Muslims and Islamophobia
Yasser Latif Hamdani
Now consider the ongoing Islamophobia debate in the
US. It is one of the most divisive and polarising debates in that country.
Leading this debate are people like Sam Harris and Ayyan Hirsi Ali, who
vehemently insist that extremists and terrorists are intellectually honest when
committing crimes against humanity in the name of Islam....
But what really makes somebody an Islamophobe? Worrying about the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, the Taliban and other extremist groups who kill or oppress people in the name of Islam?....
.....a small handful of fringe anti-Muslim organizations—almost entirely devoid of any real knowledge or expertise, some drawing on age-old ethno-religious conflicts—managed to hijack the public discourse about Islam, first by stoking fears, grabbing attention with their emotional messaging, then by consolidating their newfound social capital, forging ties with established elite organizations, and ultimately building their own organizational and media infrastructure…..
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world especially the West and it has many stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam that are mainly due to the media, prejudice and obliviousness; and is labelled as an ‘extremist’, ‘radical’ and a ‘fundamental’ religion. A major factor which contributes to Islamic stereotyping in the West……
The majority of over a billion peace-loving Muslims the world over who are genuinely opposed to the perversion of their faith by a minority within would certainly welcome President Obama’s advisedly timely differentiation between Islam and those who kill in its name. And one hopes that the distinction that the US president has made between the faith itself and those who pervert the faith would dissuade those sections of populations in Europe, the US and Australia that have in reaction fallen victim to Islamophobia, from doing things that only end up justifying increased extremism and enhancing in the process, its appeal for new recruits....
Anti-Muslim prejudice is the most recent layer in this history, a reworking and recycling of older logics of oppression. From this perspective, Islamophobia, like other forms of prejudice, should not be seen only as a problem of hate crimes committed by lone extremists. The acts of individual perpetrators can only be made sense of if they are seen as the product of a wider culture, in which glorifying racial violence is acceptable….
Will rising Islamophobia in Europe provide Turkey with its entry ticket to the EU? Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to think so. And the president of Turkey may be right — but for the wrong reasons. On a visit last month to Somalia, where Ankara has undertaken a big humanitarian aid programme, Mr Erdogan said that Europe can succeed in fighting Islamophobia only if it agrees to accept Turkey as a member. His assertion rests on the claim that the fate of the Turkey-EU relationship will be critical in efforts to prevent further alienation of Europe’s Muslim population....
However, it would be equally wrong to consider hostility toward Islam and Muslims in Europe under a single category. People who think that Muslims are taking jobs and other benefits away from Westerners, those who deliberately play on these concerns to encourage hostility toward Islam and Muslims, those who think that increasing numbers of Muslims will eliminate Christianity and/or degenerate Western culture and those who equate Islam with terror and radicalism must all be considered separately....
"New Atheism" as a system of belief may encourage critical inquiry into and scepticism about all religious doctrines and ideologies, but New Atheist politics suspends its critical acumen when it engages with Islam and Palestine. It is not a coincidence that the terrorist who committed this massacre admired Bill Maher and other self-professed new atheists....
There are still laws in Europe criminalizing blasphemy, although there has been a trend to decriminalize it over the last 40 years. Blasphemy laws are limitations to freedoms of expression relating to blasphemy, hate speech, vilification or religious insults…..
“If Muslims stopped killing other Muslims because they belong to a different sect; stopped forcing their chosen practices on other Muslims; tolerated less pious Muslims; did not feel enraged if other Muslims did not abstain from alcohol or pork, or did not attend the mosque; did not kill men, women and children because they adhered to other faiths; did not blame rape on the length of a woman’s skirt; did not murder their own wives because they spoke to strangers, or their daughters because they flirted with boys or because they were raped by rascals; did not wish to start World War III because some maverick cartoonist drew blasphemous caricatures; did not issue death fatwas because an author wrote a blasphemous book; or did not aim to spread their religion to the entire world, by the sword if necessary, then fighting Islamophobia would be much easier….
Of course parts of the Qur’an are violent in nature, but then again, so are parts of many religions. Christianity’s Old Testament, for example, depicts God-inspired plagues and executions for individuals who work on the Sabbath. Apart from its vengeful God, interpreted strictly, the Bible commands that Christians engage in violence. One example comes in Deuteronomy 22:23-24, which mandates that Christians stone any woman who has extramarital sex without crying for help…..
Syed Mohammad Ali
The argument that Western values of freedom of expression must not submit to Islamic censorship demands is not constructive. It is the imperative of preventing bigotry on the basis of which such caricatured portrayals of Muslims, especially the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), need to be discouraged in the West…..
Further, while Christianity stresses beliefs and creeds (personal belief), Islam has emphasised duties, embodied in Shariah Law (public actions). Therefore, to speak of “Islamism” as a militant political form of Islam makes no sense: all Islam, traditionally speaking, is political and legal. Indeed, when Tony Blair said that his Christian beliefs guided aspects of his governmental policy, including the war in Iraq, no one accused him of “Christianism”. “Islamism”, as a term, is therefore unhelpful to analyse contemporary militant/terrorist actions…..
His assertion that Friday prayers begin with a call for victory over Christians, Jews and Hindus is absurd. If he is not familiar with the prayers, he should study what they say. I know of no Imam who demonizes other faiths. I am sure that since 9/11 all mosques are monitored for hate speech and Muslim leaders are not objecting. Some tipped security agencies on suspects and helped them foil terrorism attempts. Certainly mosques will lose charitable status if they indulge in political activity…..
They are happy to answer your questions, although like many of their peers they do find it curious that their life seemingly involves acting as unofficial spokespeople for their brand of religion. "There's a lot of cautious curiosity," says Ameera. "People going 'Oh, so, you're a Muslim - what does this mean?' It does get tiring when I have to tell my story again. But I'd rather have that conversation than not. I prefer that to the alternative."…..
“I hate your government, your lies, your corruption, your religion, your double standard and your hypocrisy,” wrote the son of Ayatollah Rouhani, just before he killed himself. “I was forced to lie to my friends each day, telling them that my father isn’t part of all of this… It’s easy enough to get confused by all the front names for jihad. But underneath they are all the same. When it comes to priestly war doctrines, Iran = ISIS = Saudi Arabia = Qatar = Hamas = Hizb’allah = CAIR = Muslim Brotherhood. That’s the whole point about a universal war theology.….
The fact of the matter is that all civilizations-including both Muslim and Western civilizations-have their good and bad aspects and they should freely learn from and adapt and adopt good things from each other. However, both types of phobia-Islamophobia and Westophobia-insist that this is impossible and unwanted. A good number of Muslim preachers routinely rant and rave against the West….
My problem with the Muslims in Nigeria and their response to Boko Haram is that they are not sufficiently angry. They have to do something beyond pious declarations in newspapers. There are some who believe that the whole Boko Haram imbroglio is financed and supported by so called respectable Northern Leaders. Nobody in the 21st century captures schoolgirls, and forcefully turns them into Moslem so as to marry them off!! Nothing is more self justifying than religion but even so, in 2014, all conflicts in the world except Ukraine is Muslim based, backed and perpetrated – unfortunately it is Moslem killing Moslems…
Today, that bigotry has turned full circle against Islam and Muslims. It does not matter whether you have been in the UK for three days or 30 years, the target for far right groups and some on the political right, are Muslim communities. Some of what they say may have an ounce of merit whilst a lot of it comes from a place of knee jerk reactionism and prejudice. Leaving this work to those small numbers of detractors in Muslim communities would be disastrous for this area of work given some of their backgrounds and their lack of understanding of basic recording mechanisms and in working with communities such as LGBTQ, Jewish and non-faith communities……
Since the new wave of terror that hit the Middle East amid the Arab spring a new trend started building up within people of the region, not only secularists but even within ranks of religious communities. A man with a beard bigger than usual can't be tolerated even by men with beards; a good example to be mentioned is the arrest of a man in Beirut's southern suburb on Jan. 21 for having a "suspicious" beard according to eyewitnesses back then, later on it was revealed that the suspected suicide bomber was a rapper, and a civil society activist. This is not an isolated story….
How much time will pass until Islam is reformed or reinterpreted? How many people will be killed, attacked or enslaved until that happens? How many Muslims have the free will or courage to speak out? Will Islamists even ever allow them to, without threatening retaliation? Are the Islamists so uncertain that what they are preaching can stand on its merits -- as the Quran instructs, "without compulsion" -- that they cannot even tolerate even a single comment about one of their Prophets? What Western progressives and feminists are doing for the sake of political correctness -- or a well intentioned, if misguided, "multiculturalism" -- does nothing to help Muslim women. ....
….I maintain that the Judeo-Christian, capitalist West represents the finest flowering of human culture, despite its many flaws and the undeniable achievements of people in other parts of the world. The West has been in an almost continual war for 1,400 years with a truly evil outside force – and now the governments of many Western nations, in the name of “tolerance,” “diversity,” and “political correctness” have surrendered to that force. Western leaders have invited the enemy inside the gates, so to speak, and betrayed, even in effect declared war on, their own people. Now the West is in rapid decline, and even the native peoples of many Western nations….
political party with a touch of imagination, here is an important - and
surprising - finding: rather than fund overseas military operations, a
considerable number of Australians would prefer to see Australia pull out of
Iraq and instead spend the hundreds of millions of dollars on reducing social
problems that might give rise to extremism in parts of Australia's Muslim
bickering among Muslim nations on how to handle political Islam and the forces
that promote the religious militants is the root cause of the spread of this
armed movement. Absence of democratic practices and institutions in most Muslim
countries and their abject failure to engage popular will in government have
not helped much in stopping the growth of radical groups and their extreme
philosophies in the Muslim world. The Islamic State is only a conglomeration of
the radical groups and their radical acolytes spread across that region, with
sympathisers from other parts of the world….