On March 15th, 2019 during the Muslim Jumat prayer, an Islamophobia attack was carried out in two mosques in Christchurch New Zealand by an Australian man killing over 50 people. While Islamophobia attacks in New Zealand are rare occurrences, Islamophobia attacks are carried out almost every day in the globe.
The question begging for answer is
How do we fight Islamophobia in our society? I am of the opinion that the best way time to stop or greatly reduce Islamophobia is by creating awareness about it. We need to help people understand what Islamophobia means, how to be religiously tolerant of Muslims and its faithful.
We need to address the terror attacks carried out by supposed Muslim terrorist groups. We need to explain what Islam means to people so they do not get the wrong notions or impression about the religion.
What is Islamophobia?
Islamophobia is the hatred or fear of everything relating to the Islamic religion. It is a form of racism. It is hatred, disdain and general dislike for people who practice the Islamic religion which can be severe or mild. Islamophobia comes in all forms and severity.
What might start as a mild dislike can easily grow into a severe form of xenophobic hate if not checked on time. It can be as simple as mocking people for the way they dress or their religious practices as a Muslim.
What Other Ways can you Fight Islamophobia?
Organizing mosque open house: Mosques around the globe can organize an open mosque visitation in which non-practitioners of the religion are encouraged to come into the mosque. They get to see what it looks like, ask questions about the religion and observe Muslims perform their prayers.
Encourage Muslims’ participation in activities in their community: We need to encourage Muslims to participate actively in their neighborhood and volunteer for activities. They should reach out to their neighbors in love and understanding. Let them see Muslims as a peace-loving, fun-loving, caring and understanding group of people.
Get the media involved: The media has a huge role to play in helping to preach against Islamophobia and encouraging peace. Anti-Islamophobia campaigns should air on television, radio, and newspapers. Let’s keep on preaching peace and tolerance.
What are the Causes of Islamophobia?
Islamophobia comes mostly out of xenophobia for the religion of Islam. Xenophobia is the fear or apprehension of something or group of people perceived to be foreign, alien or strange.
Xenophobia has increased greatly in Europe and the United States due to the rise in the immigration of people who practice different religions distinct from those practiced in those regions.
The root of Xenophobia is “Orientalism”. Orientalism was coined to justify the evasion and colonization of the Middle East, African, and Asia. Professor Edward Saed in his book “Orientalism” published in 1994 referred to these colonized groups of people as inferior and different from the civilization of the West.
He also went further to describe them as a primitive, fanatic, irrational and violent group. Orientalism has shaped the way Islam and Muslims are viewed today since Islam is a religion whose origin is in the Middle East.
Acclaimed Islamic Terrorist Groups
The terror attacks carried out by self-acclaimed Islamic terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, Taliban, and Boko Haram to mention a few, have done nothing but further increase people’s fear of the religion.
The 9/11 attack by Al Qaeda on the World trade center in the United States is still fresh in the minds of many. It’s easy for families and friends of those affected victims to transfer their pain and hatred on the religion as a whole.
The Islamophobia Policies of the Ruling Class
The ruling class has helped fuel Islamophobia by introducing policies that promote Islamophobia. The Canadian government’s “Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act” serves as one of the springboards for Islamophobia in Canada.
Quebec’s own Bill 94 banning Niqab from civic and public spaces is another example of Islamophobic breeding policies. The United States ruling class stance on the religion is also another point of concern.
Greatest Islamophobic Attacks in the World
One of the greatest Islamophobia attacks in history was carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s during the Bosnia genocide and the Kosovo wars. Both of these attacks led to the massacre of innocent Muslims and have been tagged Islamophobic.
Croat armies and Christian Serbs carried out genocide attacks on the Muslim populace in Bosnia. In this massacre, over 200,000 people were killed according to the ICRC data.
About twelve thousand out of this number were children and over two million people were displaced from their homes. New Zealand’s killing of fifty Muslims during the Friday Jumat service is the most brutal in recent times.
There has been an increasing surge in Islamophobic attacks and tendencies in recent times in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Islamophobia is more deadly now than it ever has been because of the influence of social media. Hate and xenophobic acts are easily propagated using these channels which the growing population especially teenagers have unlimited assess to.
Proactive steps have to be taken in order to curtail this menace before it blows out of proportion.