Mohammad Pervez Bilgrami
The ever- rising crescendo of Islamophobia in the West seems to be reaching to an alarming proportion now. This can only be compared to the Anti-Semitism of the Nazi Germany that began its tide in the late 19th century and slightly subsided in the mid 20th century, but meanwhile succeeded in completely crushing the Jewish community and throwing them out of Europe. Now the same tide seems to have turned against Muslims in the form of a growing hatred towards the community. Most ironically, the yesterday’s victims of anti-Semitism are today’s chief sponsors of the West-driven Islamophobia.
What just started as sundry whispers of criticism in response to the terrorist activities of the so-called Islamists has now grown into a full-blown upsurge of Islamophobia that is manifested in many ways, ranging from overt expressions of hatred or discrimination against individual Muslims to organized violent attacks by mobs, state police, or even military attacks on certain Muslim communities.
In America, Islamophobia is quite common, particularly among Republicans. The former American President, George W Bush and his lackeys hardly minced words in showing their deep hatred for Muslims. Then, there are likes of Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal, who lose no opportunity in showing their prejudices against Muslims. Mike, the former Governor of Arkansas and a candidate in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries, once made a ridiculous remark, while referring to a ritual during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, “Can someone explain to me why it is that we tiptoe around a religion that promotes the most murderous mayhem on the planet in their so-called ‘holiest days’?” Obviously, his remark devoid of any sound logic and demonstrates sheer Islamophobia.
Jindal, who is the current Governor of Louisiana and Vice Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, claims to be more American than any native American (recently he turned very angry when the Indian press called him Indian American) and more Christian than any other Christian in the world. Recently, he ran to England to warn the European Christians of the great danger of “no-go zones” that is blanketing Europe and where Sharia law is in force and non-Muslims are not permitted. Surprisingly, the entire Christian community of Europe could not know it, and an idiot like Jindal had to come all the way from the US of A to tell them about this impending danger.
No matter how silly his statement was, he very much succeeded in further consolidating his vote banks among the gullible Republican voters who eagerly responded to his nakedly anti-Muslim rhetoric. Soon after his return from the trip, he held a big prayer rally, explicitly advertised as an event to celebrate Christianity.
Islamophobia seems to be rapidly spreading in Europe like an epidemic. In the United Kingdom (UK), there are political parties or groups like BNP or EDL, which are deeply and vociferously anti-Muslims.
BNP or the British National Party is a far-right political party that advocates the reintroduction of capital punishment and opposes same-sex marriage, multiculturalism and what it perceives as the Islamification of the UK. It is wrong to say that they have marginal presence there. An electoral breakthrough in 2008-2009 led to the BNP holding over fifty local council seats, forming the official opposition on Barking and Dagenham Council, winning a seat in the London Assembly and having leader Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons elected as Members of the European Parliament (MEP) in the North West and Yorkshire and Humber regions respectively.
Similarly, EDL or the English Defense League (EDL) is another political group that is overtly racist, mainly preoccupied with street demonstrations against the Muslim community. Although it claims only to be opposing Islamic extremism, in reality, it targets the entire Muslim community and its actions deliberately seek to whip up tensions and violence among Muslim and non-Muslim communities. Many of its protests have resulted in violence, and it taps into wider anti-Muslim feelings.
What started as a random collection of football hooligans and a loose alliance of people around various social networking websites has now developed into a new social movement. It now has thousands of supporters across the country. It is said that in the recent time the EDL has emerged as the largest social movement in England, often holding councils and local authorities to ransom with its demands carrying the threat of up to tens of thousands of members descending on towns and cities and bringing them to a standstill.
It will be highly erroneous to take these organizations lightly. They are vast while going from strength to strength and getting supports from like-minded neo-fascists. Recently, American talk radio host Michael Savage, a popular media figure, publicly announced his support for the EDL, stating, "How does England take the Islam-o-fascists spitting on their war dead, without letting the English Defense League wade into them with pipes and beer bottles, I'll never understand". The EDL is now considered to be on the top of a chain of so many scattered anti-Muslims groups in the UK that have sprung up recently.
Apparently, the main focus of these groups is to oppose what it considers to be a spread of Islamism and Sharia in the United Kingdom. However, their hidden agenda is as dangerous as those of the terrorists in the world.
After the BNP and EDL, now there is a new group, Pegida, which is fast spreading its tentacles in the UK. Pegida’s anti-Islam movement started in Germany first. According to the German press, its weekly marches in Dresden have grown very popular and are attended by as many as 25,000 Germans. Thanks to the big time mass media coverage of its street demonstration in the aftermath of last month’s attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the organization has now set its strong root in the entire West. Initially it claimed that “it is trying to defend Germany from ‘Islamisation’ at the hands of Muslim immigrants”, but now it is trying to defend not just Germany but the entire Christian world.
The reason why the ominous adoption of Islamophobia by the neo-Fascist groups like BNP, EDL or Pegida, is particularly significant that unlike the earlier version of anti-Semitism, especially in 1970s, there are now vast sections of the mass media and established reputed organizations in the world, which are either outright anti-Muslims or relatively sympathetic towards the communal outbursts against Muslims. One needs not go far to look through them and find quite hostile views towards Islam and Muslims. The West’s Islamophobia, a deliberate creation of a racist and misanthropic mindset, is certainly not a good signal for the civilized world. In fact, the growing Islamophobia with all its blatant fallacies is an evil design to checkmate the growing popularity of Islam and its holistic guidance to the humanity in all sectors of life and beyond the geographical boundaries.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Mayıs 2015, 14:41