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The Re-emergence of Islamophobia Across The Globe | Guest Post

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(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional; This is not medical advice or scientific fact; the following article is simply my personal findings on studying Covid-19 via the internet. The following article is not intended for anything more than a personal opinion piece.)


By Abdun-Nafay Khawaja

Re-emergence of Islamophobia 

On 22nd July 2011 afternoon, the hundreds of students at a summer youth camp on Utøya island, Norway, heard the news of a terrorist attack in the capital, which killed several people. Such an attack in a remarkably peaceful country, as Norway is, was tragic to everyone who heard about it. Unfortunately for these students, only about two hours later, the perpetrator Anders Breivik arrived on the island, dressed in a police uniform with a fake identity card and armed with several weapons. He started shooting at the students and organizers almost immediately after arrival, even using his false uniform to rally panicking youths around him, and then inhumanely massacring them. By the time he surrendered to a Special Forces unit, he had incredibly cruelly took the lives of no less than four score human beings.

This became not only the most savage terrorist attack of all time in Norway but also the bloodiest civilian-killing spree by a single person in whole human history.

Photo by Mona Termos on Pexels.com

In a similar heart-breaking incident,

the 28-year-old New Zealander Brenton Tarrant entered two mosques in the city of Christchurch on Friday, 15th March 2019, killing 51 people (including children below 5) and wounding 49 within 20 minutes. How little he thought of the victims is evident from the extremely brutal live streaming he made of the shooting on Facebook, as if it were a First-Person Shooting game. A year later, one victim, still in hospital along with his 5-year-old daughter, told BBC in a deeply-touching voice: “I am not going to play the heroism, and tell you that I forgive him. No, I am not!”[1] 

Were these attacks carried out by the Islamic State? 
No, maybe al-Qaeda then?
In truth, they came from a new form of terrorism, which, as it seems, will inevitably dominate the political scene across the Western world in the 2020s.

Both of these inhuman attacks came from far-right nationalists, with the explicitly-stated goal of bringing their poisonous manifestos to international attention. Yes, Islamophobia is not a joke anymore. What kind of person kills dozens only to alarm the White majority of their country against the supposed threat Muslim immigrants pose to their society? You would think this must be indeed an extremely fanatical sort, one-in-a-million type. The harsh reality is the right-wing extremism has grown at a tremendous rate during the last decade, leading to a situation not incomparable to that before World War I.[2] These two attacks conducted in almost the same manner are not rare anymore; it has become something of a tradition for nationalist terrorists all across Europe.[3] 

This phenomenon is not rare to the West, however.

Some countries in Asia, such as China, India, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, are also experiencing a spike in anti-Muslim attacks and policies, mostly under a new generation of ultra-nationalist leaders. Nevertheless, the change in Australia, Europe, and North America is happening much faster than elsewhere.[4] The main trigger to this situation is believed to have been the immigration crisis of the mid-2010s, stemming primarily from the Civil War in Syria. This led to an outcry from right-wing organizations that the immigrants, who rarely integrate completely, are jeopardizing their cultural identity.

[1] The video interview can be found here

[2] For one analysis, see this essay in the Washington Post

[3] One more recent example from Germany can be found here

[4] A passing manifestation of this fact is the number of attacks on the Sikh community in the United States, which has grown enormously to frightening levels after 9/11 attacks in 2001. The reason? The Sikh religion mandates them to grow full-sized beards and wear turbans, which hatemongers mistake for being uniquely Islamic. A short fact sheet published by The Sikh Coalition presents this in a concise manner.


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These allegations of cultural damage are not only misleading;

the perception they give is extremely harmful to peaceful coexistence and tolerance. The traditional liberal values of the West are being challenged not by immigrants, but by self-styled protectors of its civilization. It is more than obvious from the whole human history that intercultural interactions do not deteriorate one culture or the other. Still, they do help to create a peaceful, friendly world for everyone. Moreover, there is practically no possibility of Europe or North America losing its white-dominated status and distinct cultural values anytime in the foreseeable future. 

Moreover, the nationalists do not have any real definition of the race at all. 

If we believe science, then the Bosniak Muslims are no less European or “White” than Germans and French. Similarly, the Latins of Italy and Spain and pale-colored Greeks of Balkans are hardly more European than the “White” Turks. Overall, there is little basis to regard Europeans as a distinct, White race separate from Muslims but similar to each other. Europe contains, as it always historically did, hundreds of different races or ethnicities when defined in any proper way, ranging from Germanic, Celtic, and Slavic to Latin, Greek, and Arab (Maltese) populations. 

There has been no fundamental change in the ethnical map of Europe with the recent wave of immigration by war-afflicted people from the Middle East since it has always remained very diverse already. 

 


Photo by vishnudeep dixit on Pexels.com

Furthermore,

there is no statistical proof that the risk of so-called “Islamist” terror attacks increases with Muslim immigration to a country.

On the contrary, only white-wing terrorism has been successfully demonstrated to increase in direct proportion to immigration.[5] Keeping all that in mind, the human side of racism must be considered. Just like Germans will not like being discriminated against by Arab nationalists in their region, the poor war-stricken people who flee to Europe do not actually love to be insulted, hated, or killed by White Germans either. What they need the most is compassionate care and sympathy, not further hate and violence. They have trusted the Western countries to provide them with security and opportunities, and they should not be betrayed. The White supremacist who discriminates against such people is not showing them how superior his civilization is; on the contrary, he might be implying that his culture is full of xenophobic hate, which apparently is not true and does not serve his goals. In the end, we all need to consider this simple question.

If we are perfectly fine with the dozens or hundreds of ethnic groups already in our country for centuries, what is the point of burning hatred against a new group who recently joined all the others? 

[5] This article by Washington Post summarizes it.

Abdun-Nafay Khawaja



Ramadan Mubarak - 2020 - Happy Ramadan
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