The world has shaken for the first time when Islamic State captured Mosul in 2014 and started its terrorist juggernaut then. But their action not only made peaceful Islam as a religion of terrorism and hatred in the world, to make it Islamic State help even made this religion to recognize as a phobia as Islamophobia. Does it really make sense that because of some extremist groups the whole religion will be colored as the terrorist and treated badly by the whole like-minded people in the world or it was started far before the Islamic State emerged as a Jihadist group?
First, we have to understand what is Islamophobia? It’s actually defined as “Intense dislike or fear of Islam, especially as a political force; hostility or prejudice towards Muslims”. In the western world, we have noticed the people from different religions and other castes that Asian as most of the Muslims are coming from this region and the main problem happening in the Middle-eastern country. So, for this reason, the particular person belonging to this religion is treated as a terrorist and harassed by being a Muslim in western countries.
According to the percentage of Muslim people in the USA, there Islam is the third largest religion in the United States after Christianity and Judaism. According to a 2010 study, it is followed by 0.9% of the population, compared with 70.6% who follow Christianity, 22.8% unaffiliated, 1.9% Judaism, 0.7% Buddhism, and 0.7% Hinduism. This says there are as many people living in the United States who can contribute a good amount to the USA’s economy but they are creating this such propaganda and phobia to the people which actually making this religion worst enough to have existed.
According to the Pew Research Center, Europe’s population was 6% Muslim in 2010 and is projected to be 8% Muslim by 2030. So this huge number of people belonging the whole continent and I England, Netherlands, Sweden, and Spain there largely Muslims are living. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, substantial numbers of non-native Muslims immigrated to Western Europe. By 2010 an estimated 44 million Muslims were living in Europe (6%), including an estimated 19 million in the EU (3.8%). They are projected to comprise 8% by 2030. They are often the subject of intense discussion and political campaigns. These have been periodically revived by events such as terrorist attacks by extremist Islamists, the cartoons affair in Denmark, debates over Islamic dress, elevated crime rates amongst Islamic minorities, and ongoing support for populist radical right parties that view Muslims as a threat to European values and ways of life. Such events have also fueled the growing debate on Islamophobia, attitudes toward Muslims, and the populist radical right.
All other numbers and percentage showing that people are there in the western countries from a long ago and they are contributing in many portions in the westerns business and also contributed in technology, education, science, medicine and architecture, music, literature, Astronomy, arts, alchemy and so on. So the reaction against Muslims and on Islam is not that valid which creates that much hatred and neglect towards them.
There must be some reasons which played vital roles to create that situation to make this sacred, peaceful religion a hateful one nowadays, particularly in the western region. Basically electronic and print media outrageous the idea of jihadist and the act of the people in the modern time are creating the new dimension which actually making the shift to judge the Islamic thoughts and the basic understanding portrayed wrong to the west people.
A recent Observer investigation by Carole Cadwalladr revealed how searches about Jews on Google would immediately steer users toward Holocaust denial content and neo-Nazi sites like Stormfront, which appeared for a time as the top result for “did the Holocaust happen?”
A similar problem exists when using Google Search to find information on Muslims and sharia but it’s arguably worse. Worse because, as we’ll see, factual content about Islam and sharia in basic searches often gets choked off by anti-Muslim propaganda. Particularly once the search is narrowed (down from Yerushalmi’s heuristic) we encounter a near-total Search Engine Optimization (SEO) dominance of anti-Muslim sources and fake news sites. (Source: Southern Poverty law center)
This all making the ideas of Islam by creating things to overlay the main idealism to the people of the west. The new era begins in Belgium that starts 2010 Sharia4Belgium whose main idea was to spread Islam to establish this as the major religion in Belgium so the there radical Salafist group started spreading Islam but the main television channel and media there and international media treated this as an act of ISIS and spread like its spoiling and getting recruited the young minds to the Jihadist group Islamic State.
The media plays a fundamental role in shaping societies’ opinions about topical issues. Most human beings depend upon either the print media (newspapers/magazines), television, or radio as their sources of news. The advent of the internet since the 1990s revolutionized the media world and created an immediacy on the impact of news like no other previous medium could provide, as it had a combination of audio and visual material. The most effective demonstration of such immediacy would be that of the impact of the September 11 attacks in the USA in 2001. The aftermath of the media’s impact still resonates throughout the world today, especially its impact on those who follow the Islamic faith. This paper aims to explore the impact of the media on this newly derived concept of Islamophobia, especially post 9/11. It includes a case study of the Islamophobic Danish cartoon controversy that occurred in February 2006.
Also there the impact of 9/11 plays a vital role to improvise their theory as a legit one to make this religion the worst one. As a result of the Western media’s propagation of its government’s view, Muslims across the world suffered, especially those living in Western countries. This is according to the Runnymede Trust based in the United Kingdom, which is one of the pioneer non-government organizations in the world to investigate Islamophobia and its consequences. An article in the Trust’s quarterly publication, The Runnymede Bulletin, states “It could be argued that the media portrayal of the alleged perpetrators of these acts of terrorism is racist and Islamophobic. A cursory glance of the media’s coverage of the last two weeks is sufficient to establish that reporting of the event is unbalanced and likely to stir up feelings of Islamophobia. Repeated images of Osama bin Laden with weapons, children of Asian origins with weapons, crowds (adults and children) in Palestinian communities ‘celebrating’, when contrasted with images of the ‘New Yorkers’ who perished in the attacks do, while not overtly stating the message, make a link between terrorism and Islam, and terrorist and Muslim”
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, President of the International Movement for a Just World wrote in her article “What is the Cartoon Controversy?” That there is an important reason for the demonization of Islam. “It is the baneful impact of 9/11 and the war on terror upon Muslims and their subtle stereotyping in the media as a people prone to violence.” She adds that television images and media commentaries have often reinforced the erroneous equation of religion with terror. Muzaffar blames the West which equates the oil sources of the East with money, and money equates to power. It is therefore not a coincidence that when some Muslim countries began to exercise control over their oil since the early 1970s, Arabs and Muslims were vilified in the mainstream Western media. Similarly, as Zionist influence over the media and political sectors of American society increased and the Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation intensified, the American media accelerated its imaging of “Muslim terror”. The politics of Israel and oil has been at the root of much of the stereotyping of Islam and Muslims in recent times, and it is highly unlikely that the mainstream Western media will stop equating Islam with violence in the near future. The unfortunate consequence, however, says is that Islam has become synonymous not only with violence and terrorism but also as an opponent of free speech as with the cartoon issue. She says that the Western media perpetuates Western hegemonic ideas and since the West has an obsession with the East’s oil sources, it has become a natural enemy of the West.
All the factors prove the action and the current situation cannot justify the exact condition that happens in the west to hate Islam and calling Islam the religion of terrorism. The recent activities in France, Britain, and Spain all the situation creates by the people which are not promoted by someone or Islam or any group but the persons choice to get their judgment according to their view but in England the new culture to throw acid to the women wearing Veils where are the rules and religion they follow. No religion ever talk about killing, hurting other people other religion. In Islam, killing is the worst thing to do as a human being and Our Prophet in the Medina charter deletes his title Prophet due to prove the other religious people about the transparency and the belief they should have on to him and Islam. So he earned that title Al-Amin means Truthful from the other religious believers. Islam and other religious followers should understand the virtue and respect others to make the world face the world’s problem and stopping the mess fighting together not fighting according to the religious perspective.
Md Tariqul Hasan Rifat Graduate in International Relations Bangladesh University of Professionals. Fellow at ActionAid Bangladesh