Fighting ‘Islamophobia’ to stop the clash of civilisations

The western intelligentsia, especially the media, should come forward to stop the demonisation of Muslims.


Naveed Hussain December 11, 2010

Complaints of prejudice against Islam and Muslims in western societies are often brushed aside as oversensitivity on the part of Muslims. But spiralling hate crimes in the West show it is not just a case of oversensitivity, it is part of a campaign creating a morbid fear of Islam and the systematic distortion of the image of Muslims — a phenomenon called ‘Islamophobia’.

A recent decision of the French government to ban burqas is just the tip of the iceberg. The problem is more deep-rooted, indicative of growing antipathy towards Muslims in the West. Islamic practices and rituals are increasingly becoming targets of criticism and Muslims are pilloried for the wrongs of a handful of obscurantist elements. A recent report says, “Violence and intimidation of Muslims and their places of worship has been at unacceptable levels in the West since 9/11.” The report — part of a 10-year Europe-wide research project sponsored by the al Jazeera Centre for Studies — documents 42 cases in which pig heads, bacon and pork have been used to incite anti-Muslim hatred at mosques and other Islamic institutions. The report says Muslim women wearing burqa and niqab are targets of verbal abuse and intimidation.

This Eidul Azha, an ugly incident in the Greek capital marked the latest streak of anti-Islam sentiments. Members from ultra-right Greek group, Chryssi Avghi, played loud music, threw eggs and jeered at the immigrants who gathered to offer Eid prayers in the city's Attiki Square. Alarmingly, the news media, particularly print, has also been instrumental in the making of this mindset which is contrary to the western concept of a multicultural, pluralistic and democratic society. This was pointed out by Professor Gordon Conway of the University of Sussex in Britain who said that in the tabloids, the attack against Islam is usually harsh and savage while in the “respected” papers it is more subtle. This attitude is alienating young Muslims in western societies and accentuating the appeal of self-styled jihadists.

Take Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the young Nigerian who attempted to blow up a transatlantic flight last Christmas. Take Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American who tried to detonate a car bomb at New York City’s Times Square in May this year. And take Ramy Zamzam, Umer Farooq, Waqar Hussain, Ahmed Minni and Aman Hassan Yemer — all naturalised American citizens arrested in Pakistan in December 2009 for plotting terror attacks with the Taliban.

This growing bias against Muslims is creating unease in the Muslim world. In June, this year, Muslim states said ‘Islamophobia’ is sweeping the West and its media and demanded that the UN takes tougher action against it. I think western intelligentsia, especially the media, should come forward to stop this demonisation of Muslims, or else the widening gulf between ‘us’ and ‘them’ will become unbridgeable and the myth of Samuel Huntington’s ‘clash of civilisations’ may become a reality.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 12th, 2010.

COMMENTS (49)

Xohaib shahzad | 10 years ago | Reply @ nan: where did you heard that 'They have religious and personal freedom'?? they are the most watched personals in the whole world,,, every one of their call, message, post on the social networks, letters, and phones are being monitored,,, even the journalists in west are asking for 'politic refuge' in other countries,,, the privacy of every single person is being violated by the west,,, is banning "hijjab (scarf)" a religious freedom? or banning the construction of a holy symbol "minaa'r" (tower along side with mosque) a religious freedom? we have a saying which can be translated like "thief is the one who gets caught" like wise,,, some of the bad deed done by some Muslims are propagated and are imposed upon all Muslims,,, while most of the shameful and unethical activities done by west are neglected with the tag so called 'Liberalism',,, when someone attack black people, they call it 'racism' when someone attack jews, they call it 'anti-semanticist' when someone attack homosexuality, they call it 'intolerance' when someone attack a religious sect, they call it 'hate speech' and when someone attack our beloved Prophet Hazrat Mohammad (P.B.U.H) 'they call it 'freedom of speech',,,, is this justice?? the religious, political and individual justice you are talking about, which cannot be achieved by all the Muslim countries in the world in another 100 years is because of the damned democracy,,, the evil system of the west,,, i can show u the real picture of Afghanistan in Taliban's era,,, but you won't believe that, coz your mind is polluted with the propaganda of west regarding Taliban and Islam.,,, hope someday you get to see the real face of Muslims and Islam.
Xohaib shahzad | 10 years ago | Reply @ sheikh sarmad: sheikh sahab why would you be 'SO' afraid of "growing number of bearded in Pakistan"? why not beard jews? they won't let you live freely even if you accept their religion,,, coz they say 'only jews born are real jews',,, so who are more intolerant?? the other thing is is your home town empty?? why are other people 'still' living there? if you say they don't have the cost to move to other places,,, i can ensure you that a lot are there who can,,, but they won't... or they have any deal with beard Islamist??
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