Why is there so much hatred?
First France banned the niqab. Not far behind, the United States of America, after the presidential elections banned Muslims. People regard Muslims as a threat and Islam as a religion of terrorists. This is Islamophobia. And hate crimes against Muslims is at an all-time high. Hate crimes are unacceptable. Islamophobia is dislike, hatred, and prejudice against Islam. It has existed throughout history but peaked after the 9/11 attacks and during the recent US Presidential Elections. This has increased the risk of violence from terrorists who kill in the name of Islam (the recent attacks in UK and Paris), and from those who want to attack Muslims. Western scholars have attributed Islamophobia to the deep misunderstanding of the true nature and teachings of Islam. Daily media reports of Islamic extremists and terror attacks have made it worse. This has created a very, deep and false image of Islam across the world.
The attacks in UK and Paris highlighted the manner in which the attackers shouted praises of Allah and made ridiculous propositions about non-Muslims. This fueled both Islamophobia and hatred. Even though we find such kinds of people in every religion, Islam gets highlighted often. And the Muslims who have such extremist opinions and behavior, they fall in the minority. Majority of the victims of extremists are Muslims themselves—innocent men, women, and children. Let’s take a look at Somalia’s rebel group, Al-Shabaab. This group’s origin goes back to the late 1990s. Global jihadists play a key role in the group’s operational commands to local businessmen more inspired by the profits than the Quran. Al-Shabaab regards itself as custodians of Islam. Moreover, the group has extensively used the internet to promote their radical ideology and to celebrate their martyrs. It has bombed school buildings, killed students, children, women, and men.
- Islam is a Brotherhood, not a Nationhood; It’s a Humanitarian Philosophy, Not a Tool of Self-Destructive Fanatics
- Islam Prohibits Persecution for Blasphemy
- Terrorism and ‘Holy War’ Are Alien to Islamic Teachings
- All Victims are not Muslims but Most of the Victims are Muslims
The victims—children, young girls, and women have faced horrific abuses, forced marriages and rape and recruitment as child soldiers. ISIS (Islamic State) soon after declaring its caliphate, followed the same path. Ironically, these jihadi groups’ victim has been innocent men, women, and children—all Muslims. While such groups have been tackled positively, the Muslims have been extensively affected. They get called up in the middle of the street, or in the metro or in the restaurant for either wearing a burqa or keeping a beard—for just being a Muslim. And it is bad. In Australia majority of the incidents reported by Muslims were verbal threats, assault, and physical harassment. Most of the attacks were in crowded places and no one intervened. Muslims in Australia have also been subjected to online bullying with 320 online incidents (2017 report) being reported (individuals were targeted by name).
Countries such as England, Wales and Singapore are doing their best in upholding and promoting interfaith harmony. A group of Muslim youngsters in England has been trying to come to terms with Islamophobia. They observed that people have very little knowledge about Islam—they don’t know why Muslim men keep beards, why Muslim women wear the burqa and why the mingling of the two sexes is little to none. They are ignorant. The group concluded that if people got educated about Islam, there would be less Islamophobia and there would be less hate in general. Some Islamic groups in the US, Australia, Europe, and England are doing the same. They have created small booklets about Islam and are distributing it amongst the people. They are working towards spreading the true essence of Islam.
Politics of Fear
Political commentators and thinkers have blamed governments across the world for Islamophobia and hate crimes against Muslims. Let’s have a look at India. Since the present government came to power, hate crimes against Muslims have accelerated. Eating cow meat has been banned. Muslim men have been beaten inhumanely and even killed for alleged possession of cow meat. There have been cases of ‘love jihad’ and so on. This is all politics. The same is in the US, and the fear is surging, In India and the US, protests have brought large cities to a halt and there have been many reports of violence. India has experience spondaic. The US President, Donald Trump and a number of ministers in India’s central government are masters in fueling this fear. They invoke it in concrete and abstract ways, summoning and validating it. Fear and anger are often cited in tandem as the source of Trump’s and BJP party’s particular political appeal. But it cannot be denied that the fear percolating in the society is real, and somewhat justified. Social scientists say anger makes people more aggressive, prone to lash out but fear makes them cower from the unfamiliar and seek refuge and comfort. Trump and India’s regime channel the people’s anger. They stir up people’s latent fears, then offer themselves as the only solution! American ad maker, Rick Wilson says fear is the simplest emotion to tweak in a campaign ad. “You associate your opponent with terror, with fear, with crime, with causing pain and uncertainty. It all plays into the message of chaos, making the world a chaotic place.