Beyond the Islamophobia


Waheed Hussain

Decertation of the Holy Quran on the day of EidulAdha in Stockholm, Sweden by an Iraqi refugee was not a sudden act of hatred-prejudice against Islam and Muslims. In the presence of dozens of people outside the main Mosque in the capital city along with the inactive police force was an open indication that the episode was staged on the Eidday celebration to hurtfeelings of the Muslims not only in Sweden but rest of the world. It was a provocative action for some nefarious designs.

It was a prejudice act to demonstrate intolerance-hatred for those who recite and take guidance from Holy Quran, send by Allah Tallah through His beloved last Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). It was a well-planned-preconceived act of Islamophobia.

Although, the Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in a press conference called the act legal but not appropriate, further explaining,“it was up to the police force to make decision on the burning.”How a prime minister of a country canissues such an irresponsible statement knowing that the satanic-criminal act has hurt the feeling of 1.8 billion Muslims in the whole world.

After receiving worldwide condemnation and a very strong statement from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) the Swedish foreign ministry after four days of the act issued condemnation calling it a Islamophobic act. This was not the first time that the Swedish land and its citizens (enjoying permanent or temporary status as citizens) had committed this crime of blasphemy to Islam and its Holy book Quran. In recent years we had witnessed number of such acts in various European countries including Denmark, France, Sweden,etc.

There is no doubt that in every society or a countrythere are certain individuals or elements who show disrespect to religion, humanity, morality, or cultures. However,in most cases its population and government stood with the victims. The state and the people openly condemn such acts of physical or verbal violence-blasphemy and disrespect. In the case of Sweden, Denmark,and France, governments failed to punish the criminals rather defended their satanic acts under the pretext of freedom of expression.

Before debating on the controversial phrase “freedom of expression,” we need to discuss the concept of Islamophobia. As we all know, phobia is a fear that an individual might be suffering from due to certain mental or psychological reasons.

The term Islamophobia was frequently used after the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11. 2001. The United States along with the western nations tried to give this impression to their local population that by and large Muslims are violent, non-tolerant, against human rights and western way of live. So much so that the then US President George Bush used the word Crusadefor countering the international so-called terrorism. His statement was bitterly criticized by the world leaders. Although, many western countries’ governments, political and diplomatic experts including the local population did not agree with the ideaof crusade (which had a negative connotation with reference to the history). They declared it the political strategy of somewestern leaders for launching war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Later the world witnessed that both former US president Bush and UK prime minister Toney Blair apologized to the Iraqi people saying that Saddam Hussain regime did not possess the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) asthey had flawed informationabout Iraq weapons.

Iraq war was not the war to protect the peace and security of the world but It was a war of oil and natural resources. It was a war of money. The US administration at that time launched a fake narrative (propaganda) through the western media that Saddam Hussain was the most dangerous person who could destabilize the world through dirty biological and chemical weapons within 45 minutes, however, those weapons could not be found anywhere in Iraq in last two decades.

Similarly, after 9/11, the Afghan Taliban were presented the most dangerous people on the face of this earth. The US along with allied forces fought longest war in Afghanistan. That anti-Taliban narrative again supported the concept of Islamophobia. The western population was being terrified by their governments that most of the Muslims are violent and intolerant. They do not have respect for humanity. They disrespect their women and keep them in isolation without education and basic human rights. It was all fake notions to fulfill the political and strategic agenda.

The idea of Islamophobia was dying, and the US and its allied nations lost their intertest in Afghanistan. As a result, the US finally decided to engage the Afghan Taliban through Pakistan and Arabs countriesfor talks to get a safe passage and leave Afghanistan. After many rounds of talks the US and Afghan Talibansigned a peace agreement. Interestingly the US struck a dealwith the same people whom it called terrorists.

The term Islamophobia had to do a lot withstrategic and international political developments instead of religious beliefs only. Therefore, such terms will remain alive for the states to serve their internal and external economic, financial, strategic,and political interests.

The hatred, fear, or prejudice against the Muslim communities in the western societies have linkages with economy and finance. The Muslim population in the western countries is growing in the last few decades. They are running successful businesses, holding good positions (jobs) at the public and private organizations, which also create jealousy among the permanent citizens in those countries.Apart from the economic reasons, the spread of Islam in the western population ran an alarm bell to the policy makers believing that the increasing Muslims population could disturb the socio-political balance. And finally, there is a small minority group of (so-called) intellectual in the western world,which still consider the Muslims as their adversaries, depicting Muslims as enemy. Such a group could also use the concept of Islamophobia.

As far as the freedom of expression is concerned it’s an illogical argument presented by the Swedish Government regarding the blasphemy of Islam or disrespect of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and Holy Quran. There is no absolute freedom in the world. The laws are being introduced in the countries to protect the freedom of all, not of a single person or of afew.

Freedom does not mean to hurt the feelings of other individuals and communities based on sex, cost, color, language, or religion. All the western countries have laws to arrest and punish those who deny the Holocaust incident, in which the Jews were attacked by the Nazi forces during the Second World War. The Jews had established the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) to which European Union is the signatory. All the western states have legislated special criminal laws to protect the Jews Holocaust Denial. The problem with the western nations is that they do have laws for 16 million Jews which is just 0.2 percentof the world population, but they don’t want to make laws to respect the feelings of 1.8 billion people which is 24 percent of the total world population. The United Nations, OIC and Vatican Pop must urge the western countries to introduce laws to prevent such criminal acts in the future. We hope the western governments will understand the issue and will address it once and for all. Otherwise, such conspiracies will crate distrust and distance between the west and Muslim world leading towards clash of civilizations.

Holy Quran is the (Noor) light for Muslims to seek right path in this and world after death. Holy Quran is part of ourEmaan (faith). No Muslim can tolerate the disrespect of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and the Holy Quran. Muslims are not against human freedoms, but they want that their freedom should also be respected.