'Islamophobia- An emergence of anti-muslim sentiment
Written by: Anukriti Rastogi, Student, Institute of Law, Nirma University
(PC. The Guardian)
A ‘phobia’ according to the thesaurus is a striking fear causing anxiety and aversion of something. Phobia is an exaggerated kind of irrational fear In recent times a new kind of phobia has clutched the societies. ‘Islamophobia is gaining prominence globally and is much used in common parlance. Though it has entered the legal lexicon in recent times, it is relatively an erstwhile kind of discrimination in the political setup. It enumerates – Aversion or intolerance, disdain and hostility against Islam or Muslim- community as a whole. Islamophobia is way more multifaceted than religious discrimination. The article suggests the beliefs and attitudes of people worldwide towards Islam and how Islamophobia is just another type of ‘Hate Crime’.
The term Islamophobia whose etymology is undiscovered was first introduced in 1991 Runnymede trust report delineating it as hatred and abhorrence for the people following Islam believing it to be the junction of terrorism. The 9/11 attacks at the world trade centre gave further support to this ideology. Islam traces back its origin in the 7th century by prophet Muhammad is the most scattered religion followed by numerous people worldwide. Islam have grown to be sentiment rather than a religion to people. This archaic religion has its devotees worldwide commonly in Asian countries like Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Though being such an antediluvian religion with a rich history. it has grown to be the most revered to the most feared religion. Islam had always been associated with terrorism and thus giving birth to the contrived fear namely ‘ Islamophobia’. A commonly perceived notion that is highly being accepted is that Islam is the driving force for people to opt for violence to maintain their economic, political and social relations. People tend to believe that Islam being monolithic cannot engage with new political structure as well as present-day realities. They agree it being contrast to other religious values. A major chain of thought that people have been acknowledging is ‘Islam propagates violence and polemic attitude as being adumbrated in the religious texts.’ The veracity of this common thought is not yet established but has given rise to a form of discrimination namely Islamophobia. It has perpetuated by farcical stereotypes causing grave violation to Muslims. People need to address that in the rising context of All lives matter, this is a form of deep –rooted prejudice. It is rightly said by Mohsin Hamid that:
“Islamophobia, in all its guises,seeks to minimize the importance of individual and maximize the importance of the group,”
The amplifying terrorism across the global boundaries has been a matter of grave concern pertaining to its ghastly repercussions. It has taken a grim turn in the recent pasts causing millions of life to be deeply affected. Terrorism has taken a toll on various nations. But from time immemorial terrorism has been attached to Islam as its indispensible part . This has caused to incite hatred and discrimination among the citizens against the muslim community. This hate-crime is desecrating innocent lives . It has become a common phenomenon to regard any person of the islam-community as a terrorist , fear them or even seclude them. The name-calling, discrimination or even ravaging the person has been quite pertinent in the west. Its time to prioritize human rights irrespective of the religion. The dictum of ‘All lives Matter’ has yet become futile . Vandalizing muslim-lives following the notion of’An eye for an eye’ does no good to the society in large. Fearing the religion and the people propagating it are two diverse things which needs not to be confused. People need to bring it in their common understanding that terrorism and religion are not connected .Its solely their depravity that is the driving factor for terrorism on rise. Though AL- Qaeda or Al- Jazeera are separatist Muslim terrorist groups, it doesn’t make the whole community part of that.With the apex of Islamophobia in contemporary times, the cases of hate-crimes against them is soaring too without any signs of abating. A lot of agitation has been caused by the discriminatory violence against Muslims and a wind of outcry and commotion is uprising within the community. The sheer hatred against everyone of the community is a callous approach towards mankind. Islamophobia doesn’t get inflamed from the worldwide terrorist activities but from the mere bias that begins at home against them. Islam is not a kind of race but still the fragment of racism is quite evident.
In the past decade, Islamophobia had been spurred taking the malicious form of hostility and aggression. The persecution is burgeoning without stringent actions being taken. With recent cases of gun-man wrecking the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand and exterminating many Muslims worshipping is a classic example of the detestable crime. The largest democracy, India where millions of Muslims reside has become the juncture of Islamophobia. According to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, India has become the epicentre of it. Muslims are being negatively profiled and are becoming the victim of this transgression. In the light of the up-surging Covid-19 cases in India , its obscure to blame one community to be the purveyor. Even Prime minister Modi suggested to look at this pandemic as a health crisis beyond any religion. The adversity of the Uighurs in China, Rohingyas persecuted from Myanmar or the day to day maltreatment against them brings how people globally are anti-Muslim activists. These narratives are just a spectre of the history of conflicts. Terrorising a young girl wearing Burqa in Australia and calling her a terrorist is far for being justifiable . Though there is a sporadic consensus that racism, discrimination and hate crimes are a blot on the world yet Islamphobia and the attached violence goes unacknowledged or unheard. The case of pregnant Muslim women being stomped and kicked brings shiver down our spine. Such inhuman behaviour is uncalled for. Punishing people of the Islam-community for the actions of some is distressing. With police brutality and custodial violence escalating, hate crimes against Muslims is proliferating too. The video of the South –Wales police assaulting and incriminating two innocent Muslim women of murder has been surfacing the internet for a while. There repercussions of such hate crime is the instilled fear and feeling of segregation. Islamophobia is something that we witness in our daily lives, people have just become a mere spectator to it. Alarmingly only 14% bystanders get involved in public attacks with very few defending the victim . Shockingly such horrific incidents occur in guarded places and yet their plight goes unnoticed. Islamophobia has been a part of the mainstream society for such a long time that people perceive Muslims to depict violence in some form. Its time to admit that terrorism is an antithesis of Islam. Islam doesn’t propagate violence.Period!
Muslims have been scapegoated ,assaulted and dehumanized since the 9/11 incident. No other religious group has been subjected to such atrocity and have a political war waged against them in such a large scale. Pulling the headscarf of the women and violating their religious beliefs has been normalized globally. The core idea that not all muslims are exposed
to terrorism needs to be understood. This bigotry is very much prevalent and needs to be tackled in the same way as any other hate crime. Deep rooted fear, intolerance and revulsion of Muslims is far more persistent that street violence. The paucity of laws vividly entail that no actions have been taken to pacify such delinquency. Even when right to equality is placed at the highest pedestal ,it is being jeopardized.
Indeed Islamophobia is emanated from the thought that the community that have contradicting thoughts will take over our lives, homes and disturb its tranquillity. Media plays a vital role in depicting the Muslims . Its the need of an hour to portray them without prejudice. The media has to highlight a more conscientious , objective and proportionate way of reporting on stories. Its time to stop projecting them in negative light and demonizing them for the acts of individuals. Negative media stereotypes has caused augmentation of hate crimes against them. Whilst verbal assaults has amplified , physical assaults are boosting too. The vitriolic and rancorous comments of Rod Liddle and Boris Johnson comparing Muslim women to ‘letterboxes’ and ‘Bank robbers’ certainly tells us how politicians too legitimize the hate crime. There is a dire need of stringent laws against Islamophobia to subdue such discrimination and provide them equality before law. Islamophobia needs to be correctly assessed and people needs to nullify and deconstruct all the pre conceived conjectures. The acerbic narratives against the Muslims needs to be amended by the media and the government to curb this gross injustice. Modernization of the mainstream notions about Islam and its association with violence needs to be construed. Its time to carve up between terrorism and Islam . Delibrate attempts to vilify Muslims need to be discontinued and there is an urgent need make insult against religion and associated violence a criminal offence.
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