Spreading Islamophobia in US, Europe triggers hatred against Muslims across world: Experts

It is legitimate today to talk about globalisation of Islamophobia, says John Louis Esposito of Georgetown University

Anadolu Agency November 18, 2022
Students in New Delhi took to the streets to protest the eviction of Muslims and police tactics in Assam state. PHOTO: AFP/FILE


Islamophobia in the US and Europe has spread and triggered hatred against Muslims in other parts of the world, including the Asia Pacific region, according to experts.

"It is legitimate today to talk about the globalisation of Islamophobia," John Louis Esposito, a professor of international Affairs and Islamic studies at Georgetown University, told Anadolu Agency.

Esposito pointed out that Islamophobia first became a major global issue after the 1979 revolution in Iran and then the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, adding that while Islamophobia initially became prevalent in the US, Britain, and Germany, it later spread to other regions, "even in northern Europe where you don't even have that many Muslims."

Read more: 7 out of 10 Muslims in UK experience Islamophobia at work: Survey

"You have the issues of Myanmar, the former Burma. You have the issues in China with regards to the Uyghurs. In both cases, you even have international communities talking about genocide," he elaborated further.

"The really stunning thing is, even more than that, the extent to which it (Islamophobia) has become global," he stressed, suggesting that anti-Muslim sentiments were also spreading across the political spectrum.

In France, for example, not just far-right politician Marine Le Pen, but President Emmanuel Macron, too, resorted to hostile rhetoric against Muslims during the election campaign season, Esposito said, adding that these political figures' attitude toward the Muslim community was one of cultural conflict.

Noting that Islamophobia was not met with sufficient outcry, he said: "It is interesting that when you actually say how many Muslim governments have spoken out and major, international Muslim organisations have spoken out. There is a silence there."

'Right-wing movements across world take cues from European ones'

According to researcher Arsalan Iftikhar, right-wing movements across the world were learning from movements in Europe and America.

Also read: Call for fighting Islamophobia through intellectual discourse

"The right wing movement around the world are taking their political cues from European and American right-wing movements, other global right-wing movements," he told Anadolu Agency.

Iftikhar, who penned "Fear of a Muslim Planet: Global Islamophobia in the New World Order," also said that these movements are trying to marginalise Muslims and other minorities within their lands.

"It is important to understand to the context and the cues they take from one another," he went on to say, pointing to the example of hijab bans in European countries that started in France under then-president Jacques Chirac in 2004 and other nations which adopting Islamophobic policies.

"There are attacks on Muslims all over India. There are hijab bans in the southern state of Karnataka, which again, literally taking their cues from Europe as well."


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