Islam teaches tolerance, not hatred; universal brotherhood, not enmity; peace, and not violence but some of the nations and societies have taken the practice of Islam to another extreme which is violent and highly prejudiced. Riposte by societies to Islamic fundamentalism is being taken as Islamophobia. Both sides are unrelenting and the world must look for hard measures for the peace to prevail.
Shailesh Kumar, National Defence
New Delhi, 26 March 2019
On 15 March 2019, a gunman opened fire on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing at least 50 people and injuring 48, apparently because he believed Muslim ‘invaders’ were committing ‘white genocide.’
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan immediately attributed it to increasing ‘Islamophobia’, a word which has been deliberately seeded and has gained currency after the 9/11 terror attacks in the US.
Researchers and policy groups define Islamophobia in differing detail, but the term’s essence is essentially the same which is:-
‘An exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from social, political, and civic life’.
Most fundamentalist and Muslim extremist groups want to introduce or strengthen the use of Sharia, the Islamic law, which focuses on the puritanical form of Islam and bans or at least discourages things like music, alcohol, and women rights. Islamists believe that the foreigners and Americans in particular, damage Muslim religion, culture and society. The Islamic agenda is pushed by Islamic schools, charities and satellite television stations, many based in the oil rich countries and supported with money from the governments in these countries. These groups spend billions of dollars getting out their message and sometimes preach blatant hatred. Many of these countries have become nursery of terror.
The actions of terrorists following the Islamic faith have had a major impact on creating antipathy and alienation against innocent Muslims.
But the moot question is as to who promoted these terrorists from early 80s to late 90s which created an image of Muslims, as people against Peace?
It was countries like Pakistan who have been nurturing terrorism in the name of Jihad. These are the terrorists, trained and equipped by Pakistan, who are killing innocent people from other religions, worldwide in the name of Muslim faith and Jihad. The same has been repeatedly admitted by Pakistan senior leaders such as Imran Khan and General Musharraf. General Musharraf called ISI backed terrorists as ‘strategic assets’. The cowardly act of these terrorists is the main reason that today innocent Muslims all over the world have become the victims.
The hardened view of fundamentalists and their masters have ensured closed societies which are not given to cultural dialogues, cultural bonding and synthesis of culture. The death of dialogue is a global phenomenon and such ideas of fundamentalism have only further hardened the stance. But in Pakistan – which is weaponised, brutalized by decades of terrorism, and traumatized by a history of martial law; the lack of dialogue means the language of violence. Pakistan employs terror as state policy and inflicts terror on sane voices.
The linkages and support by Pakistan and ISI to 9/11 attacks, Mumbai attacks, Haqqani network, protection to Osama bin Laden, Paris attacks and recently Pulwama attack has been well established. It is such like incidents executed by Pakistan trained terrorists that has fuelled hatred or Islamphobia all over the world.
Recently Islamophobia has been deviously used by Pakistan even in the meetings of OIC to elicit support. Islamophobia shall now act as plea to seek empathy to ward off world pressure and the world to act against these shops of terror. Pakistan is hard selling Islamophobia with one single idea to keep terror infrastructure intact and safe so that these Pak-proclaimed strategic assets are used as state policy of terror.
Learning from Christchurch incident, it is the past and present doing of Pakistan because of which the innocent Muslim community at large has become vulnerable.
The world Community must come together to address the root cause of such incidents and make countries like Pakistan accountable for their continued support to terrorism, which is the prime reason for the so called Islamophobia.
The word Islamophobia can’t be unabashedly spoken by epicenter of terrorism like Pakistan.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal and web channel, National Defence.