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    Call this monster by its name

    A rising tide of Islamophobia. It's really scary to think of the type of world we are leaving behind for our younger brothers and sisters, and their grandchildren.
    What can and should Muslims do? Combat Islamophobia by your every action and word - set an example in your own personal sphere of a true Muslim. Most importantly learn more and more about Islam and other religions. Promote Islam in a positive manner via your thoughts, words, and deeds; Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is our best example.

    Call this monster by its name, Faisal Bodi, The Guardian, 14 May 2002

    Intolerance is once again on the march in Europe. From the toxic tongue of Jean-Marie Le Pen to the candy-coated chauvinism of Peter Hain, a clear political consensus is emerging. In France 6 million people voted for a demagogue who congratulated the Serbian fascist leader Vojislav Seselj for defending "near enough the same things that we defend". Seselj, leader of the paramilitary White Eagles during the Bosnian and Croatian wars, has been named in the Hague war crimes tribunal as an organiser of pogroms.

    Over the Alps, the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, famously proclaimed the superiority of western over Islamic civilisation. His government includes the Northern League leader, Umberto Bossi, who has protested about the use of public land for mosques for the "Muslim invaders". In Germany, the main challenge to Gerhard Schröder in September's elections will come from the Christian Social Union, which has insisted that German Muslims must accept the "Christian norms of Germany".

    Pim Fortuyn, the assassinated Dutch populist leader, denounced Islam as a "backward culture". In Belgium, the Vlaams Blok has become the largest party in several cities by campaigning to reduce the number of mosques and institutionalising discrimination against Islam.

    A poster declaring "By the time you retire, Denmark will be a majority-Muslim nation" helped the Danish People's party leader Pia Kjaersgaard win a place in the ruling rightist coalition last November - shortly after she declared a "holy war" on Islam.

    Forgive me if this is getting tedious, but it would not be necessary had western commentators called this monster by its name - instead of exaggerating the extent of resurgent anti-semitism to evoke sympathy for Israel's irredentism in the Holy Land. In fact, the media has signally avoided giving due weight to the anti-Islamic face of the renascent right.

    The history of contemporary European Islamophobia starts with the fall of the iron curtain and the appearance of a new challenger to western capitalist hegemony. In a still self-consciously Christian Europe, this ideological competition has been grafted on to the legacies of the Crusades and Ottoman-Christian rivalries, and the perceived demographic and cultural threat posed by a growing Muslim population.


    Intoxicated by this poisonous brew, Austrians swept Jörg Haider's Freedom party into power in 1999. The party had campaigned on an anti-Muslim platform, drafting a political catch-all for its hate politics, Uberfremdung ("foreigner-swamping") into the electoral vocabulary. But despite symbolic sanctions, no EU state took concrete steps to combat Islamophobia.

    Failure to do so has left the field open for the likes of Le Pen and Fortuyn to lead the debate on immigration, asylum and multiculturalism. In Britain, New Labour is playing catch-up by moving right. Peter Hain's remarks about Muslim "isolationism" echo the home secretary's proposal for citizenship training and tests - as well as his comments about "swamping" (a close approximation to Uberfremdung ). Both play to the far right's insistence that Mus lims must conform to a prior ideal of national identity.

    Somebody should tell Peter Hain that official policy, not voluntary isolationism, is the main obstacle to Muslim integration. This government is still resisting a compelling case to help the community feel at ease by introducing modest institutional safeguards against rising domestic Islamophobia. Since 1997 a small library of official reports has recommended legislation to outlaw religious discrimination and violence. But while the BNP leader, Nick Griffin, has been able to proclaim on prime-time TV that there is a "Muslim problem", successive home secretaries have dragged their feet. The government's commitment to implementing the European employment and race directive will outlaw only religious discrimination in the workplace.

    Europe's Islamophobia has prevented it from developing models of religious coexistence, with the status of minorities - along with attendant rights and responsibilities - written into the statute book. Austria, ironically enough, provides a useful starting point. In 1912 what was then Austro- Hungary enacted a pioneering piece of legislation, the Islam Act, to set out the terms of state-Muslim interaction. Two years later the first world war broke out, Austria lost its Bosnian Mus lim territories and the law fell into abeyance until 1979. Today the act's main value is that it accords Islam state recognition. This translates into a raft of legal rights, mainly in education - Muslim children are taught their religion in public schools by teachers paid by the state - but also in employment and military service.

    The 1912 reforms came about because Austro-Hungary needed to keep the newly incorporated Muslim population of Bosnia-Herzegovina on side in the fickle pre-war power balance. The emergence of a large-scale Muslim presence in Europe, threatened by an intolerant and increasingly influential right, demands an equally far-sighted response.

    [Faisal Bodi is a writer on Muslim affairs and editor of http://www.ummahnews.com ]

    #2
    Ideology of Islam has a benefit of jumping from religion to politics and vice versa.
    The article given above is good example of politics mingled on the name of religion.
    People must not only be afraid of Islamaphobia, but must openly question this ideology when it appears in the form of a killing jihadi squad.

    What are the positive aspects of Islam? Why a religion is afraid when negative aspects are exposed?
    Shall the world community close eyes when women are stoned to death or foolish fatwas are issued?
    It seems that followers of Islam have no way to get rid of complexes.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by anand:
      People must not only be afraid of Islamaphobia, but must openly question this ideology when it appears in the form of a killing jihadi squad.
      Anand, are you for serious ?

      ------------------
      The drums of war are the drums of hunger [South African proverb]

      Comment


        #4

        Anand

        You still alive!!

        Of all the people in this Forum, you are the only one who's most probably Majored in Islamophobia.

        See Ya!

        Comment


          #5

          When Islamic fundamentalists (who dominate the religion today) call for Shariah, Khalifah and integrating the Islamic political, social and economic policies into governing systems, you have to understand the apprehension coming from historically Christian countries. Perhaps this is where the fear comes from.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Seminole:

            When Islamic fundamentalists (who dominate the religion today) call for Shariah, Khalifah and integrating the Islamic political, social and economic policies into governing systems, you have to understand the apprehension coming from historically Christian countries. Perhaps this is where the fear comes from.

            I would modify that. The apprehension arises when the same fundamentalists insist that their system has to apply to everyone in the world, and they will indulge in violent jihad to enforce that, and they have demonstrated an ability to do so when and where they have gotten an oppertunity like in Sudan, Algeria,Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Seminole: When Islamic fundamentalists (who dominate the religion today) call for Shariah, Khalifah and integrating the Islamic political, social and economic policies into governing systems, you have to understand the apprehension coming from historically Christian countries.[/B]
              'Fundamentalist' implies a person returning to the fundamentals of that ideology; in this case, Muslim fundamentalists would imply Muslims who are returning to the fundamentals of Islam. Not to sound too ridiculous and way off there, but I would sincerely hope that I am a Muslim fundamentalist - one who works to implement true Muslim fundamentals in her life; PERHAPS a more appropriate word might have been 'extremist'.

              I wonder how it's rationally possible to imply that Muslim extremists are dominating Islam - was some sort of survey taken of 1.1 billion individuals to find out what their personal views and actions are? Even hundreds of al Qaeeda members don't comprise the majority of the religion.

              ------------------
              The drums of war are the drums of hunger [South African proverb]

              Comment


                #8
                A small violent and extremist minority can certainly 'dominate' its environment. Pakistanis tell me that the religious parties have never won more than 5% of the vote in any election, but they certainly dominate through their famed 'street power'. Domination and numerical majority do not necessarily go togather. Personally, I am convinced that the overwhelming majority of Pakistanis are peaceful and pious, and they have demonstrated that in so many ways. The problem has been stated by many journalists in Pakistani newspapers. The small extremist minority totally dominates to the extent that judges have become so intimidated that they are 'ineffectual'.

                The following is written by M.B.Naqvi in the May 15, 2002 edition of Jang in his opinion column titled "Religious terror Persists". http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/index.html
                But successful cases with convictions of sectarian terrorists are few and far between. The record of law enforcing agencies, including judiciary, is none too exemplary. Insofar as the judiciary is concerned, it is too frightened of religious fanatics to be able to discharge its duties.

                [This message has been edited by OldLahori (edited May 14, 2002).]

                Comment


                  #9

                  Fundalmentalists exist in all religions. But fundalmentalism does not equate to extremism. Fundamentalists believe in a strict interpretation of their scriptures. Where extremists find it necessary to enforce their belief system on everyone else.

                  I belive fundalmentalists (not extremists) have the loudest voice in Islam today. Unfortunately, I don't know if most Westerners know the difference and that's where the fear comes from.

                  Fundalmentalism has been waning in Christianity since the 18th century with the advent of modernism. Morality is stressed more than doctrine. Modern day American Christian fundamentalist leaders like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Pat Buchannan are considered ignorant and myopic by most Christians I know.



                  [This message has been edited by Seminole (edited May 14, 2002).]

                  Comment


                    #10
                    For all Muslims it is an article of faith that Quran is the unaltered word of God. At the present time there is no muslim or a muslim sect that can waffle about that. So, in that sense, all Muslims are by definition Fundamentalists. The differences arise in how the unalterable words are to be interpreted.
                    Christianity has gone through its Reformation wars which eventually led to Rationalism weakening the Christian Fundamentalists to the point where Falwell and company are held in very low esteem by most christians.
                    So if you factor in the cultural difference between the Muslims and the Secular West, it is incorrect to apply the concept of Fundamentalism in exactly the same manner. Muslims use the word 'extremists' to indicate those who interpret the Quran in such a manner that leads to senseless and self-destructive violence. The issue within the Muslim world is to arrive at a consensus over when and how much violence is justified. Self defence of the Muslim community is considered legitimate and justified. For example, there was disscussion on this forum whether 'suicide bombers' are justified or not? There was no unanamity over that.

                    [This message has been edited by OldLahori (edited May 14, 2002).]

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Nadia-

                      You and I seem to be reading the same stuff today! or you may frequent the Guardian & the Independent like I do.

                      Anyways, thanks for posting!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Nadia,

                        Do you have courage to condemn the Sharyat laws? Do you accept the stoning of women to death? Is a beard and burqa culture very progressive?
                        Can a Muslim think independently when he is afraid of the Law of Blasphemy?

                        It seems that you people are very fond of the word Islamophobia, but let us first find out what Islamophobia is!

                        With best regards

                        Comment


                          #13

                          Anand

                          Phobias are persistent, irrational fears of certain objects, situations or systems.

                          A person who has a phobia is often so overwhelmed by their anxiety that they go to great lengths to avoid the feared object, situation or system!

                          In this context, people like you have persistent FEARS of Islam. Therefore you suffer from Islamaphobia!

                          Your comments and objections over the months have shown this!

                          You avoid accepting Islam for what it is? Instead you try to define Islam with your biased and warped views.

                          Now you know what Islamaphobia means, you can move on.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Domination and numerical majority do not necessarily go togather.... The small extremist minority totally dominates to the extent that judges have become so intimidated that they are 'ineffectual'.
                            Old Lahori, How representative is Pakistan's Muslim population of the entire Muslim community? I'm sorry it sounds crass to state this but, if Muslim extremists did dominate our religion, then there would be substantially more killings of non Muslims. I completely agree, religious terror does persist in Pakistan - but to extend this fact to argue that Islam is dominated by individuals of such a mentality, is stretching it (in my opinion). There are millions of Muslims in Indonesia, milllions in north Africa, mils. in North America - who is dominating their way of thinking?

                            I belive fundalmentalists (not extremists) have the loudest voice in Islam today. Unfortunately, I don't know if most Westerners know the difference and that's where the fear comes from.
                            Seminole, thank you that's a carefully-made distinction. Among fundamentalists as well there will be disagreement over how literally to interpret the scriptures - I consider myself a fundamentalist in the sense that I believe in my relying upon genuine Islamic principles. Perhaps all extremists are fundamentalists, but not all fundamentalists are extremists. Fundamentalism does not necessarily equate someone who is intolerant, although that's the contemporary connotation.

                            Muni, I find that the Guardian (esp.) & the Independent are more objective than the rest - I've basically left reading Cdn. newspapers because of their lack of sufficient int'l. coverage.

                            Anand, do you have the courage to distinguish between a religion's principles, vs. the actions of its adherents? It's a simple yes or no query.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              [QUOTE]Originally posted by Nadia_H:
                              I consider myself a fundamentalist in the sense that I believe in my relying upon genuine Islamic principles

                              By your defintion, I too am a fundalmentalist as I believe in following the true Christian principles taught by Jesus.

                              But I define a Christian fundamentalist as one who believes that all passages in the Bible are equally valid and equally useful as a spiritual guide. They believe that they are as valid today as they were in the time of Adam and Eve. And that each passage of the Bible should be interpreted literally.

                              Liberal Chrsitians (like myself) believe that some parts of the Bible are not suitable as a guide to modern living. Such as: laws regulating slavery, passages restricting the roles of women, ordering the murder of religious and sexual minorities, civil governing by priests or dictator and requiring the burning of some prostitutes alive.

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