New Age Islam - Read About Islam, Islamic Religion and Muslims, Terrorism and Jihad
HOME ARCHIVES MULTIMEDIA URDU SECTION BOOKS DEBATE DICTIONARY
Name:
E-mail:
   Urdu Section
   Hindi Section
   Arabic Section
   French Section
   Multimedia
   Archives
   Books and Documents
   Islamic World News
   Radical Islamism and Jihad
   Islam,Terrorism and Jihad
   War on Terror
   Islam and the West
   Interfaith Dialogue
   The War Within Islam
   Islam and Politics
   Current Affairs
   Muslims and Islamophobia
   Islamic Ideology
   Islam and Human Rights
   Islamic Sharia Laws
   Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam
   Islam and Sectarianism
   Islam and Spiritualism
   Spiritual Meditations
   Islam, Women and Feminism
   Islamic Society
   Islam and Pluralism
   Islam and Tolerance
   Islamic History
   Islamic Personalities
   Islam and Science
   Islam and Environment
   Islamic Culture
   Debating Islam
   Interview
   Islam and the Media
   Letter to the Editor
   From the Desk of Editor
   Persian Section
   Bangla Section
Allama Sir Muhammad Iqbal
The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam
Biography, Audio
Vivekananda
More Videos.. 
The Quran: A New Translation - The eternal present tense
Preface: The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam By Dr. Muhammad Iqbal
Lecture 1: Knowledge and Religious Experience
More.. 
Focus on Islam, Jihad and Terrorism
Condemning "Islamist" terrorist attack on Mumbai in harshest terms
Can Ulema save Muslims from Radical Islamism?
Indian Ulema have no time to lose, must call warlike Quranic surahs obsolete.
Jihadism gets sustenance from verses of war in the Quran
More.. 
Dr. Zakir Naik on Yazeed and Osama bin Laden - A New Age Islam Debate
Unveiling Zakir Naik: Terror cannot be fought with Terror
Comments - 148
On Televangelist Zakir Naik: Don't give in to pretenders
Comments - 31
Beware of the Kafir-manufacturing factories: Maulana Nadeem-ul-Wajidi responds to the Fatawahs of Kufr against Dr. Zakir Naik
Comments - 41
Unity among Muslims and Dr. Zakir Naik's Evil: A Point of View
Comments - 163
This Islamic website offers facts about Islam and Muslims, Islam way and Islamic ideology. Online Islam - Latest Islamic World News, Articles on Radical Islamism & Jihad and Islam, Terrorism and Jihad
     
Muslims and Islamophobia
12 Sep 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com
How the Fear of being Criminalised has Forced Muslims into Silence

By Mehdi Hasan

8 September 2011

We have more Muslim MPs than ever. But there is a growing belief that dissent risks falling foul of terror laws.

On 17 September 2001, George Bush paid a visit to the Islamic Centre of Washington. "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam," declared the US president. "Islam is peace." Muslims might have been its biggest victims, but the war on terror wasn't conceived as a war on Islam. In recent years, however, a growing number of rightwing ideologues have exploited the terror threat to push the argument that Islam is as at war with the west. Backed by well-funded thinktanks, these individuals are no longer "fringe" voices. Take Patrick Sookhdeo, a Christian pastor who reinvented himself as a terrorism expert after 9/11. He is quoted approvingly four times in the 1,500-page "manifesto" of the Norwegian killer Anders Breivik. Why? Sookhdeo has dismissed the "myth of moderate Islam", says Islam is a "religion and political ideology that puts our British way of life in grave danger" and believes "everything about the west is inimical to Islam".

The ravings of a crank?

In fact, Sookhdeo's book, Global Jihad, is on a recommended reading list for the UK Defence Academy's higher command and staff course 2011. The pastor himself has been used by the MoD to give "higher level training" to British military commanders preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.

Then there is Robert Spencer, the co-founder of the EDL-linked organisation Stop the Islamicisation of America which, according to the Anti-Defamation League, "promotes a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda". Breivik's manifesto cited Spencer 64 times. Yet the latter has been invited to advise the FBI on counter-terrorism and his book, The Truth About Mohammed: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion, has featured on the FBI's reading list for new recruits.

It is easy to blame crude, anti-Islam propagandists like Sookhdeo and Spencer for the increasing levels of alienation, disillusionment and distrust inside Muslim communities across the west. But the real question is why have the US and UK governments given such influence to preachers of hate and division? Whatever happened to winning hearts and minds?

Western Muslims have been seen exclusively through the prism of counter-terrorism. Sensitive issues of integration and community cohesion have become entangled in the securitised discourse of the war on terror. Here in the UK, the effect has been a chilling of speech inside Muslim communities. I have lost count of the number of British Muslim students, activists and imams who have told me of their fear of being labelled as extremists or terrorists if they dare take an unconventional, unorthodox or radical position on a political or religious issue. It is ironic, if depressing, that a doubling of the number of Muslim MPs in parliament and the appointment of a Muslim woman to the cabinet has been matched by a narrowing of the range of opinions and views expressed by ordinary British Muslims in public.

For example, many Muslims have melted away from the antiwar movement, which they collaborated in creating. There is a growing belief that dissent by politically active Muslims has not just been stigmatised, but criminalised. From new laws cracking down on the so-called "glorification of terrorism", to the excessive sentences handed out to British Muslim teenagers protesting against Israel's Gaza war, to the use by counter-terrorism police of 150 surveillance cameras in just two Muslim areas of Birmingham, the past decade has seen ordinary Muslims disproportionately targeted by the authorities. A damning report by the Institute of Race Relations in 2009 described the last government's prevent counter-extremism strategy as "an elaborate structure of surveillance, mapping, engagement and propaganda. Prevent has become, in effect, the government's 'Islam policy'."

Meanwhile, the media's coverage of British Muslims has been particularly pernicious. In 2008, a Cardiff University study of 1,000 newspaper articles revealed that references to radical Muslims outnumbered references to moderates by 17 to one. The most common nouns used in relation to British Muslims were terrorist, extremist, militant and Islamist.

The term "Islamist" – one I have, admittedly, used myself – is especially problematic. It obscures more than it illuminates. The tyrannical Taliban government of Afghanistan was Islamist – yet so too is the elected government of Turkey; Hizb ut-Tahrir is an Islamist organisation – but so is the Muslim Council of Britain. I too have been lazily denounced as an "Islamist" by my critics – despite having long ago declared my opposition to an "Islamic state" – and subjected to a barrage of Islamophobic abuse online. I am often told by anxious and fearful Muslim friends to "be careful" or to "stop being so outspoken"; they worry for my safety and job security.

I love this country. There is no better place in Europe to live as a Muslim. But, as we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I too tire of the negative stereotypes and constant suspicion and hostility that members of British Muslim communities have had to endure.

Perhaps all is not lost. Last month, Tariq Jahan, whose son was murdered during the riots, won plaudits for his calm and dignified response. What made Jahan such an unlikely British hero – especially on the pages of the Daily Mail and the Daily Express – is that he is a British Muslim (and a former supporter of Hizb ut-Tahrir). After I visited his home in Birmingham, a friend of the family told me: "Thanks to Tariq, we're all seen in a different light now – not in a negative light, not just as terrorists." But there is still a long way to go. Ten years on, British Muslims must stand up and be counted. Our struggle against demonisation is far from over.

Source: The Guardian, London

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamMuslimsAndIslamophobia_1.aspx?ArticleID=5462

 

Forward to a friend | Print
COMMENTS
Total Comments: 0
     Compose Your Comments here:
Name
Email (Not to be published)
Bold
Italic
Underline
Strike Through
Superscript
Subscript
Undo
Redo
Cut
Copy
Paste
Left Align
Center
Right Align
Justify
Change Text Direction
Ordered List
Unordered List
Decrease Indent
Increase Indent
Font Color
Background Color
Insert Link
Remove Link
Horizontal Rule
Please use the browser Internet Explorer to post your comments.
In case of difficulty, please post your comments to: Editor@NewAgeIslam.com
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and not necessarily reflect that of NewAgeIslam.com.
FAIR USE NOTICE:
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to promote Co-Existence and Dialogue of Religions and Civilisations, and advance understanding of Islam and Democracy, Pluralism, Terrorism, Human Rights, Islamic Laws and Ideology, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. New Age Islam has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of these articles nor is New Age Islam endorsed or sponsored by the originator of these articles. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
Copyright 2008 - 2009 NewAgeIslam.Com All Rights Reserved.
Site best viewed in 1200 x 900 pixels or higher display resolution.
Editor and Publisher: Sultan Shahin, E-22, Indra Prastha Apts., 114, I. P. Extension, New Delhi – 110092
Phone No. (+91-11) 222 44 868 E-mail: Editor@NewAgeIslam.com
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Disclaimer | Donate | Submit Articles | Privacy Policy