Why Islamophobia Is On The Rise In The US And Europe

Thomas Friedman, a Jews-American economist once said, “Had Muslims be running Europe in 1940, then 6 million extra Jews would be still alive today.”
After the establishment of Muslim rule in Spain in 711 AD – Europe gradually was ruled by Muslim overlong more than 800 years. Subsequently, in the period of Ottoman Empire- Islam began to flourish across the whole Europe. Hence, They set out to contribute to Europe in some of the major contexts- Science, Art, Philosophy, Politics, and so on. Al-Khwarizmi who introduced Westerns with Mathematics and modern Algorithms; Ibn Sina who is deemed as the father of early modern Medicine, lived amongst the golden age of Islam. However, in the progressive journey of almost 1400 years, the current spectacle of Islam seems antithetical from what it was in the first place. A few aspersions have forcefully been politicised with the glory of Islam- Islamophobia is the newest one of them.
Islamophobia- the new concern was outset in 1970. Yet, it grabbed popularity in the 90s- when Salman Rushdie, an Indian- British novelist excoriated Prophet Mohammad (SWA) in his book ‘Satanic Verses’. However, that was not the first hit on Islam but a colossal one. Consequently, the whole Muslim community across the world expressed severe condemnation against such defamation of their Prophet- some stepped a bit further.
Threatening Rushdie for this stricture, Iran declared a death penalty that set the West off to respond in an unprecedented way. It was as though the west was persistently waiting for this outrageous situation to be taken place. Exemplifying Iran some of the Western states along with mainstream media began to propagate mythical aspects of Islam as to how Muslims are run by their Shariah Law and could declare open killings to suppress free speeches. Albeit this propaganda war didn’t sustain much longer until the gruesome onrush of 9/11. Which is still passed as the deadliest terrorist attack in US history.
The Post 9/11 period induced an entire change in world politics. A new fear stemmed from the lesion that flowed beyond the flashpoint. Political and social reactions to this incident led to fuel excessive bigotry and violence towards Muslims. Using this sentiment, the west began to portray Islam as a religion of violence and extremism. Excepts 9/11 attack, anti-Muslim groups were seen to strengthened their stance by bringing the precedents of bombings in the London Underground, series of terrorist attacks in Mumbai, prolonging the ideological war in Syria and Afghanistan. Whereas, Christians or other religious faiths have never been through the same accusation despite conducting Crusades, two deadly World Wars, Spanish incursions, European Colonialism in Asia and Africa, Anti-Jewish programs, or even countless bombs attacks in the US and Europe. Even mosques attack in New Zealand, and most recent terrorist attack in Canada couldn’t reflect the prospective concern as they are deduced to be. But considerably, it raised a huge concern as to whether religious fundamentalism was responsible in persuading these attacks.
Having Studied 315 cases of Suicide Terrorism from 1980 to 2005, Robert Pape, one of the terrorism experts of the University of Chicago revealed- there is little connection between suicide terrorism and Fundamentalism of any other religion. Moreover, these attacks are predominantly perpetrated for the strategic purpose of states and organizations. Even when Islamic State (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda proclaimed to conduct their so-called Jihad merely against the non-Muslims- why are they frequently seen to capture, torture, and slaughter countless of innocent Muslims? If terrorists are precisely led by the law of Islam, why mosques and Islamic artifacts were demolished in Pakistan? Does it provide any perception that in the name of Islam, some are lean towards annihilating Muslims?
Elsewhere, some of the indecisive questions that are still sustaining concerning who backed Al-Qaeda to fight against Russia in Afghanistan; who is responsible for ‘the emergence of ISIS and patronizing this notorious organization’ to combat against Assad regime in Syria? Can the western governments ever negate their failure for initiating new fears across the world? Can some of the western media ever be spared themselves from believing the facts repeatedly?
From the Eighteenth century, the news media and press have been turning over as the major sources of power and referred to as the “fourth estate” or “fourth power.” Following the agenda-setting theory, the press doesn’t reflect as it is based on- rather many of them filter information in favoring the interest of states, groups, and individuals. They have been attempting to centralize and marginalize the idea that only Muslims, in particular, are responsible for any sorts of Extremism; whilst the world is now witnessing plenty of terrorist attacks conducted by in the faith of Christianity, Buddhism, and Judaism. Investigating all the terrorist attacks in the US between 1980-2005- an FBI investigation report revealed that 94% of them were committed in the name of White Supremacism, race, and other religious faith. Then, why is Islamophobia on the rise in the US and Europe?
A recent study by the University of Alabama showed that in the US, terrorist attacks by Muslim Extremists receive 357% more press attention than any other non-Muslim terrorist attacks. Apart from this, another research led by Signal AI – where 200000 articles of 11 attack in 80 different languages, concluded that Islamic State (ISIS) inspired attackers are three times more likely to be portrayed as “terrorist” than far-right and White-Supremacist attackers. As a result, anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe and America has alarmingly been skyrocketing in the last few years. Surprisingly, the hate crimes in 2020 recorded in these two continents are far more than the year of the 9/11 attack. Experts opine that this anti-Muslim motto is now generated by politics rather than faith. Pursuant to this, Trump in the US, Macron in France, Modi in India are frequently exemplified for exercising anti-Muslim posture to win the election race. A survey showed, 44% of the citizens in the US say, a candidate’s endorsement of the ban of Muslims would increase his approval in the election.
Since we are living in an era of hate, Islamophobia is not only practiced to get political vantage but is also deemed to be a profitable business either at the organizational and state level. The fact is- motivated by anti-Muslim hatred, the extremists who are involved in pulling down the mosques and in gunning down innocent Muslims could hardly identify their shadows in this business. Ironically, instead of preventing terrorism rather they head to create another version of it. What it is look like when defining a minority of Muslims as terrorists, states encourage Extremists’ to shot other innocent Muslims down the street, mosques, or elsewhere? Isn’t it another version of terrorism?
Conducting a research in 2019, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) manifests an idea that those who have no knowledge at all on Islam are keen to take part in anti-Muslim violence. Hence, 57% of Jews citizens in the US are more favorable towards Muslims as they know Muslims in person. Where white Evangelicals are appeared to be least tolerant with Muslim as they keep no clear perception about Islam.
Knowing about Islam is a basic predictor for lowering Islamophobia, whereas knowing a Muslim is only a modern predictor. More explicitly, knowing a Muslim as a friend is not as powerful of a protective factor against Islamophobia is knowing about the faith itself. Every religion is based on faith. They are profoundly interconnected with the root of Worshippers’ thoughts and acts. Worshippers do shape them, complete them, and are even responsible for transforming them into diverse shapes and colors. What religion itself has to do if it is misinterpreted and misconceived by a minority of its beliefs.
Nonetheless, Islam is not a pacifistic faith- indeed no religion can ever be. Islam allows Military actions in certain limited contexts- as every religion maintain in terms of their self-defense. Perhaps, a minority of the believers misinterpret and carry it out of the context. There are 1.8 billion Muslims observing their faith around the world- and for the sake of argument, if it is assessed that less than 0.01% aberrant believers allow violence, terror and discriminate killings- then what about the other 99.99% law-abiding Muslims who have embraced Islam as a religion of peace, cooperation, love, and compassion?