Islamophobia spreading far and wide
The growing new phenomenon labeled "Islamophobia" - the paranoid fear of Muslims - is fast spreading, both in the United States and in Western Europe, warn academics, Middle East experts and senior United Nations officials.
Alarmed at the rising racial and religious intolerance, the UN is expressing "deep concern" over the increase in anti-Semitism, Christianophobia and Islamophobia worldwide. A resolution adopted by the 191-member UN General Assembly this week calls upon all states to cooperate with the UN Commission on Human Rights to eliminate the growing new trends in racial and religious discrimination.
For the first time, the UN this month hosted a seminar zeroing in on the subject of Islamophobia, symbolizing the gravity of the situation.
"When a new word enters the language, it is often the result of a scientific advance or a diverting fad," said UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. "But when the world is compelled to coin a new term to take account of increasingly widespread bigotry, that is a sad and troubling development. Such is the case with Islamophobia."
Addressing the seminar, which was attended by religious leaders, academics and senior UN officials, Annan said efforts to combat Islamophobia must also contend with the question of terrorism and violence carried out in the name of Islam.
"Islam should not be judged by the acts of extremists who deliberately target and kill civilians. The few give a bad name to the many, and this is unfair," he said.
"The Christian West has feared Islam both religiously and politically," said Seyyed Hossein Nasr, professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University and keynote speaker at the seminar. "Today, the paradox of Islamophobia remains that many people afraid of Islam know very little about it. They feel a great need to see 'the other' as the enemy."
In the United States, the targeting of Muslims was triggered by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, because all of the attackers were of Middle Eastern origin.
Last week Cornell University released the results of a survey it conducted in September revealing US citizens' willingness to restrict the civil liberties of Muslim Americans. The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has previously accused US law-enforcement agencies of racial profiling of Muslims living in the United States.
"In US media and political discourse, a mixed - and often implicitly negative - view of Islam exists," said Norman Solomon, executive director of the Washington-based Institute for Public Accuracy. "There's a lot of anti-Muslim bigotry. Some of it is based on religious chauvinism from Christians and Jews. Some of it is racist."
The perception that Muslims hate Israel has fed anti-Islamic fervor among strong supporters of Israel. And - particularly since September 11 - US nationalism has largely and foolishly identified Islam as a major threat to America, said Solomon, co-author of Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You.
"Ultimately I believe that public hostility toward Islam in the United States today is mostly a matter of geopolitics and US nationalism," he said.
"While the [September 11] attacks clearly had an impact on Islamophobia, it is important to recognize that this phenomenon has been around in one form or another virtually since the advent of Islam in the 7th century," said Mouin Rabbani, a contributing editor to the Washington-based Middle East Report.
It has developed and changed over the centuries on the basis of a variety of religious and racial prejudices, he added, as well as associated political factors such as colonialism, nationalism and the Arab-Israeli conflict, and socio-economic issues like oil and immigration.
"Islamophobia as a phenomenon has evolved and ebbed and flowed over time and across space," Rabbani said.
In the United States, for example, Islam was largely associated with the African slave population and resistance to slavery (and to a lesser extent subsequent black-American militancy), and Islamophobia served as part of the process of the dehumanization and domestication of this population. Since 1945, by contrast, US Islamophobia has largely been projected externally, particularly against Arabs (and Iranians - who seem more often than not to be identified as Arabs - as well as assorted others such as non-Arab, non-Muslim Sikhs, for those incapable of making distinctions).
This, Rabbani pointed out, is related to the emergence of the United States as a global power, its pursuit of control over the strategically significance Middle East, and its increasingly close embrace of Israel.
More recently, with the end of the Cold War (during which prejudice against Muslims coincided with support for Islamic militancy), some intellectuals, such as Samuel Huntington and Bernard Lewis, sought to formulate a theory of Islam as an enemy civilization.
In a report to the General Assembly last month, Doudou Diene, special rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights, said, "There appears to be agreement that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are on the upswing in Europe."
Rabbani said European Islamophobia has had a somewhat different trajectory, emerging initially in response to the theological and territorial challenge presented by the rise of Islam as an alternative monotheistic religion and the expansion of Islamic empires. It was then put into the service of European colonialism in the Middle East and other Muslim territories, and more recently in response to the growth of Muslim migrant populations in Western Europe.
"My impression is that while prejudice against Muslims has certainly intensified, hostility to Islam as a religion has grown exponentially - though the two are obviously interrelated," Rabbani said. "A main effect of [September 11] has been to make Islamophobia not only more widespread but also considerably more mainstream and respectable - it has let the genie out of the bottle."
Solomon said that until recent decades, the US mass media and overall political climate have unequivocally embraced only Christianity. Anti-Jewish undertones - and sometimes explicit anti-Semitism - were present through the middle of the 20th century, until the Jewish faith gained general acceptance, at least in public.
Before and during the air war on Yugoslavia in spring 1999, for instance, a lot of sympathy was generated by the White House and the US news media for Muslim victims of Serbs in Kosovo.
"Granted, this was opportunistic and propagandistic. But the US establishment is quite capable of at least going through the motions of lauding Muslims," Solomon said.
And in fact, the rhetoric of the administration of President George W Bush, with some lapses, has tried to make clear its supposed respect for the Islamic faith while singling out a few Islamic terrorists for condemnation, according to Solomon.
"That said, the hostility toward Muslims in the United States is, overall, appalling. The events of [September 11] were used as an excuse to greatly magnify that hostility and cloak it in pseudo-patriotism."
Source: Asia Times
Topics: Islamophobia, Racism, United States Of America
The only answer I can come up with is that much of the ME makes the same mistake you do in misreading our intentions. They seem to think that the invasion of Iraq was an invasion against Islam. For whatever reasons there were, (you say economic, I say security) an attack against a monotheistic religion would not be something Americans would stand for.
Bush's big mistake is not recognizing this potential. I believe he was thinking in a political sense and did not grasp the religious connotations that would be inferred. He listened to expatriate Iraqis who had their own agendas. He didn't think deposing a despot would be seen as an assault on Islam. I also lay some blame at the feet of the Mullahs who fanned hate and bigotry toward the US to suite their own gains. Issuing fatwa urging the killing of Americans wherever they are and prohibiting Iraqis from participating in their own governance is a twisted perversion of their religious power. You ask, "Why couldn't it be just political strife?" It is not the US that has turned it into a religious struggle.
How would you propose we as citizens of North America begin toward healing this disease?
You repeatedly misread America's intention if you think it is Islam that is being attacked. The vast majority of Americans feel no ill will against the religion of Islam. Bush has stated and on this I think he is telling the truth, that it is not Islam, but the militant political groups who hide behind Allah that are our enemy. The problem is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference. You say we don't have a right to keep track of who enters our country? How else are we to tell the terrorists from the true Muslims? One alternative would be to exclude all Muslims. This would be definitely more Nazi-like and would be against our principles. Your suggestion of instead making a file on all Americans would turn America into a Gestapo state. Visitors to any country should expect that the host country has a right to make sure they are not there to do mischief. The devil is always in the details. I would agree that if innocent people are being unfairly targeted due to this filing system, then they should be prosecuted. The problem is the terrorists have forced us to be overly careful as one mistake could have devastating consequences.
Whether you agree with the action or not, Saddam was overthrown and there is a need for a government in Iraq. What is the best way to achieve this? Killing the very people who are trying to restore order? Is everyone in the ME so intent discrediting the US that they are willing to destroy Iraq? If we pulled out now, who would take their place? Everyone was invited to take part in the interim government and no one has been excluded from running for office. Why are the polling workers and the Iraqis themselves being targeted? Why couldn't the insurgency wait until after the election to see if the US would keep their promise and move out? These are questions I don't have answers to.
You are right, I do not know everything. If(I) thought you were stupid, I wouldn't bother having this discussion. I am trying to learn and a dialogue with those I don't understand seems to be a productive way of learning. It is always easier to see someone else's inconsistencies than your own.
You do misinterpret my statements on hate. Discussions on who started hate are not going to get us toward understanding. Every ethnic and religious group have episodes in their past that they are not particularly proud of and could be a source of continued animosity if such feelings are stoked. I'm sure the Muslims in Turkey would like to forget about the Armenians. The purpose of history is not to remember a reason to hate, but to learn from past mistakes and not repeat them. Americans could do well to remember this as well.
If I sound like I am trying to legitimize US actions, you should understand that there is a lot I don't like about what the US has done. I do grow tired of the US being demonized by everyone. Instead of trying to understand why America acts the way it does, it's easier just to make up stories about how the US hates Muslims and wants to steal all the oil in the ME. I am an American and I do not hate Muslims. I do feel we are at war with terrorists who have declared an unconventional war against the US. These terrorists invoke the name of Allah but are no more Muslim than Saddam. If the reasonable Muslim majority does not think this is a problem, wait until they get into power and then try to practice your brand of Islam without interference.
Hopefully the Palestinians have elected a leader who can move past the hate and do what is best for Palestine. The years of Arafat have not been good to them. Hopefully the young Palestinians who have known nothing but violence can learn to settle disagreements without bombing each other. I will pray with you for their success.
Your second point is true for Muslim countries as well, the Canadian Muslim, Maher Arar was deported by USA to Syria when in transit there and the Syrians put him in jail and tortured him without charges. They did this because USA said so. What would you call Syria? I call her a US Dog. Try that with Canada or with France.
Of course, I've been sarcastic calling OBL a caveman, didn't you realize? What are you talking about Bruce? OBL targeting the innocent as oposed to US military? What about Abu Ghraib? About over 100 000 civilians killed by the US? What about GITMO? Whom are you trying to fool? And to what purpose? Muslim doesn't mean automatically criminal! Reversed? OBL being in the service of such a power versus a rebel? I don't know and it's hard to tell. One can only assume and we all know what assuption is.
Answer to part 2
Your comment in your first paragraph is uneducated and ignorant. You solved the Palestinian-Israeli problem, by Palestinians to stop bombing. What about the Israelis stopping to rob land, kill the youth in gunfire, assassinate anybody they don't like,calling him a terrorist?
I realize that the Palestinian issue is dear to all Muslims. I, too, have sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians. The use of violence on both sides has been the integral factor in the continuation of the downward cycle in the lives of the Palestinians. Just about the time the Americans put pressure on the Israelis to settle the problem, another bomb goes off and Israel feels justified in retaliation. The continued bombings take away any claim the Palestinians may have for the moral high ground. There are too many people on both sides of the fence that have vested interests in continuing the violence. This is another example of how religion and hate are interwoven for the political purposes of their leaders. I think I know the American public better than you. Americans would begin to back the Palestinians more than they already do as soon as the bombings stop.
Maybe if we weren't told every day that the Americans were the sworn enemy of every devout Muslim, we would not have to buy the friendship of the Israelis.
Let me make several points in response to your posting.
Everyone who is the target of hate has a reason to be concerned. Hate leads to actions that cannot be reasoned with or predicted. Religion has very little to do with this basic trait of humanity other than to be used by those who hate to "justify" their behavior. You can find examples of this throughout the world. Using your example, the Orangemen may not become Christianophobes, but I can assure you that the retaliation will be done by Catholicophobes. When, or if, the U.S. stops becoming a common object of hate, the Sunnis will resume their dislike of the Shii. Maybe I am too sensitive, but I see much more hate speech directed at Americans from the ME than vice versa. Your quote "Get the people ascared and afraid and you can toy with them as you like, trust me on that, I saw it done" is a perfect description of how OBL recruits an army.
There are some dangers to having a free society. It is a society, good or bad that I have a say in. The perpetrators of violence are subject to the laws of our land. Most countries have extradition laws that bring criminals back to the country in which they violated the law to receive justice. Those other countries don't consider themselves "U.S. dogs" but rather do so in order to bring criminals to justice.
Describing OBL as a caveman is like saying Bush is a cowboy. Both were born with a silver spoon in their mouth and both have had the luxury of an excellent education. Both feel very strongly about their convictions and both have twisted religion to suit their purposes. Both have harmed innocent people in the pursuit of what they believe. The difference is that OBL targets civilians as opposed to Bush and the US armed services who attemptominimize collateral damage. How much restraint would OBL have used if their positions were reversed?
Allow me to disagree with your last paragraph. "You say I have nothing to fear. Say that to people who lost family members to 9/11." OK, Bruce, let's be blunt for the sake of the argument. On a personal ground I entirely feel with the family members of the victims. I have Muslim friends that lost family in the attack of 9/11. So you see, those Muslims that lost family members in the twin towers should become islamophobes? Or those Christians that lost family members in the IRA bombing of Omagh and all other places, should they become Christianophobes? How many died in the 9/11 attack? Let's admit for simplicity thar 3000 died. How many die in USA from road accidents? Oh, I have even better, how many Americans die from stray bullits? From guns in general? I gues they die of gun related homocides in the tens of thousands! So you have a greater terrorist amongst yourselves, sharing in your style of life and because he is exactly like you, he is not conspicuous and can infiltrate in any neighbourhood and kill at will whomever he pleases. On,"OBL celebrated its success and has vowed to continue his grisly work. He says he doing God's work and has enough supporters to elude the United States Army." I don't know how much is true of this and how much is propaganda. He or anybody because he says he does the will of God doesn't mean that is true! The head of the Spanish Inquisition when he was burning at stake old women and black cats was doing the will of God, wasn't he? I don't know how a man in a cave in the remote mountains of Tora Bora could concoct such a "brilliant" military strategy? This must be then the Napoleon of the Muslim rebels! Far more endowed than the US president.
My point is that Islamophobia, like racism or prejudice of any flavor may start as a legitimate fear and then is extended beyond any reasonable boundary. Islamophobia takes over when we begin to see all Middle Eastern appearing people as terrorists. This happens when we stop talking to our neighbors, stop seeing them as individuals with human feelings and lump them all into a group of irrational terrorists.
One of the quickest ways for racists to strip a person of their humanity is by hurling epithets at them. Words such as "Terrorist", or as I have seen on this website, "Crusader, Infidel, Dog" express hate and quickly supplant any reasonable discourse. When those words are used to describe me, I start to lose my rationality and start responding emotionally. I begin to see the source, not as a neighbor, but as an enemy. The little fear, which may have been legitimate in my eyes, could now grow into an irrational phobia/hate. In my irrational and emotional response, I just verify the source's own bigotry and the cycle begins again.
To stop the cycle of hate/phobia we must on both sides stop calling each other dehumanizing epithets and see each other as human beings with a right to exist.
You say I have nothing to fear. Say that to people who lost family members to 9/11. OBL celebrated its success and has vowed to continue his grisly work. He says he doing God's work and has enough supporters to elude the United States Army. If he is such a fringe in Muslim thought, why is he still at large?
Sirius, if you judge a religion after the deeds of the priests or the actions of the ignorant, you will have the wrong information. The Quran says:"There shall be no compulsion in the Way(Deen)." The Way or Deen(Arabic) means largely Islam or the Way God revealed for things to be. Man was created with a free choice, if he doesn't exercise this fundamental God given right, he is not a human. But any choice a man should make must be when knowledge is fullfilled. Could an ignorant man make decisions in the affairs of the state? Let's admit that Bush is a sad exception, or is he? Bush is more obvious in his ignorance because of the position he fills. However, same ignorant "kings" and maybe even of a more objectional nature lead nations into chaos in this world. Ruwanda massacre was an aftermath of such misgovernace and ignorant decisions.
I live in a country that has as one of its basic tenets, freedom of religion. I live and work next to Muslims, Jews, and Christians and we can have a mutual respect for one another based on their character and not their religion. For all the Bush-Bashing I see, I have not seen a thank you from the Muslim community for his getting up in front of the county after 9/11 and appealing for calm and standing up against hate crimes against Muslims. I would like to see the Ayatollah of Iran stand up and make a similar speech.
If you want to stop Islamophobia, start by restraining your own hate-speech. Not using words like infidel to describe anyone who thinks differently than yourself would be a start. Not making statements that include goals of forming Islamic states across the world would be another step.
If, by your actions, the world sees that Islam is the one true way and they choose to have an Islamic state, so be it. Rattling your scimitars will only cause unholy war and bring out the worst in all of us.
This crusade....... had done its job in the footsteps of the first crusade centuries ago, the only difference was that this crusade....... was 'the champion of modern civilisation'.
You have got the chance to see it down here - how they speak!
Osama - Islam
Osama - Muslim
Osama - Muslim Terrorist
These juglar of 'god-man' and 'man-god' speaks the same way as their faith is, no matter if it is a Jewish tone or American values.
(As my dear brother Akbar Khan once said, nothing gets into their heads). What gets into their heads is
I live in a country that has as one of its basic tenets, freedom of religion. I live and work next to Muslims, Jews, and Christians and we can have a mutual respect for one another based on their character and not their religion. We have accepted, I admit not always easily, people into our culture from all over the globe. For all the Bush-Bashing I see, I have not seen a thank you from the Muslim community for his getting up in front of the county after 9/11 and appealing for calm and standing up against hate crimes against Muslims. I would like to see the Ayatollah of Iran stand up and make a similar speech.
If you want to stop Islamophobia, start by restraining your own hate-speech. Not using words like infidel to describe anyone who thinks differently than yourself would be a start.
If, by your actions, the world sees that Islam is the one true way and they choose to have an Islamic state, so be it. Rattling your scimitars will only cause unholy war and bring out the worst in all of us.
As for Osama, who nurtured him and supported for over a decade ? Do you have the guts to face the truth ? No, I didnt think so, you rabid Islamophobe fascist.
It seems that there has been a severe misunderstanding in terminology, what does the consept "white man" mean over there? A nazi? If there has been misunderstanding I take my hat off and apologise my earlier attack on you. I guess based on that you called me a wolf. It's true, I sometimes become a ferocious one. I'm a tempered man, strong in love and hate and this feature has caused me some trouble even earlier. I'm working on the hate side. Babysteps...
"Some whites here in Toronto sympathize with Hitler, still that doesn't make them war criminals. They are wrong, all right, but as long as they don't set up concentration camps is one individual's freedom of opinion, isn't it?"
You may have spotted one of the main causes of fear of muslims,I guess. Westeners are afraid that some rights they have fought for a long time would be taken off them . In spearhead, freedom of thought and freedom of expression (what is free, what is not, I skip this time) They think they see muslims working for some kind of a totalitarian state and,I guess, you understand such a state would be almost next to nightmare in many minds.
But in quote above you,Hudd, seem to ALLOW even neo-nazis to keep their OPINION (I don't like them either). If this tolerance even for "strange" ideas is WIDELY spread among muslims,then even I have got it wrong at some points, admitted. Way to go, if all this is true I guess there should not be any major obstacles in the way of removing a huge part of this "islamophobia" away. You got to get your message through. Hudd, have your opinions been taken as too liberal among your brothers in faith,any time?
"If Usama is the culprit hunt him down, bring him in front of the high court, strip him of his riches and pay severance to the victims and if the jury sees so, give him the chair or inject him with death." If It's widely agreed among muslims that he is a evildoer...
I guess the rest of your post refers to war, this time in Irak. Hudd, we do have some things in common, more than two hands and legs. I agree 100% that "white men" should not send his armies abroad without heavy, very heavy reasons. This is not the case in Irak.
"Get a life, buddy!" Got one, quite happy, thank you.
Get a life, buddy!
What happens when two SOS's with different organizing paradigms come into conflict. There are four steps to the conflict. In step one, it is efficient to deny the existence of the other and therefore cut off energy expenditure with respect to the other. Typical language in this regard is "there's no such thing", "it doesn't exist", etc. Or its existence can be hidden by the SOS maintainers.
When the existence can no longer be denied the "truth" of the other can be denied. Typical language in this regard is "that ain't true" or for instance "Islam is a false religion." "They worship a false God.", "Their prophet was a epileptic, pedophile, megalomaniac ..." Anything but "rightly guided". Denying the truth cuts off energy expenditure both of the item examining the other and the effort needed to maintain control over the item examining the other.
With stage three however, energy minimization is no longer an option. Energy expenditure must now be ramped up.
"For Armagaden (mother of all wars) will Never occur as long as there are modern muslim regimes.
If there is no Armagaden how will Jesus return?"
So there HAS TO BE this Armageddon?? If it ain't coming fast enough the process must be artificially fastened by evoking more trouble??
"any muslim surprise on these events seems to be dead while existing. the most important thing for us as muslims is to re-awaken ourselves agaist the forces of darkness and falsehood, for darkness and falsehood will perish when there is truth and illumination.
sacrifice and being steadfast is the keyword, lots of us will die, but inshallah , the infidels will utterly perish - bi-hiznillah"
Could opinions like this, possibly, play some role in the rise of so called "islamophobia", what do you think?
I think It's high time for us peaceloving people of every religion to rise against this rising tide of madness.
Our Lord in the heavens, please protect us from evildoers.Have mercy on them whose hearts (Bush, Osama,....................) have been poisoned by blinding hate and show them a way out of their misery.Amen.
No justice without peace.
sacrifice and being steadfast is the keyword, lots of us will die, but inshallah , the infidels will utterly perish - bi-hiznillah
let them plot in unison, and let Allah plot singly, then let's wait and see who will be victorious. they should reason, despite all these massacre of muslims, they still form a large percentage of the world's population, and they are still increasing.
but, there is a fire on the mountain as far as this ummah is concerned. for an ummah without a leader will definitely be led by shaitan or hypocrites like we have in the arab worlds.
the infidels are gathering their arsenals in unison, forming united bodies while "the best ever evolved for man" is breaking away by seconds, what an irony to achieve victory.
where and who is the leader of this oppressed and sullen people, who have been brutalised, raped, massacre, tortured, jailed and bombed by a united forces of darkness, where is the likes of Umar (r.a), abu bakr, uthman and alli in our midst.
charity they say begins at home, the muslim youth must wake up and face this hypocritical and self imposing leaders of theirs who will always connive and sanction the killing of their brethen for a paltry dollars or security, security that lies in Allah and Allah alone, those who could not secure themselves and yet claim to have security. the hypocrites are the worst enemies if we donot know, they must be killed, exiled, maimed and bashed by all halal means.
afterwards, the war against the infidels will be a game between the arch angel (jubril) and the shayateens, just a dinner war, inshallah.
If there is no Armagaden how will Jesus return?