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Books and Documents

Muslims and Islamophobia

Muslims’ strategy lies in being socially more integrated, without compromising their identity and rights as citizens in these multicultural and multiracial societies. Participating fully in public life and building interfaith alliances are necessary….

From the street to the state, Islamophobia is baked into European political life. This has been nearly 20 years in the making. The “war on terror” — which singled out Muslims and Islam as a civilizational threat to “the West” — created the conditions for widespread Islamophobia….

The outrage over the level of hatred that was on display in northeast Delhi this week is surprising. Why? Because all of us, including me, inhabit a world where our first interactions with the words ‘Muslim’, ‘Islam’ are shrouded within whispers of hate, discomfort, contempt and blatant phobia....

Quran warns us against what unfortunately has become a dominant mood in the contemporary Muslim public sphere: anger. Verse 3:134 defines good Muslims, rather, as “those who restrain their anger and who forgive people.” Other verses also praise prophets such as Abraham, Isaac and Shuaib for having Hilm, a moral virtue that implies forbearance, gentleness and forgiveness....

Muslims around the world have reacted to Islamophobia, precisely because it has been perceived as an emotional outburst by non-Muslim racists and bigots, with selfish agendas. Islamophobia is defined as anti-Muslim racism....

 

For American Muslims, this means stripping away our identity as Americans and telling us that we don’t belong “here,” but rather in faraway lands and cultures that are different from, and dangerous to, “yours....

Because I don’t fit people’s expectations of what a Muslim is supposed to look like, they get confused. They trot out questions. “But do you pray? But do you drink? But you eat bacon, right?!”...

 

Our prejudices about Muslims are not even original. Our language and images are borrowed. Through the last millennium, the West constructed the Muslim as a threat, as Christianity and Islam competed for power. Nineteenth-century European scholars of the Orient, obsessed with classifying and differentiating, with racial and civilisational theories— instilled the idea that the Muslim mind is one, unchanged from the deserts of Arabia, sexist and violent and fanatical....

True to what has become a permanent feature and trend of Hollywood productions over the past many years, both these primetime dramas are inspired by America’s ceaseless war on terror....

Macron has said that no one should be stigmatised for wearing the headscarf or veil. Yet his government's efforts to combat extremist violence increasingly look like a cultural assault on Islamic religious practices....

Islam that epitomizes the ethos of compassion and mercy is often subjected to stricture by the Islamophobes. They project Islam as the religion of terrorism and extremism—a religion where virtues of compassion and mercy find no place—it is in fact, a notion based on sheer ignorance, prejudice and bias.....

A 19th-century painting of a harem by European artist Antoine-Ignace Melling has been animated, subverting the depictions of the women within, from passive subjects of erotic fantasy to drab creatures engaged in jerky, repetitive movements reminiscent of a cuckoo clock....

 

We now have a leadership that openly demonises Muslim women, fails to acknowledge the extent of racism within the party’s ranks, and uses language over Brexit that stokes hatred and deepens divisions....

"There is, generally, only very little positive media coverage of Muslim communities in Europe," noted the report, and added: "Islamophobic hatred is often spread via the Internet"…..

 

The past few weeks have shown how dishonest political debate can be. Leading Remainers who happily call Leavers Nazis, fascists and idiots are now concerned about the divisive tone of our politics....

Well, you’re all a bunch of hypocrites and are absolutely incapable of moving past built-in bias. No, seriously, people don’t have the ability to emotionally and mentally transcend Islamophobic bias set by years of unfair portrayal, and see it for what it actually is. ...

 

This means that no matter what our political leanings might be, the struggles against Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are fundamentally about the same thing: protecting diverse, inclusive, and free societies. ...

 

Islam as a global challenge is a simple notion: “Muslims are evil and dangerous.” Political leaders scraping for a simple narrative to organize a society, just as that body politic is anxious, unravelling, holding little patience or interest in engaging with complex challenges and solutions that require sacrifice, are tempted to turn to Islamophobia as a political crutch....

Facebook posts spread the conspiracy theory that the number of India's Muslims - currently about 200 million - will at some point surpass the 966 million-strong Hindu population, as WhatsApp groups share messages stirring fear and hatred.

The decentralised and private nature of these WhatsApp groups makes it hard to pin down exactly who is pumping this venom of communal hate through the veins of the Indian polity....

One of the most successful far-right conspiracies to achieve mainstream viability, the mass hysteria surrounding a so-called threat of “Sharia law” in the United States is largely the work of anti-Muslim groups such as the American Freedom Law Centre and ACT for America (ACT), an SPLC-designated hate group...

In her native Kashmir, however, many were less concerned with a young girl acting, as they were with her participation in an industry that is seen as being aligned with Indian national interests; Islamophobic; and misrepresentative of the Kashmiri struggle against Indian rule....

Thus, Islamophobia has become a tool for populist politicians to describe Muslims as the ‘other’ and the ones to blame for the economic or cultural decline of a Western country....

A meeting of two Islamophobes earlier this month brought this home to me. That day, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi met with her Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orbán. At the top of their agenda was the danger of “continuously growing Muslim populations”....

 

Today there is concerted effort to instrumentalise Muslim communities within old-fashioned identity politics to stoke fear and justify conflict. Islam and Muslims are increasingly treated as the opposite of what both the secular and Judeo-Christian West supposedly stand for; they are the new common "enemy"....

 
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