In August 2006, on a sweaty afternoon, Sri Lanka and South Africa were up against each other in a Test match, when Hashim Amla (Sporting beard beneath his hat), a mediocre player then, with his athleticism took a brilliant catch to send the veteran cricketer Sangakarra, back to the pavilion. It was all normal until the bells of Islamophobia rang. “The Terrorist has got another wicket” cried Dean Jones, the Aussie commentator, wrongly assuming that the broadcasters had taken a commercial break and hence was not on air. All of a sudden the echoes of Islamophobia became palpable in the stadium as well as on the TV sets. How could an international cricketer be called a Terrorist only because of his faith and the beard on his face. Even the aftermath apology by the commentator exhibited no real signs of real contrition.
This incident happened more than a decade before, however the question still remains, was it an Islamophobic jibe or White supremacy or an impromptu fumble? From celebrities to common Muslims, cricket fields to varsity campuses, parliaments to big cities, natives to immigrants, civilians to refugees, war affected to minorities, Muslims all across the globe are facing an unprecedented oppression, hatred, cleansing and persecution.
Islamophobia vs West
Islamophobia took an altogether new turn post Pentagon Tragedy although it existed in premises long before 9/11 attacks. Muslims have been experiencing an exasperating ordeal, for decades in the west, which comes in the form of Hijab bans, bullying, stabbing, ethnic slurs, Melee attacks, vilifications, Terrorist Tags, molestation, verbal abuse, discrimination, Hate crimes, vandalism, and vehicular attacks. The past few years have witnessed a record numbers of crimes against Muslims, in the entire European continent as well as in the American states. There are currently 6 nations in Europe that have banned the Burqa -Austria, Denmark, France, Belgium, Latvia, and Bulgaria. Various parliamentary members have proven themselves as catalysts in spurring the Islamophobic propaganda. Borris Johnson, the UK premier, in the recent past called women in Burqas as “Bank Robbers” and “Letter boxes.” The Dutch Parliamentarian, Geert wilders widely known as the Rabble Rouser and is among the notorious Islamophobes, called for banning the Quran, shutting down mosques, taxing the Hijab and even planned to hold a cartoon context caricaturing Prophet PBUH. Donald Trump is another example, who has also used derogatory words and bigotry against Muslims. The British Political Journalist Mehdi Hassan unleashes the media hypocrisy and the Islamophobia, which is worth sharing here. He derides the irony of the times by stating that the word Terrorism is not used for the people, who are not Muslims. Media has made the world to believe that a terrorist attack is only carried by a brown dude with a beard shouting something in Arabic. However the statistics show a complete opposite story. According to the Anti Defamation league (ADL), three quarters of the terrorist deaths, in USA over the last decade were carried out by White Nationalist Terrorists and far right groups, only a quarter by Muslims. That means about 75% of the terrorist crimes are being carried out by white nationalists in US. 73% of domestic extremist-related fatalities, were carried by far right extremists, according to the US government accountability office, Post 2001. The reality is being always buried under the carpet. Not only that, according to the Georgia University, a Muslim terrorist gets 4 and a half times more coverage than a Non Muslim terrorist, which means that a Non-Muslim Terrorist has to kill 7 times more than his Muslim counterpart to get the equal coverage. The word they use for Non-Muslim Terrorists is “Shooter” and the Terrorist Tag has been exclusively reserved for Muslims. Terrorism is one of the only areas, where white people do the most of work but get none of the credit. Muslims as well as the mosques have been witnessing a large number of threats, vandalism and hate crimes. In the March 2019, the harrowing Islamophobic Terrorist attack in two separate mosques of Christchurch, New Zealand cost the lives of more than fifty Muslims. Adding salt to the wounds of the victim families, was the mainstream media calling it Active shooting. In another incident about six people were killed and another eight wounded in a shooting at a mosque in Quebec City, Canada. Soon after the Christchurch attacks, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced a U.N. plan to make mosques a “safer haven, not sites of terror.” The question, however remains whether they would be successful or not. The Islamophobia and it’s dire ramifications continues to rise in the west. A mere rhetoric to tackle cannot bear fruitful results and so far seems unending.
Persecution of Rohingya and Uyghur Muslims
The Buddhist government in Myanmar and the communist Republic of china have brutally oppressed and persecuted it’s Muslim monitories. The Rohingya Genocide has forced more than 700000 Rohingya Muslims to fled a brutal military crackdown in the Buddhist majority country of Myanmar. Being described as the ‘Worst persecuted minority’, by the United Nations, thousands have been killed, and hundreds of villages burnt down. The ethnic cleansing led to the rapes, extrajudicial killings, human rights violations, and the record numbers are tenebrific. In the recent times, this is one of the worst form of human rights violations against any community. What could be more mortifying than the fact that the key figure behind the Rohingya genocide – A Noble Peace Prize winner, who runs the government in Myanmar, was not stripped of this honor. On the flip side, Chinese recent oppression against Uighur Muslims has caught less international attention. About one million Muslims have been detained in the concentration camps and reports of killings, rapes, tortures, sterilizations and flesh trading have been reported. No concrete actions have been taken by the Human rights Organizations and the UN while the countries continue not to hold back from committing grave human rights violations.
The war torn Muslim countries and conflict Zones
Across the globe, the war torn countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and the likes are all Muslim majority nations. The use of military might, airstrikes, massive bombs, chemical weapons in such countries waged by the west, primarily the United States, other than NATO and Russia with the help of “local partners in crime”, in the name of annihilating terrorism and eliminating Islamic radicalization has killed millions of civilians, destruction of properties, leading to the worst forms of human rights crisis in the form of refugees, hunger, plague, rapes, poverty among other misfortunes. One of many such incidents took place in Afghanistan, what has come to be called the Qunduz massacre, the US airstrike killed hundreds of students studying religion which gained very little or no coverage in the mainstream media. The Zionist Israeli occupation in Palestine continues to oppress the Muslims in the form of cold blooded killings, denying religious rights, illegal west bank settlements and use of military hegemony.
India : Hate crimes against Muslims
The ever increasing, although deep rooted hate crimes against Muslims and Islamophobia in India has put the country’s largest minority in jeopardy. Mob lynching, burning down mosques, molestations, broad day light killings, Anti-Muslim citizenship bills and acts, Delhi riots, discrimination on daily basis are some highlights which demands a separate write-up. India in Kashmir has been oppressing Muslims since decades now, killing innocents on daily basis, implementing draconian laws, denying fundamental rights, imposing world’s longest curfews, Internet blockades and thousands being made to languish in Jails.
While the tyranny against Muslims and the Islamophobia, keeps on increasing with every passing day, this global pandemic seems to have no vaccine as of now. This irrefragably is more pandemic than COVID 19. Hope both gets a cure permanently, once and for all !
MBA from University of Kashmir
Email: [email protected]