The World and Islamophobia

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines Islamophobia as unreasonable dislike or fear of, and prejudice against, Muslims or Islam. The discussion around this subject was put on the shotgun seat post 9/11, in the backdrop of UNSC sanctions against Iraq for then over a decade (which had already crippled the nation and its people) when the Bush administration found 'links' between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein. 

This was followed by an invasion that sealed the deal and wrapped a blood-red ribbon around Iraq and its neighbor, Syria, and handed it over to the IS. In his book Homo Deus – A Brief History of Tomorrow, Dr. Yuval Noah Harari equates the US to a bull, terrorists to a fly, and the Middle East to a china shop. He writes, 'The fly is so weak that it cannot budge even a single teacup. So it finds a bull, gets inside its ears, and starts buzzing. The bull goes wild with fear and anger, and destroys the china shop.' 

US and Islamophobia

The fundamentalists had the last laugh. They hated Hussein and loathed the US. And they prevailed. Since then, the Bush administration has been put under fire and accused of poisoning the American minds through incessant propaganda, to link the two based purely on conjecture and without any reasonable evidence. In an article for Harper's Magazine, journalist David Armstrong writes that this was part of the US plan for global domination which could be traced back to Bush Senior in 1990, at the end of the Cold War, and put to motion by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. But, we all know that the world changed for the worse when all these things were put to motion. 

Now, with the al-Qaida, Taliban, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, and several other Islamic terror outfits operating globally and recruiting aggressively, Muslims have become a punching bag for the right-wing extremists and neo-conservatives. Nearly two decades later, the US President has similar things to say on the issue. Only he's blatantly and unapologetically anti-Islamic and the rise of Conservative politics across the globe means that this belief finds resounding support because the US says it's right. This discussion has now jumped to the driver's seat. 

The Blame Game

This discussion could extend to the ever-lasting Israel-Palestine conflict, the situation in Afghanistan, or any number of other issues that prevail in modern times, particularly in Islamic states, but according to the Washington Post, Muslims are mainly fighting one another, not the West. And the numbers back this up. 'In 2012,' the Washington Post article says, 'there were six civil wars worldwide. 

All took place within Muslim countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. Of the nine rebel groups in these conflicts, seven had an Islamist ideology.' All this is to say that most of the victims and victors of such wars are Muslims, themselves. Then why is the narrative so easily skewed against the Muslim population and in favor of other religious groups? It's because of selective reporting/partisanship by the media and people's confirmation bias. It's a self-sustaining cycle.

India and Islam

Closer home, India has had its history of bloody communal riots. Now, the incumbent government and judiciary have also been at the receiving end of several accusations, particularly in light of certain recent events. These religious tensions flared up especially around the government's decision to implement CAA and NRC, dissolution of Article 370 and 35a, Supreme Court's verdict in favor of Ram Mandir and declaring Triple Talaq to be unconstitutional, issues of lynching reported from different parts of the country and talks of a uniform civil code. The important thing to understand is that irrespective of what side you're on, this kind of hatred and malice is unjustified.

Tablighi Jamaat – The Truth

When the news of members of Tablighi Jamaat congregation broke down, large sections of the Indian population felt like it warranted a nationwide call to action against the Muslim population at large, which they shared through their hate-fuelled social media outlets. 

This is the kind of excuse people look for to take down religious groups and identities they fail to identify with. Importantly though, on August 22, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court quashed the FIRs filed against the several foreign nationals in connection with the Tablighi Jamaat congregation, pondering over the possibility that they were made scapegoats in the matter by the widespread propaganda of the various print and electronic media outlets.

Compassion vs Convenience 

All this is to say that one of the rules of representativeness assumptions in critical reasoning is that for a sample to be representative it must be both quantitatively and qualitatively representative, meaning that a large enough sample must be chosen and this sample must be diverse enough. In simple words, the likelihood of a follower of Islam being inherently violent is the same as that of the believer of some other religion or belief. 

Due to crimes of a few and the agenda-fuelled branding by various media channels, an entire community of peace-loving people faces alienation, harassment, and hatred regularly. Just because your beliefs don't align with that of others', doesn't mean that they are wrong. All it means is they are different and this difference must be appreciated and respected. 

This goes for everyone. Respect and love are the core tenets of humanity. Try to understand why people do what they do, their motivations, and their stories. And even when you don't have the time or drive to learn about these things, remember that you can't get away with threatening people's subjective reality, because you just know the cliff-notes version.

"I believe in the religion of Islam. I believe in Allah and Peace."

- Muhammad Ali 

Written by - Shivansh Shandilya

Edited by - Arnav Mehra

Post a comment