Critical Commentary: Islamophobia

Posted on September 26, 2012 by

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We live in a world today where the previously popular religions are losing their footing to a growing population of atheists. Despite this fact, the tension between the various religious groups still seems to be rising.

Defined by dictionary.com as a “hatred or fear of Muslims or of their politics or culture”, Islamophobia is growing in the United States and Western Europe.

As this Islamophobia spreads further, tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims throughout the world and in particular across the Middle East continue to rise. As Stewart Hoover says in his blog, with increased globalization, it is easier for the freedom of speech in the west to be heard and offend others worldwide. A perfect example of this is the recent anti-Islam film that we have all heard about and the resulting riots and protests that spread throughout the Middle East. This film also sparked a controversy over whether or not Islamophobia is justified or not.

Some people argue that based on the actions of a few radical Muslims that it is rational to fear all Muslims. Thereligionofpeace.com defines an Islamophobe as “a non-Muslim who knows more than they are supposed to know about Islam”. This definition screams bias. People should know to keep it in the back of their mind that whatever they post on the internet can be seen by others and it seems like common sense (if nothing else common courtesy) not to insult something or someone that a particular group of people reveres highly. With that said the ones who are watching these things and taking offense to it should be able to handle the issues in a mature manner. That does not include killing innocent Americans solely because a man who happened to be in America posted an offensive video. The video, as President of the United States Barack Obama said, is “an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well.”

With the increasing Islamophobia there are those promoting it and those trying to outlaw it. A Tennessee Republican made a statement saying that Islam is the cause for the death of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya just a week or so ago. This man has a point, being that those responsible for the killing would not have done what they did if it was not for Islam. But that does not mean that it is because of Islam that the man was killed. The act of violence that resulted in the Ambassador’s death was a result of the small group of radical Muslims that by no means represent the group as a whole. To group all of the Muslims together like this is stereotyping and unfair to the Muslims that are trying to confront the issue in a peaceful way.

Alan Johnson describes Islamophobia as racism that is simply “wrapped in religious terms”. I could not agree more with this statement. It’s true, there are Muslims that are willing to do anything for their religion including killing seemingly innocent people, but for every one that is that way there are much more that are level-headed. Lumping all Muslims together as being dangerous and hating their culture for it is most definitely a form of racism.

Regardless of whether or not Islamophobia is justified or not, I think we can all agree that until we start to accept people for who they are and what they believe in, we won’t ever be able to achieve true freedom for anyone.

 

 

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Posted in: Islam