Throughout this essay, I will be looking at the idea of Islamophobia which is the ‘Dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.’ (Oxford Dictionaries | English, 2018) as well as the effect it has had on the western society through the past years. As you may well know Islamophobia has been an increasing problem in this Century and have many people who have helped in the growth of Islamophobia and most of this has occurred in the 21st Century. In this essay I will look at many various viewpoints and use credible resources to do so, as well as people who have had first hand experience with Islamophobic attacks against them. By the time I have completed this essay I hope to have a comprehensive review of the causes of this increase and to see if there is a manageable as well as a realistic way to decrease the rise of Islamophobia in the near future.
To start with most, one of the many reasons Islamophobia spreads can be caused by certain terror attacks, for example the September 11ᵗʰ attacks or else known as 9/11 ‘Respondents indicate that following September 11th, 2001, levels of implicit or indirect discrimination rose by 82.6% and experiences of overt discrimination by 76.3%’(Sheridan, 2006), Sheridan goes on to say that this ‘ demonstrates that major world events may affect not only stereotypes of minority groups but also prejudice towards minorities’(Sheridan, 2006), since then have been more terrorist attacks for example the Boston Marathon on the 15th of April 2003 but the most of the violence followed after the 2017 Manchester attack where there was a ‘ 505% rise in Islamophobic incidents’, this is within Manchester,with ‘224 reports of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the month after the attack compared with 37 in the same period in 2016’. Looking at these statistics, there is evidence that see that there are violent actions being taken place by extremists ‘A person who holds extreme political or religious views, especially one who advocates illegal, violent, or other extreme action’(Oxford Dictionaries | English, 2018) have given a bad reputation to Islam and this has caused a significant rise of discriminatory attacks against people of the Islam religion. On the other hand, you could agree that this increase would be expected as terrorism is a matter that shouldn’t be taken lightly, with that taken into zconsideration these figures are still very large, as well as the fact that these people had nothing to do with the attacks in the first place they merely just follow a religion which has been in the spotlight due to extremist. The statistics used in my first example are only from a survey of 222 muslims which is not a very large choice but in the second example these statistics came from Greater Manchester Police which have a lot more credibility bearing this in mind there still has been a rise of Islamophobic attacks through the past years.
The media also has a huge influence on public opinion across the world, with millions of viewers from over 195 countries tune in to either listen, read or watch broadcasts to keep up with current affairs in economics or just in general. Without thought people are unknowingly are having the opinions swayed by the media’s own opinion on a variety of issues ranging from politics to sports players as well as Islam which in recent years has only been spoken in a negative way. An article written by Miqdaad Versi particularly amplifies the the extent of the issue, with ‘ less than 0.5 percent of journalist in the UK are muslim’ (The Independent, 2018) and recent research by the University of Cambridge has shown that mainstream media reporting about Muslim communities is contributing to an atmosphere of rising hostility towards Muslims in Britain’ (The Independent, 2018), it could be said this source could be unreliable as the writer is a Muslim but the Independent is one of the most reliable and respected newspapers in England. The lack of Muslims journalist in my view is quite disturbing as this evidence shows that the view shown on Islam is very one sided and has a very strong pessimistic view of Islam towards the general public now showing the full story. On the other hand articles written by other ethnicities might be disregarded by the traditional english man as they would rather read the view of someone who has the same background as them.
However, the media does not always have to be the catalyst for Islamophobia spread and can be used to show the fear of a Muslim person trying to live in the Western Society, as well as showing the other majority of Muslim people as totally normal. ‘ Muslims have been shot and killed, execution style, in their living rooms and outside of their mosques, They have been fatally stabbed on their way home. They have been beaten in their stores, in their school and on the streets’, (Daniel Burke, 2018) This extract from CNN’s religion director Daniel Burke, shows the true reality of what happens to law abiding Muslim citizens who have nothing to with the actual terrorist attacks this article truly shows what islamophobia has done to Muslim people and what it has done to the religion. Despite this, many people still see the Islam religion as a threat to the western society as well as their families and own well being. Al Jazeera have an article about Islamophobia in the US and particularly centralise the blame on the American government. ‘George W Bush’s’ so called ‘crusade’ against what he called the ‘ axis of evil’ fuelled suspicion of the Middle East of a whole,’ this further amplifies this view, and from the sarcastic tone, it is easy to say that the Islamic journalist Abdullah Elshamy has been affected by the rise in Islamophobia.
I can see with evidence see that the general view of Islamophobia in the majority of sources I have examined is that it is wrong and is caused by the misinterpretation through the media. However there seems to be a majority of people who think they have a justifiable reason to be fearful of Islam and its followers, Particularly in countries where terrorist attacks have predominantly have happened such as America, France and England as well as the rest of the western society. People who share this view argue that rather than claiming Islamophobia tarnished the reputation of Islam, it in fact exposes the religion for what it is. For example many western people Islam is ‘an ideology posing as a religion’(HuffPost UK, 2018) to ‘ overthrow way of life and replace it with the Sharia Law’(HuffPost UK, 2018) this emphasises yet again that much of American hierarchy have Islamophobic connotations to there viewpoints, suggesting one of the central reasons as to why Islamophobia is gradually increasing over the last few decades within in the nations. Slightly different to this, via youtube I watched a clip which, despite not perhaps consisting of the credentials in the study of Islamophobia, explained very clearly why for certain denominations, it's completely rational to have a fear of Islam. The video explains how Ahmadiyya muslims ‘openly advocate for world peace ’,(YouTube, 2018) and do not take the quotation as entirely literal, whereas Wahhabi muslims are much more extreme, with this denomination of muslims tending to be the people who perform acts of terrorism around the world vuia groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. This video clip overall does not have a general viewpoint on Islam, however i can see that the general point is that Islamophobia has affected the view of Islam a considerable amount, but it is justified for certain denominations. Organisations with these type of videos, tend to be supported by free will and liberalist societies of people and as well as being a youtube video has a lack of credibility as well as the name of the channel being ‘rebel media’, however these ideas are just a concept and should not be taken seriously.
To conclude, my opinion on the question; ‘How and What has caused the increase in Islamophobia in Western Society and how has this changed the view on the religion?’ , is that I believe that it has certainly increased over the past 30 years, with recent terrorist attacks such as the Manchester Arena Bombing has set the media off in there massacre and onslaught of the religion, and has particularly damaged the reputation and followers as a whole. It is a problem to see that government officials have demonstrated Islamophobic connotations, however it is understandable due to the amount of recent act of violence associated to the religion. In my opinion, in order to tackle the crisis of Islamophobia in the future, it is important to make a definitive line between the extremist terroristic side of Islam and the peaceful religion in which the majority of the followers have opted in to. It is vitally important that world leaders educate their own people on this line, and gradually over time we should see a decrease in Islamophobia in the future.