressed this stereotype when he said:
“Our country can’t be the victim of horrendous attacks by the people that believe only in the Jihad, and have no sense of reason and respect for human life”.
The fact is that Jihad is the word of Arabic language that means struggle, determination, or resisting. Holy Quran stipulate one condition for violet jihad when it said: “Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you, but don’t assault. Allah does not like the assaulters”. Muslims do Jihad to defend, not to attack.
Some media in Europe have contributed to coverage focused on Prejudice and used the action of Islamists to stigmatize Muslim population. It is used as the larger platform of globalization to spread hatred, prejudices and racism against Islam and Muslims. The mass media usually describe Muslim as extremist. They call every crime committed by Muslim a “terriosm” but they don’t call the same crime “terrorism” if it is committed by the non-Muslim.
- According to the MediaTenor survey, 90% of Muslim and Islam news media is negative.
- The 416Lab report found that, in the past 25 year, the new York time has depicted the Muslim and Islam more negatively than they have done with cancer and cocaine.
Islamophobia is also a tool of popular coercion for generating support for the catastrophic wars and votes. They have been spreading Islamophobia and causing problem with intensive remarks such as:
- U.S Politician John R. Bennett said: “Their (Muslim) goal is destruction of western civilization from within. This (Islam) is a cancer to our nation that need to be cut out.
- New York Politician Peter King said: 85% of the mosque is controlled by Islamic extremists and that Islam is a political system, not a religion thus not protected by the first Amendment.
- The U.S President Donald Trump said: “Muslims represent an extraordinary influx of hatred and danger coming into our country”.
This can lead to the spikes in Islamophobia incidents as politician exacerbate and promote toxic anti-Muslim and anti-Islam discrimination.
Effects of Islamophobia:
The effect of Islamophobia is having a much darker impact on Muslim communities. Hating Muslim and Islam has become a common phenomenon in the Europe. Because of Islamophobia Muslims are faced with unequal opportunities. Islamophobia has a adverse effect on the Muslim life. Every day in Europe Muslim faced discrimination and racism. Let us consider the following example:
Attacking On Mosque
US-August 2016: A New York Imam and his associate are shot and killed on a busy street near their mosque in Queens. Police say it was a hate crime.
Canada-January 2017: Alexandre Bissonnettte 27 kills six Muslims and injures dozens of other ian an attack at a Quebec City Mosque during evening prayers.
New Zealand-March 2019: 24 year old Australian allegedly kills 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch. A single shooter with multiple weapon opened fire on people.
Targeting Muslim Students
Discriminations and bullying targeting Muslim students is a growing problem. Anti-Muslim bias and behavior demonize Muslim student academically and deprive them of the opportunity to develop the skills and self-confidence necessary for success. Few example is mention as follow:
- Six Muslim students at Queen University were attack by four men. One of the students suffered minor physical injuries.
- In Canada, a Muslim teenager was beaten in a “race-related” attack.
- Muslim schoolgirls were told to leave their careers at the Perth Convention and Exhibition center, after they said their “Muslim clothes” were make threats.
- A Muslim girl who was in the 6th grade also suffered from Islamophobia as an attacker cut her hijab with scissor.
These action create fear and divison among people, resulting in hatred. The more fear arises; the more hatred grows and becomes violence.
The case of Hijab
Anti-Muslims polices target the Hjab as a symbol of Islam. The specific government that is adopting the ban on Hijab reflects a deep-seated hostility towards Islam. In Germany, the Hijab ban is scheduled to come into force in August 2006. Muslim women faced number of attack on wearing Hijab. Muslim women are suffering the brunt of hate. Muslim women who wear the Hijab are most at risk. Here are few example of targeting the Muslim woman:
- In Canada, a 17 year old girl was punched in the nose that left her bleeding and her headscarf was pulled off.
- In France, a man attacked a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf with a box cutter after calling her the terrorist.
- In England, a 13 year old Muslim girl was burned and robbed by the three teenagers who shouted out anti-Muslim racists words.
- In U.S, two Muslim women were attacked while they were walking and pushing their children into a stroller. The accuser said: “This is the United State of America; you are not supposed to be different from us”.
Ways to Fight Islamophobia
Islamophobia is at once deeply personal issue for Muslim. Now it’s time for Muslims to fight for their rights and face racism with bravery and erudite. Muslims are well known for their knowledgeability and sensible way to tackles the things in every era.
There are some ways to fight Islamophobia which are as following:
- Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) bear all the hardship with patience. He (PBUH) was subjected to horrible insult and hate crime in his lifetime. He remained firm, patient and tolerant in the face of this Islamophobia. We must follow his path. We need to model the same behavior durning the harsh circumstances. Allah (SWT) said: “Good and Evil deeds are not alike. Requite evil with good, and he who is your enemy will become your dearest friend.But none will attain this slave those who endure with fortitude and are gently favored by God”.
- We should start using the word Islamophobia to describe any kind of hate crime or speech against Islam and Muslim. Doing this will make the term uniform and ultimately, the accepted part of English language the same as the term “Anti-semitism”
- If any Muslim is involved in interfaith work. He should bring up the topic of islamophobia in his meeting. Doing this will help in address and condemn it.
- We should raise a generation who have the Knowledge of Islam. The person who will represent Islam need to know the Islam widely.
- We should rebuild those neighborly relations. We should help them and show generosity in harsh circumstances. Our Prophet (PBUH) said: “Jibril kept recommending treating neighbors with kindness until I thought he would assign a share of inheritance to the neighbors” (Bukhari and Muslim)
- We should faced this challenge strongly and with unity. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was clear and forthright in challenging all kind of injustice. We should not ignore instances of prejudice and discrimination. Allah (SWT) says in Quran: “And those who, when tyranny strikes them, they defend themselves”.
Islamophobia itself is not new. Despite the fact that anti-Muslims and anti-Islamic exist today, they are many way to fight this hatred through communication, social media, community meeting, etc. We need to take a firm stand for ourselves. We must make the rebuilt of trust among people of different faith and cultures our highest priority. We all the Muslims should read and understand Quran so that we can help other in understanding Islam. We should faced this challenge bravely. Otherwise, discrimination will continue to tarnish many innocent lives and distrust may make it impossible to move forward with our ambitious agenda of peace and development.