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Islamophobia: Anti-Muslim sentiments - Harkeerat Kaur

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

Being an Indian, I call myself proud, as I am a citizen of a nation with such diverse cultures and religions. A person living in India is firstly and most importantly an Indian and then a person of the specific religion, but instead we very conveniently categorize ourselves as a Hindu or a Muslim or a Sikh, etc, and definitely overlook that we are Humans, and humanity is above every other religion that has ever existed in this world.

Let us suppose that in the recent case of George Floyd, instead of him if there would have been a Mohammed Ansari; the same people protesting “BLACK LIVES MATTER” would be claiming that it was that “MUSLIM” at fault. We must admit the fact that we are ISLAMOPHOBIC, not all but many.

Islamophobia actually means the fear or hatred of the Islamic religion, especially when seen as a source of terrorism or as a geo-political force. Many scholars say that Islamophobia is some form of Xenophobia, meaning a fear or hatred of the foreign people or culture. It is one topic we fear from talking about publically because we know, even if we are correct, it is a controversial and debatable, yet today I have taken the opportunity to deliver my thoughts and the facts about how we treat the entire religion.

Despite being India’s largest religious- minority, the Muslims have been frequently subjected to violent attacks and assaults. In the past, these attacks were in view of the sectarian violence and were categorized as religious conflict flanked by the Hindu and Muslim populations. India has an elongated history of sectarian violence, but over the past years there have been a suspected increase in the “hate crimes” against Muslims, who make up roughly 200 million of the country’s 1.3 billion population. Roughly, Hindu-Muslim communal violence has been in the picture from the 1969 Gujarat riots, and have been increasing continuously since then to the latest being 2020 Delhi riots.

There are numerous possible terms which are used in order to showcase the negative feelings and attitudes towards Islam and Muslims like Anti-Muslimism, Anti-Muslim prejudice, hatred of Muslims, Anti-Islam, and etc. The acts of ISIS, al-Qaeda, Jamiat ul-Amar, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and other terrorist organizations cause trouble for the innocent Muslims living in countries like India. There may not be any second thoughts about the hatred against this minority is a bigger virus than the current Covid-19, spreading like a wildfire in India.

Talking about the scenario now, this Novel Corona-Virus Pandemic situation has created a lot of chaos worldwide, and the Dharavi slum, in Mumbai, has become the India’s worst-hit virus hotspot. “There is a lot fear in the Muslim community and they are not telling us facts,” said Kiran Dighavkar, an assistant commissioner at the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. The hate towards the community seems to have increased because other people feel they are spreading the virus. Islamophobia has been transposed onto the corona-virus issue.

Since March 28, 2020, tweets with the hash-tag #CoronaJihad have appeared nearly 300,000 times and has been potentially seen by around 165 million people on Twitter, according to the data shared with TIME by Equality Labs, a digital human rights group.

A February 2019 report from the Human Rights Watch found that between May 2015 and December 2018, at least 44 people – 36 of them being from the Muslim minority- were killed across 12 Indian states. Around 280 people were injured in more than 100 incidents across 20 states over the same period.

There are radical sections in every religion, it so happens if the radical sections of the particular religion affect the others innocent, which in the current scenario, is happening in India. Islamophobia is a reality largely because of the radical sections (like the terrorist organizations ISIS, al-Qaeda, etc) due to which the whole of Islam is suffering the hatred. It is happening because the government and the majority of the population do not act upon those radical sections but on the entire religion. Let’s us suppose that there are 2 Muslim persons, one is the leader of a terrorist organization and the other of World Peace Organization, there is more chance that the leader’s (of the terrorist organization) words and actions would be in the lime light more than the actions and words from the one in the World Peace Organization, which would attract more number of people, which in turn would create hatred against the entire Islam community leading to Islamophobia.

It is very important to understand that there needs to be a change in the mind sets of the people, not only towards Islam, but towards any religion in the world, for instance the 1984 Sikh Riots in India, due to the acts of 2 Sikh bodyguards, rather the “Radical section”, and the entire Sikh religion suffered the harm and hatred.

Every person like me who talks in against Islamophobia is not stating the hatred against every Muslim; they talk about the injustice to the innocent. There may be 100 people wrong but that clearly does not mean the entire Muslim race is wrong. It is time we understand that suppressing or creating hatred for the entire religion is not the answer to the harsh and harmful acts of some radical sections of that religion. Our unity helped us gain freedom; it’s time to get freedom mentally.


5. Dictionary – words Islamophobia and Xenophobia.

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