Islamophobia illegally being legalized in West

A basic Islamophobia definition is that it is “an extreme fear of and hostility toward Islam and Muslims.” It is the anti-Muslim sentiment that can be widespread and can have many negative impacts.

Islamophobia often leads to hate speech and hate crimes and can be used to rationalize policies such as mass surveillance, incarceration, and disenfranchisement. It can also influence domestic and foreign policy and can promote discriminatory policies that serve the interests of political actors.

Islamophobia illegally being legalized in West

Debates about Islamophobia have become a recurrent and controversial topic in the Western world in the last few years. Although Islamophobia has existed for a long time, following the recent immoral act of Quran desecration in Sweden, were going to take a look at how the false claimants of human rights misuse the issue of freedom of speech to spread hatred against Islam and Muslim people.

Islamophobia as a political tool

American and European domestic and foreign policies and politics, and the notion of a so-called global “war on terrorism”, have played a major role in the growth of Islamophobia domestically and internationally.

Islamophobia has become one of the instruments Western politicians use to cover up their failures and politicians who fail in foreign policy, get stuck inside and put their personal rivalries before their offices, trying to camouflage their inadequacy by attacking Muslims.

Islamophobia in the United States

The United States prides itself on its freedom, including freedom of religion. But while Muslim Americans may be free to practice Islam, they still find themselves facing prejudice and discrimination from society.

In an article published on the website of Stanford University, it is mentioned that Islamophobia is ever present in US culture: mosques are vandalized, local government officials denounce Islam, and state legislatures debate anti-Muslim laws. Political leaders and media voice extreme anti-Muslim statements and policies. Muslim Americans frequently find themselves being questioned on their citizenship, belonging, and safety in a space they rightfully call home.

In 2017, 75% of Muslim Americans reported that “there is a lot of discrimination against Muslims”, with 48% of them reporting incidents of discrimination within the last year. After Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign started, Islamophobia peaked, and the number of assaults against Muslims in America rose significantly between 2015 and 2016.

Donald Trump accuses Muslims of spreading hatred and terrorism while it was himself that revealed the ISIL terrorist group was formed by the previous US President Barack Obama. Donald Trump, in an act of terror, directed the assassination of Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in 2020. 

Islamophobia in US public schools is also a prevalent and ongoing problem, according to a report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Interviews with 700 Muslim students in schools in the state of California found high levels of Islamophobic bullying, harassment, and discrimination by peers and adults, including teachers.

Instances of Islamophobia in Europe 

Countries in Europe are allowing hate crimes against Muslims by legalizing Islamophobia and introducing laws that are banning or limiting their religious practices.

Germany – Germany guarantees freedom of religion in its constitution, the Basic Law. However, according to a survey by the German Council of Experts on Integration and Migration presented in autumn 2022, one-third to one-half of the 15,000 respondents to the survey expressed anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic attitudes.

Islamophobia “is a form of misanthropy that has entered the mainstream,” said Abdassamad El Yazidi, the secretary-general of Germany’s Central Council of Muslims. “It has become acceptable and can be expressed openly.”

England and Wales – Hate crimes recorded by police in England and Wales have skyrocketed for the year ending March 2022 by 26%, according to statistics revealed by the Home Office figures.

The number of religious hate crimes recorded by police and targeting Muslims was 3,459 in the year ending March 2022, showing a 42% increase. According to government figures, there were 155,841 hate crimes on record – the biggest increase since the year ending March 2017. The majority of hate crimes were racially motivated, accounting for over two-thirds of all such offenses (70%; 109,843 offenses).

France – France’s top administrative court has ruled against a group of female Muslim football players in their case against the French Football Federation (FFF), upholding a ban on the Islamic headscarf during games. 

The Council of State (Conseil d’Etat) ruled that “the ban enacted by the FFF is suitable and proportionate.” “Sports federations, in charge of proper functioning of the public service whose management is entrusted to them, may impose on their players an obligation of outfit neutrality during competitions,” the statement read.

Under the Islamic dress code, it is mandatory for women to cover up their hair. However, under France’s laws on laïcité (secularism) it is forbidden to wear the Islamic headscarf – in government buildings, including schools. Public officials such as teachers, firefighters, or police officers are also banned from wearing the hijab while they are at work.

Sweden and Netherlands – Recently the Holy Quran was desecrated in it Stockholm and The Hague in broad daylight. 

On January 23, Edwin Wagensveld, a far-right Dutch politician, a provocateur, and leader of the Islamophobic group Pegida, tore pages from the Quran in The Hague, the administrative capital of the Netherlands.

Two days earlier, in another provocative act, far-right politician Rasmus Paludan, a dual Danish-Swedish national, known for his anti-Islam extremism, burned a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm under police protection and with permission from the authorities. A week later, Paludan repeated the act, setting ablaze a copy of the revered Islamic book outside a mosque in Denmark, again under the police cover.

In late June, In a repeated and state-authorized instance of sacrilege against the Muslim holy book, two men stood outside the Swedish capital of Stockholm’s central mosque on Wednesday and burned a copy of the Muslim holy book following a go-ahead given to them by a Swedish court.

The move was made to coincide with the Muslim festivity of Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), which marks the conclusion of the annual Hajj pilgrimage that is partaken by millions of Muslims from across the world.

CondeDAYtion of Islamophobia worldwide

Islamophobia illegally being legalized in West

Naturally, the Islamophobic moves in the West and the desecration of the Muslims’ holy book, triggered anger, outrage, and condeDAYtion worldwide, in particular from Muslim-majority countries.

Following the recent Quran burning in Stockholm, high-ranking officials from different countries as well as the Muslim and non-Muslim individuals condemned the inhumane and immoral move.

The Iranian foreign ministry summoned the Swedish charge d’affaires in Tehran in protest at the desecration of the Holy Qur’an in the European country. Upon summoning the Swedish diplomat, the Iranian official conveyed the Islamic Republic’s strong condeDAYtion of the act of sacrilege against the most important of Islamic sanctities. He said Stockholm’s silence and passivity had served to further embolden those, who have violated one of the fundamental and obvious principles of human rights, namely the principle of respect for religious and divine values.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kan’ani, and the Iranian embassy in Sweden also lambasted the anti-Islam act.

Furthermore, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also in a tweet on Sunday said that Tehran will not send a new ambassador to Sweden over the desecration of the Holy Quran in the Scandinavian country.

Iranian college students also held a rally in front of the Swedish embassy in Tehran on Friday to denounce the recent desecration of the holy Quran in Stockholm.

 Iraqi people protested in front of the embassy of Sweden in Baghdad against the desecration Quran in Stockholm as well.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has decided to hold an emergency meeting over the recent desecration of the Holy Qur’an in the Swedish capital of Stockholm. Reporting on Friday, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said the intergovernmental body’s Executive Committee was to convene next week “under invitation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the President of the [OIC’s] Islamic Summit” to discuss the act of sacrilege.

The European Union also expressed its strong rejection of the Quran burning in Sweden and called the act offensive, disrespectful, and a clear act of provocation. “The EU continues to stand up for freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression, abroad and at home. Now is the time to stand together for mutual understanding and respect and to prevent any further escalation,” the EU said.

Furthermore, the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) Antonio Guterres condemned the burning of the Noble Qur’an in Sweden, stressing the need to work to confront the phenomenon of Islamophobia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has also criticized Western countries that allow the burning of the Quran on grounds of free speech, saying such acts are criminalized by Russia. “The Quran is sacred for Muslims and should be sacred for others,” Putin stressed.

Despite the legitimate demand for legal action against such provocations that hurt the sentiments of Muslims across the world, Western governments did nothing except for issuing face-saving statements.

Their inaction and indifference came under the garb of the freedom of speech and expression — which gives them a license to brazenly insult and abuse Islam and Muslims and conveniently get away with it.

Compiled by Mohaddeseh Pakravan

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