Islamophobia – A pervasive global issue

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Islamophobia is the fear of Islam as a whole religion, and hatred towards Muslims. The question here that crops up is: Why this aversion towards Islam? Due to 9/11? Is it bigotry? Could it be due to the existence of Muslim population in Non-Muslim countries? All in all, Islamophobia is a very inquisitional and regressive term.

The underpinning of Islamophobia is a report called, ‘’ Islamophobia: A challenge for all of us’’   by the Runnymede Trust.  Islamophobia, as an expression was created to avoid the usage of hate words, like fear or, hatred. Under this, unfortunate underpinning of Islamophobia, Islam has been defined as a ‘’violent political ideology rather than a religion’’. In addition to this, the report also refers to Islam as of a ‘’low standard culture’’, as far as comparison with other cultures is concerned. Accolades for doing this task can’t be given to the Trust rather it deserves complete rejection; because the concept of Islamophobia has a very ‘negative connotation’ to it. In fact, this report should receive the severest kind of criticism, for thoroughly ‘disrespecting a religion’ in the name of a good deed.

Not just these ‘Foundations’ and ‘Think Tanks’, Islamophobia has garnered a wide range of views. Views mostly gracing ‘’negativity’’ have come up.  But, undoubtedly, there are neutral and, positive views being upheld, as well.

Douglas Murray, wrote for Standpoint, where he argues that the concept of Islamophobia, insults and questions each and every aspect of Islam.  Mr. Johannes Kandell, also thankfully, smells of negativity, as he sternly detests Islamophobia, by calling it a word encompassing hostility against Islam. As with each word the spectrum widens, neutrality has also taken its call. French Prime minister, Manuel Valls, has taken a safe path regarding, Islamophobia. He says: Islamophobia is used as a defence mechanism, to silence “critics” of Islam by Islam “apologists”. Secondly, he is not in favour of this phobia, as he believes that it invalidates all the criticism against any Islamic ideology. Middle path isn’t exclusive to Mr. Valls only. Academician, Chris Allen has also taken the mid – way. And, says that, Islamophobia lacks a clear definition.

Views are very individualistic. But, views can never determine greatness. Neither is greatness unique to one religion or, culture. It is cross cultural indeed. We have many Muslims who have made it ‘’big’’. The 21st century has witnessed the glory of one such honoured Muslim. And, she is: Malala Yousafzai, a teenage activist from Pakistan.  She is fighting the disturbing issue of female education. She is the youngest ever, Nobel Prize Laureate. Muhammad Yunus is the founder of Grameen Bank, and pioneer of the twin concepts of: micro credit and, micro finance. He is the recipient of the ‘’Nobel Peace Prize’’. The Nobel laureate in physics, Prof. Abdus Salam. And, ex – president of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and so on and forth, this list is endless! So, it is clear that: ‘’Not everyone in other religions is a good person nor all Muslims are bad either”.

From ‘my’ angle, Muslims are as ‘humane’ as anyone else and nobody has any right to be judgmental about them. I have many, extremely kind and welcoming friends who happen to be Muslims. They are like all of us. No special or different.

Muslims, have a birth right to be treated equally. The Charlie Hebdo Incident in France, Army Public School Peshawar incident, the Godhra incident, aftermath of Godhra Incident in India, is very regretful and reprehensible to say the least. These incidents have casted their shadows over humanity. We must work towards the removal of this shadow.

Raneem Ali, a Muslim, a friend of mine, studying in the very reputed ‘’Delhi University’’.  She is a very bright and, a competent girl. When asked by me: What is your opinion about the relation between Islam and terrorism; which the world has been constantly drawing? She says: It is the herd mentality. We are conditioned to develop such opinions based on what the popular media shows us. The unnecessary and unwarranted emphasis on the so-called religious identity of the perpetrators of terrorist incident unwittingly fuel Islamophobia, and this is very wrong for the simple reason that terrorists have no religion!

The challenges of every century are different. In that aspect, 21st century’s challenges are new too. They are meant to be fought for. How? That is our call. We should unite, and fight. Or, have a blind eye to these unaddressed issues. The issue of Islamophobia has brought unmitigated troubles, to Muslims globally. So, we need to take these issues as ‘’common man’s issues’’ and, fight them. Not for us, but for the children of today, and tomorrow. And, fulfill their dream of a better world.

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