Anti-Muslim Hatred, Muslimophobia & Islamophobia – What terms do I use and why?


Terrorism & Anger:

The terrorist attack in Christchurch where over 50 Muslims were killed and many injured was an expression of anti Muslim racial hatred that is still being disseminated across our planet by media, think tanks and grassroots groups especially those based in the United States.

Islam is not a race and never was and we should not take on an identity of a race based religion which was never the intention of The Last Prophet PBUH.

The word “Muslim” connects followers to the way of Islam, the second largest world religion in the next few years will number close to two billion who together are known as ‘The Muslim Ummah’.

Within Muslims there is immense diversity – we are made up of sects, racial, tribal groups, languages and nationalities, and we are the most heterogeneous populations in this world. Muslims are born “Muslim,” and a Muslim identity can be aquired through converting.

Our behaviours and actions are something that we all can do and it is within our capabilities. We all experience anger; and a person who considers him or herself a Muslim should be confident that he is able, with the help of Allah, to rid himself of the negative effects of that anger and strive to discipline himself under the laws of Allah over him or herself. Our own individual emotions and passions should not cloud the views of others in dealings with what they consider as a ‘Muslim’.

We can completely rid ourselves of anger but this is difficult so we should focus on understanding how others anger us and understand ourselves when we get angry. Social media and mass media targets groups or individuals to raise anger within their readers to gain ‘likes or shares’ in those they seek to exploit for their own purposes. In the ‘othering’ of groups – regardless who is who or what group – divisions make populations easier to control or focus. And Muslims need to retrain and discipline themselves – socially and politically to understand these ‘games’ better.

The Ummah:

Ummah means “community” with a common history. Ummat al-Islām means the collective community of Muslims and Ummah can also mean the concept of a Commonwealth of the Believers Ummat al-Muʼminīn.

During the time of Prophet Muhammad, Arabs were governed by kinship meaning the political ideology of the Arabs centered around their cultural and tribal affiliations and blood-relational ties and within this tribal society, Islam emerged and along with it the concept of The Ummah. The purpose of the Ummah was to be based on religion, following the commands of God, rather than kinship. This was a key to uniting the different groups – over time Jews and Christians were considered part of this Ummah as ‘People of The Book’.

The Constitution of Medina was a document created by The Prophet to regulate social and political life in Medina to redefine ties between Muslims and between others and placed faith relationships above blood-ties and emphasised individual responsibility. Of course tribal intrenched tribal identities were still important but the “main binding tie” for the Ummah was religion. This important document helped in the development of the small group of Muslims in Medina to build a larger Muslim community and which then became an empire.

Islamophobia or Muslimophobia:

To describe the fear, hatred or prejudice against Islam or Muslims the following terms are used: Anti-Muslim, anti-Muslimism, Islamophobia, intolerance against Muslims, anti-Muslim prejudice, anti-Muslim bigotry, hatred of Muslims, anti-Islamism, demonisation of Islam, or demonisation of Muslims.

The most important thing we need to understand is that in the eyes of many non-Muslims they describe the same thing.

As a Muslim I have been brought up with the knowledge that Islam belongs to God/Allah/Creator and its a perfect way – Islam does not belong to me rather I seek to belong to it – and Islam belongs to God and when someone is ‘anti-Islam’ their issue is with God – not Muslims. What we call Islamophobes are not really scared of Islam or God rather they are scared (or claim to be) of Muslims – regardless if they believe in God or not. Racism, Judophobia, Hinduphobia, Christophobia etc etc are terms – like Muslimophobia or anti-Muslim hatred to describe hatred towards groups of people and we need to call it as it is.

Racism?:

Islam is not a racial identity but the attacks on Muslims are race based – simply because Muslims in the UK and the West are mostly African, Asian or Arab and targeting a group through the prism of their religious identity gives protection to the race baiters under the various anti-racist laws in the UK and the West. Muslimophobia is simple xenophobia and racism as those who are visually ‘Muslim’ are targeted more on the street and as a group not because they are ‘Islam’ but because they are ‘Muslim’. And here interesting alliances seem to be developing between different groups internationally who focus is on promoting hatred against Muslims which is what is called ‘cultural racism’.

Cultural racism is simply one set of beliefs and customs considered culturally superior to the beliefs and customs of another group of people.This becomes hierarchy of cultures where now the race element is put aside and is replaced with ‘culture’- The example being that “our” Western culture is superior to “their” Islamic culture and that those groups who regard themselves as ‘Western’ now include the Hindu fundamentalists, Sub-Saharan born again Africans and various other smaller groups dotted across nations wround the globe all united by Facebook, Twitter and a host of online enablers of hositlity.

Muslimophobes or Islamists are there simply to divide and rule as that gives them a feeling of power: “Western = civilised” and “Islamic = uncivilised” OR “Western = uncivilised” and “Islamic = civilised” are not an option for our common future. Lets call extremists for what they are and refuse to play political games of one side or another.

Muslimophobia or anti-Muslim hatred is something that needs to be called out and challenged along with all forms of hatred.

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Mohammed Abbasi

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