The scourge of Is­lam­o­pho­bia,

AR­TI­CLE IN BRIEF: The sec­re­tary­gen­eral of the OIC ex­plores the grow­ing phe­nom­e­non of in­tol­er­ance di­rected to­ward Mus­lims, and sug­gests pos­si­ble meth­ods to turn the tide of prej­u­dice. The OIC views Is­lam­o­pho­bia as a new form of racism, one char­ac­ter­ized by

Turkish Review - - CONTENTS - By Ek­meled­din İh­sanoğlu

In 1848, while writ­ing the Com­mu­nist Man­i­festo, Karl Marx sounded a warn­ing that “a specter is haunt­ing Europe, the specter of Com­mu­nism.” A cen­tury and half later, in the 21st cen­tury, we are wit­ness­ing another specter haunt­ing Europe, the specter of Is­lam­o­pho­bia. The dic­tio­nary def­i­ni­tion of pho­bia is a strong, ir­ra­tional or very pow­er­ful fear and dis­like of some­thing. Go­ing by this def­i­ni­tion, Is­lam­o­pho­bia would con­note that Is­lam is a re­li­gion to be feared and its fol­low­ers brack­eted as po­ten­tial sources of ter­ror. This is not only ab­surd and fal­la­cious, but is part of a no­to­ri­ous cam­paign of Western ex­trem­ist right-wing in­di­vid­u­als and groups, driven by a vit­ri­olic an­tipa­thy to­ward an Abra­hamic faith that has at its core the val­ues of peace, com­pas­sion, tol­er­ance and re­spect for other faiths. Fur­ther­more, the el­e­ment of fear in Is­lam­o­pho­bia can­not be dis­counted when one con­sid­ers its per­pe­tra­tors are ac­tive in their ef­forts to in­still fear among non-Mus­lims, mo­ti­vat­ing them to view Is­lam as a faith based on ter­ror and evil. The re­sul­tant ef­fect is that Mus­lims liv­ing in many Western so­ci­eties are made to live in a con­stant state of fear of racial at­tack and dis­crim­i­na­tion.

In­tol­er­ance of Is­lam and Mus­lims is not novel in the West, where -- in one form or another -- it has a long his­tory.

The ter­ror­ist act car­ried out by a group of peo­ple with Mus­lim names in 2001 -- what is oth­er­wise known as Sept. 11 -- served the Is­lam­o­phobes well, al­low­ing them to ex­ploit the in­ci­dent to de­mo­nize Is­lam and sub­ject Mus­lims to col­lec­tive pun­ish­ment. The fact that the Mus­lim world was loud in its con­dem­na­tion of Sept. 11, that it cat­e­gor­i­cally re­jected ter­ror­ism in all forms and man­i­fes­ta­tions, and that Mus­lim states paid a heavy price for their rigid and staunch po­si­tion against ter­ror­ism, did not re­ceive due recog­ni­tion in the Western world. Rather, the an­tiIs­lam and Mus­lim el­e­ments had their way in pur­su­ing their agenda of hate, dis­tort­ing the im­age of Is­lam and vic­tim­iz­ing Mus­lims. The mo­men­tum in the anti-Is­lam cam­paign was kept alive by per­sis­tent pub­li­ca­tion of in­sult­ing ma­te­rial, in­clud­ing cartoons of Mus­lims’ holi­est sym­bols, in the name of free­dom of ex­pres­sion. The elec­tronic and so­cial me­dia have also been handy tools in the glob­al­iza­tion of the hate cam­paign and

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Turkey

© PressReader. All rights reserved.