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Muslims and Islamophobia ( 20 Nov 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Fear of Islam in the West? You Betcha! How Should Muslims Respond?

Antisemitic Cartoon In UAE Paper On The Dialogue Between Judaism And Islam

Cartoonist: 'Aamer Al-Zo'abi

Source: Akhbar Al-Arab, November 18, 2008

Posted at: 2008-11-19

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/11492.htm

***

Fear of Islam? You Betcha!

By Ruth King, November 19, 2008

A full page ad in the New York Times of November 11th heralded November 21-23 as a “Week of Twinning” when Canadian and American synagogues and their respective rabbis and an equal number of mosques and mullahs will “join together to confront Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in their respective communities.”

This interfaith confab will be under the auspices of good old King Abdullah bin Aziz of Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes in the world which funds, promotes and teaches terrorism and fanatical hatred of all “infidels” and is the locus of all but two of the terrorists who perpetrated 9/11.

The deluded rabbis (I’m holding back here) fail to comprehend they are being “had” by the wily king and his co-religionists. Has anyone vetted the sermons of the imams that are so perturbed by prejudice? Did a single one of them ever denounce terrorism or the various and sundry texts in the hadith and the Koran that incite hatred and death to all unbelievers? Are the rabbis aware of the centuries of relentless Islamic anti-Semitism which antedate the Arab/Israel war? Will a single one of those mullahs invite Hirsi Ayaan Ali, Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq, Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan, or Dan Pipes to speak to their congregations of the need to reform Islam, curb Sharia Law, and abolish Jihad? In a word….no.

On the other hand, the rabbis involved in this silly posturing would probably be delighted to invite the good old Wahabbi thug to their synagogues to foster “understanding.” You know….Isn’t talk always better than war and isn’t peace the noble way and aren’t there plenty of passages in the Koran that talk of love and faith and aren’t there passages in the Old Testament that promote violence and didn’t Jews and Arabs enjoy real co-existence at one time, and didn’t we also have grannies who said mean things about other races?

Thanks to these participants in the sham, the "twinning" is now permanent and you can’t denounce anti-Semitism without also denouncing its “sister” hatred Islamophobia.

The dictionary defines anti-Semitism as "hostility and prejudice to Jews." Historically it is mostly associated with Dachau, and Auschwitz, but there were centuries of murder, and dislocation of Jews in Europe and in all Arab lands with short eras of ‘tolerance.”

Currently, anti-Semitism is manifested in harassment, vilification, physical assaults, and murder of Jews, including terrorism and suicide bombings. In all Muslim countries sermons, school texts, broadcasts, and newspapers denounce Jews. These examples of visceral hatred for Jews run the gamut from cartoons, depicting Jews as apes, to calls for "death to the Jews," promotions of blood libels, and holocaust denial. UN assemblies, as well as affiliated organizations and conferences always degenerate into Jew-baiting. In the more elite intellectual Left “salons” of Europe and the United States it is openly manifested in shrill criticism of Israel, particularly among tenured professors in Middle East departments funded by oil rich Arab Kingdoms.

Only a few days ago, Arab students at University of California at Berkeley attacked participants at an Israel Liberation Week concert. Witnesses reported the attack by thugs shouting epithets and calling Jews “Nazis’ and “dogs.”

Now, what about "Islamophobia," a word not included in the dictionary? It is a phony construct. The word phobia is defined as an "irrational fear or aversion." If anyone can discover people who are motivated by an irrational hatred of Muslims rather than a well based fear of those, who, prompted by the tenets of Islam, attempt to murder infidels, stone, behead and flog those who dishonour Allah, and, most horrific, murder their own progeny in “honour killings” by all means let them bring such examples forward.

There are indeed moderate Muslims who have suffered persecution, dislocation, murder and genocide….at the hands of other Muslims. See Darfur. See Somalia. See Iraq.

There are, in America, decent and law abiding and devout Muslim families. Other than perfunctory criticism of the perpetrators of 9/11, or embassy bombings, or marine barracks bombings, or the USS Cole, they don’t speak out and they expose their children to the fanatical hatreds of the mosques. Recently, I had an exchange with a lovely and soft spoken woman from Nigeria, who has been here for 17 years. She told me her children go to a mosque school where they learn Koran and Arabic. When I questioned why they learn Arabic since that is not one of the myriad languages of Nigeria, she told me that Arabs pay for the schooling. One can only imagine what her children learn in an Arab funded madrassa. One could also question why after so many years in this country her family is not assimilated.

Muslims have killed more Americans than any group or state since the end of the Vietnam War. Yet, in an unflagging effort to reassure Muslims we were continually told that these terrorists “hijacked a great religion” and those who use it for violent ends are engaged in a “perversion” of the faith.

Even seemingly honourable defenders of the faith have masqueraded as moderates until they were apprehended for conspiring to aid or fund jihad and al Qaeda through communal or charitable organizations.

There are over 200 documented episodes where the “perverters” of the faith have been apprehended and thwarted in deadly plans right here in the United States. The charges all range from financing Islamic terrorism, obstructing justice by refusing to testify or by aiding terrorist wannabes, to stockpiling and transporting explosives and weapons, attempting to bomb airlines and military bases, providing false tips to federal law enforcement, assault and murder of family members who dishonour the family, smuggling false passports, committing arson and conspiring to kill and maim civilians. There are probably an equal number of “sleeper cells” which have been discovered and thwarted but an unsettling number which continue to operate and plot under the radar of law enforcement.

Is it irrational or bigoted to fear them? No. It's prudent.

We should we demand that our elected legislators consider our safety and homeland security and confront and condemn putative terrorists and those who aid and abet them instead of pandering to the whining and pretended “victim-hood” of those who would destroy us. I am afraid for our country. I fear creeping Sharia, and it is high time for the purported great majority of peaceful Muslims to speak out loudly and forcefully against fanatical hatred of Jews and Christians and to denounce violence and terrorism and dreams of a global Caliphate.

Finally, is it not perverse to trivialize the historic shame and curse of anti-Semitism by linking it to the calculated whims and deceptions of those who practice, preach and promote Jew hatred and genocide?

You betcha!

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Ruth S. King is a freelance writer who writes a monthly column in OUTPOST, the publication of Americans for a Safe Israel. Feedback: editorialdirector@familysecuritymatters.org.

Source: http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.1806/pub_detail.asp

***

Islamophobia in the West: How Muslims Should Respond

 

By Maulana Waris Mazhari

 

(Translated by Yoginder Sikand)

 

Islamophobia is by no means a new phenomenon. Rather, it goes back to the earliest period of Islamic history. A massive storm of anti-Muslim hatred emerged and spread across large parts of the then Christian world with the expansion of Muslim political rule, from the early eighth century onwards. It was this that, in large measure, propelled the Crusades, which played a major role in propagating and perpetuating deeply-held negative stereotypes about Islam and Muslims in the West.  A major role in this regard was played by the Church and Christian polemicists. They spread such erroneous propaganda about Islam which today many Christians themselves feel embarrassed about.

 

The legacy of this medieval Christian Islamophobic propaganda lives on even today. Thus, according to a recent survey conducted by an American Muslim organization, Council for American Islamic Relations, a fourth of Americans hold extremely negative views about Islam, and half of all Americans see Islam in a negative light. Only two per cent of Americans have a good knowledge of Islam. It can thus be said that despite the centuries of Muslim-Christian relations, most Westerners have no proper idea of what Islam actually is.

 

From the late eighteenth century, an increasing number of Western scholars and travellers began taking an interest in studying Islam and Muslim societies. This soon took the form of a veritable movement or a specialized discipline, known as Orientalism. From its inception, Orientalism was deeply influenced by the Christian missionary agenda as well as by Western imperialism, both of which it served. Although, in this way, Orientalism had a very stark negative dimension, it played a crucial role in seeking to bridge the divide between the West and the East. Orientalists produced a massive amount of literature on 'Oriental' societies, including on Muslim societies and Islam. According to Edward Said, in the period between 1800 and 1950 alone, Orientalist scholars penned some 60,000 books, mainly in different European languages, on West Asia.

 

Following the Second World War, Western and Muslim scholars began moving in the direction of seeking to understand each other in a more balanced and serious fashion. A major cause for this was the migration of a sizeable number of Muslim scholars to the West. Another reason was the emergence of serious initiatives to promote Muslim-Christian dialogue and harmony. However, the outbreak of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 led to the rapid upsurge of Islamophobic sentiments in the West. And, after that, it appears that carefully-organised attempts are being made on a menacing scale in the West to further fan these hatreds by seeking to project, through very poisonous propaganda, the image of Muslims as allegedly bloody monsters. The attacks of 9/11 gave a tremendous boost to this Islamophobic discourse, the ideological groundwork for which was done by self-styled Islamic 'experts' such as Samuel Huntington and Bernard Lewis.

 

The Present Context

 

The present context, following the events of 9/11, has proven to be horrific as far as Muslims are concerned. Islamophobia has now taken the place once occupied in the Western imagination by Anti-Semitism, and aggressive efforts are underway in the West directed against Islam and Muslims. Earlier, this was the handiwork mainly of certain extremist Christian evangelical groups, but now key political and social groups and forces in the West are also engaged in it. In fact, these groups and forces are, in a sense, even more virulent, and their propaganda and actions more hard-hitting, than that of fiercely anti-Muslim Christian organizations because, particularly in Europe, the latter do not enjoy overwhelming public support. It is clear that these forces are directly opposed to Islam as such, acting on the advice of the likes of Samuel Huntington, who argues that the underlying problem of relations between the West and Muslims is not 'Islamic fundamentalism', but, rather, Islam itself.

 

The anti-Islamic project and propaganda in the West can be attributed, then, to two basic forces: 'secular fundamentalists' and 'religious fundamentalists'. The former have a huge influence in Western governments, bureaucracies, multinational corporations, the media, universities, strategic think-tanks, charitable foundations and branches of the United Nations. These forces can, as I have suggested earlier, be regarded as a greater challenge and threat to Islam and Muslims than Western Christian and Jewish religious fundamentalists, because they have a much greater influence and say in their own societies as well as globally. They have a decisive role in moulding the opinions of governments and peoples. Unfortunately, Muslims focus all their attention and ire not on these forces but on Western religious fundamentalists instead.

 

Christian evangelicals and Christian Zionists in the West, Jewish Zionists in the West and Israel and Hindutva ideologues in India have worked to create a climate of Islamophobia throughout the world. There are now a vast number of fiercely anti-Islamic Christian preachers who receive the open support of American imperialists. They call themselves 'Doctors', 'Professors' and 'Reverends', and this gives them and their stridently anti-Islamic propaganda greater legitimacy among their flock.

 

Causes of Contemporary Islamophobia

 

Islamophobia can be traced to multiple causes. One of the most salient of these is the fact that Islam represents a particular ideology and way of life which is fundamentally opposed, in several crucial ways, to Western liberalism, consumerism and capitalism. Of course, and lamentably so, the Islamic ideology and system have nowhere been in existence in their full or proper form for centuries. Yet, the West regards these as a threat and challenge to the dominant Western world-view. To add to this, the West needs an enemy to seek to justify its global hegemony and its imperialist designs, particularly in poorer countries of the global South. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it has conjured up Islam as its new opponent to serve this role. This has been facilitated by the obvious fact that today, with the decline of Communism, the only potent challenge that Western Imperialism and Capitalism face is from Islam.

 

Yet another factor fuelling the Islamophobic rage in the West is the alternative posed to the West by the Islamic moral code and its growing popularity and revival among Muslims in many countries. Unfortunately, the emotionally-driven methods that were sought to be used to enforce this code in Iran and Afghanistan by Islamic groups have further antagonized the West. To add to this is the issue of the strong relations between the West, particularly America, and Israel. In these countries, especially America, Jewish Zionist forces enjoy considerable economic and political clout, and Israel itself, which is at the forefront of global Islamophobia, serves as a major tool for American imperialism and for keeping the Arab world under American control

 

What the Muslim Response Should Be

 

In this context, the crucial question to ask ourselves is how Islamophobia, being so aggressively pursued and promoted by powerful forces in the West today, can be effectively responded to. Unfortunately, Muslim scholars and activists have not given this question much serious consideration, being guided mainly by feelings of revenge and reaction, mainly at the political level. They have not worked out any effective intellectual, instead of simply physical, response. Many of our intellectuals live in their own secluded ivory towers, doing nothing at all practical. To make matters worse, they are generally divided among themselves on narrow sectarian lines and seek to promote sectarian interests. Many of these people are actually working with, or being used by, Western anti-Muslim forces for their own ends.

 

Muslim scholars from South Asia have a particularly important role to play today in countering Islamophobia, because, unlike in several countries in the Arab world, there is much greater intellectual freedom in this region. South Asian Muslim scholars must devote adequate attention to studying and understanding the psyche, worldview and ideologies of various Islamophobic forces, their methods of working and the consequences of their activities and propaganda.

 

South Asian madrasas could have taken up this task more effectively than other Muslim institutions. Unfortunately, however, much of their syllabus is badly outdated and they have as yet developed neither the consciousness of the need to study the challenge of contemporary Islamophobia in a serious, scholarly fashion, nor the necessary intellectual tools needed for this purpose. For this to happen, madrasas must include such subjects in their curriculum as would enable their students to gain a proper understanding of modern social, political, economic and cultural conditions and challenges. This is indispensable for them to be able to provide effective and appropriate guidance to Muslims and to others as well in response to the phenomenon of mounting Islamophobia worldwide.

 

A graduate of the Dar ul-Ulum, Deoband, and the Nadwat ul-Ulema madrasa in Lucknow, Maulana Waris Mazhari is the editor of the New Delhi-based Urdu journal Tarjuman Dar ul-Ulum, the official organ of the Deoband Madrasa's Graduates' Association. He can be contacted on <mazhariwaris@gmail.com


URL: http://www.newageislam.com/muslims-and-islamophobia/fear-of-islam-in-the-west?-you-betcha!-how-should-muslims-respond?--/d/1002


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