Dealing with Islamophobia

Category: Americas, Featured, World Affairs Topics: Islam, Islamophobia Views: 6983
6983

Not one day goes by that I don't come across a term being used in the media - broadcast or print - that goes against the very tenets of Islam, the faith of more than 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.
 
"Islamic Terrorist," "Muslim Terrorist," and many other offensive and acrimonious expressions have been used ad nauseam that they now seem to occupy unending position in many prominent and not-so-prominent newspapers and TV outlets. The term "Islamic Terrorist" indicates that Islam has something to do with terrorism; that obviously leads to misapprehension of this great faith. Likewise, "Muslim Terrorist" erroneously informs the audience that Muslims are inherently terrorists.
 
These gross misinterpretations intensely produce a domino effect and ultimately results in the negative stereotyping of Muslims and Islam. Isn't that a great disservice to a faith that preaches tolerance and compassion towards humanity at large and considers killing of the innocent people as the greatest transgression?
 
God says in the Qur'an:

Because of that We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land - it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind ... (Qur'an 5:32)

Yes, there are terrorists in every community. And some people who claim to be Muslims may also be terrorists. But, a terrorist is just a terrorist. He or she is not following the commandments of any faith when engaging in such a despicable act.
 
Question arises as to why there is so much ignorance of Islam?
 
Well, it could be attributed to the fact that Muslims, at least in part, are responsible for not delivering the message as it was intended. However, journalists and writers, regardless of their religious affiliation, should do their own research as well and refer to the authentic sources to make them knowledgeable enough to write on the subject. Without doing comprehensive, thorough, and investigative analysis on the subject, any writing may fail to meet its objectives.

A little rationalization can go a long way. There is no need to add any adjective to define terrorism. To put it simply, terrorism is terrorism, and no faith preaches terrorism.
 
Broadly speaking, the need of the hour demands that a journalist cannot afford to remain ignorant of Islam or any other subject while writing on a relevant topic. That is because journalistic integrity is of paramount importance. Therefore, why not acquire the knowledge of the relevant subject from the reliable sources prior to penning it? And this applies to any journalist or writer - Muslim or non-Muslim alike - who intends to cover any issue.
 
The masses should be protected from the inappropriate portrayal of their faiths. In this misrepresentation lies anathema to the justice and peace, and hampers the progress of rebuilding and reconciliation to bring all the communities together.
 
Anti-Semitism, preached and practiced by the hatemongers against Jews, has been significantly overcome by applying due diligence, including enacting laws at many levels. Hitherto, these effective steps taken from the social and legal perspective have tremendously weakened, if not completely eliminated, the anti-Semitic forces.

If anti-Semitism has been overcome because of those concrete measures, Islamophobia that now rears its ugly head should also be dealt with unequivocally; the required concerted effort should be exerted to thwart elements that espouse it. International laws should be enacted to counteract successfully this increasing threat. Furthermore, at community level, interfaith meetings - held at regular intervals - can help dispel the myth about Islam because therein lies the delivery of appropriate education and the required communication among various communities.
 
Temporizing on the issue would aggravate the already critical state. The motto of "rights and dignity to everyone" would merely remain a sanctimonious slogan if we fail to deliver on this concern. It is imperative that we realize it now and aggrandize our efforts to consequently deal with this rising menace.

*****

Asad Latif has an engineering background and is a writer based in Toronto, Canada. He writes on diverse issues - social, political, economic, religious, and technological. He can be reached at alatif2002yahoo.ca


  Category: Americas, Featured, World Affairs
  Topics: Islam, Islamophobia
Views: 6983

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Older Comments:
TOWARDS_UNDERSTANDING FROM CANADA said:
Anders Behring Breivik who bombed and killed so many peaceful fellow countrymen in Norway has been reported as fundamentalist Christian. Baruch Goldstein who killed innocent worshippers in Hebron belonged to ultraorthodox Jewish group. And the Tamil Tigers who belong to Hindu faith have committed suicide bombings, killing a large number of civilians. I can go on further, but these examples should suffice to explain the point.

Obviously, no faith or community would associate with these terrorists. I am a Muslim and have lived in three continents. I have found that most of the Muslims are peaceful. Most of the scholars in Islam have condemned terrorism in the strongest possible terms.

Here is a website that provides the compilation of fatwas and denouncement by Islamic scholars and the Muslim organizations around the world:

http://www.muhajabah.com/otherscondemn.php

I have always condemned terrorism wherever it takes place. Also, I don't want that my faith and the entire community are put on trial whenever any such dastardly act takes place.
2011-08-05

WENDY FROM USA said:
The so-called "Islamic Terrorist" is doing what he believes Islam
teaches .How do you deal with the fact that many are taught the words
of the Prophet spoken later in life eliminate and take precedent over
those spoken earlier? Under this common theory Islam requires the
murder of Christians and Jews and the domination of the world by
Sharia law.While I do believe American Muslims are taught a peaceful
interpretation of their faith others are taught a much different view
making violence for their faith a necessary part of Islam.I do not
think the term is a tactic by anti-Muslim entities to spread
Islamophobia.
2011-08-04

ROMESH CHANDER FROM USA said:
Note to HA:

Sure, expose your religion. Tell everybody that you are a muslim. And then don't complain if infidels don't treat you nicely. Life is not fair; after all, this is planet Earth, not God's Kingdom. Nobody listens to complaints or cares for the complainers.
2011-07-31

TOM FROM USA said:
I think what Islam needs is a giant P. R . campaign to expose the good in Islam and Muslims in general. I was watching a show on PBS not to long ago and showed a hospital in i believe Malaysia and all the staff shown were Muslim nurses and 1 man that delivered food to needy families. How many times have i seen this as far as showing Islam in a good light? Answer NONE . But Everyday i here Muslim terrorist , Jihad this , Radical that. Most people in the U.S. would not know a Muslim if they fell over one. We have to take the bull by the horns and go out of our way to bring people around to what a beautiful faith we have. If not the hate mongers will still be beating the " Islam is a death cult forever". We must take this hate speech very seriously . Salam Alakium to all.
2011-07-30

H.A. FROM YAHTHIB said:
Oh believers! The more the disbelievers complain about your religion, the more you should expose your religion and extinct their hatred; its called extinction by exposure and this is the only way to defeat evil.

Do not hide behind closed doors like cowards. Fear NONE but Allah.

2011-07-28

ROMESH CHANDER FROM USA said:
Dealing with Islamophobia!. In a multicultural, multiethnic, multireligious society, it is very simple. Don't go advertising "I am a Muslim". Just keep your religion to private, at home and at the mosque; not in the public or at the office. Nobody will know your religion, nobody will bother you. Nobody bothers me; I have a beard and look like a muslim. Jews have very little problem of Judeophobia; they rarely ever tell anybody that they are jews and very few of them ever wear a kippa on the head.

You muslims create your own problems; someday, people are going to get angry and I mean really angry. Don't complain then, because complaining won't do any good; nobody is going to listen to even valid complaints. But then muslims are impractical; they consider themselves self-righeous and won't listen. Do I care and worry? Hardly.
2011-07-27

ASH FROM USA said:
I do agree on every point you make except for the issue of laws made
to combat Islamaphobia. I think education, debate, and dialouge at a
logical reasonable discourse level is the best way to combat this.
Laws that force people to abide by certain rules will only cause more
problems and give those spreading the threat of Islam more fire. As an
American myself and a Muslim I do not want the government telling me
what I can or cannot say, but like I said we do need change, but I
believe it has to come from the Muslim community not from any
government.
2011-07-27