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Islamophobia: History, Faith and Politics

Islamophobia: History, Faith and Politics

When the fourteen-year-old Texas teenager Ahmed Mohamed got curious to impress his teacher with his engineering skills by showing the clock he designed in 20 minutes, the response he got was not a firm handshake and a pat on the back, but found his hands cuffed- behind the NASA tea-shirt he was wearing- after an hour and a half of interrogation that the circuit-board-clock looked like a ‘movie bomb’. The internet community went berserk on #IStandWithAhmed by holding analogue clocks to offer their support and showed their solidarity against Islamophobia, which as many believe to be a modern day concept post 9-11.

President Obama's tweet on Ahmed Mohamed's arrest

President Obama’s tweet on Ahmed Mohamed’s arrest [Pic: Ubertopic]

History of Islamophobia

Is a minor faction of the contemporary Islamic community and their grave barbarianism responsible for this growing fear and hatred against the entire Muslim population? The history of the contextual usage of the term Islamophobia dates back to 1918. The term was used in a French biography of Prophet Mohamed by its authors, the French Orientalist painter Nasreddine Dinet, who was born as Alphonse-Etienne Dinet and an Algerian intellect. When the book was translated in English, the word Islamophobia wasn’t used but the phrase ‘feeling inimical to Islam’.


Later in 1923, the term found its place in Oxford’s Journal of Theological Studies. Palestinian-American literary theorist, Edward Said in 1985, used the word in his very famous book, Orientalism. He is considered to be the Father of Orientalism, which hinges on the idea that the Westerners perceive a sense of responsibility to patronize an otherwise passive Eastern world.

The Runnymede report of 1997 titled Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All, proposed the fear towards the community as a justifiable behaviour by attributing some eight conservative characteristics to those who practice Islam worldwide.

It’s not just Islam… Aversion towards a particular community of people is not happening for the first time in our history. Anti-Semitism, a form of antipathy towards the Jewish community, existed since 3 BCE in Alexandria, pervaded through the Holy Crusades and is still prevalent in some of our continents. Thus, the Jews had their gruesome, bloody encounters, expelled, persecuted and annihilated in history on the very same face of this Earth.

Misrepresenting faith:

The reason for this prejudice and bias based on people’s faith is not so abstruse to comprehend. Fear. But it blunts our faculty to differentiate who is loyal to their faith and who isn’t- assuming and believing strongly that all faiths preach love and peace. Rather, it makes the particular faith or community misrepresented and misunderstood, by those who falsely claim to be the followers of the true faith and the rest of the world, respectively.

Thus, Islamophobia came into existence due to the pessimistic blood mongering wolves that have lost their faith in themselves and yet believe that their status in heaven will be ascended to that of martyrs who didn’t shed blood to save lives but made bloodshed more prevalent to win and sustain the faith of their Master Almighty.

By being barbaric and merciless towards fellow men to win the favour of a merciful Divinity, what is lost is what was intended to achieve: a peaceful social life of their community. Any faith teaches to be more receptive and welcoming towards others, and if the opposite is enacted, the consequences too will be contradictory.

Faith and Politics

These behaviors become conducive for political policy makers to authorize and exercise laws and make easy for more troubles to be invited. Instability is something desired in political philosophy to keep things under control and such terrific ideals as a response based on the false perception of faith would make it more beneficial to those who wield power for political gains at the cost of hundreds or even thousands of lives.

Politics understands faith as a business that works in its favor and has continued to do so for all these years. Thus, a threat in the form of faith could be a political weapon that can help blindfold people to the policies and all other discrepancies in the system.

A protest against Islamophobia in Australia

A protest against Islamophobia in Australia [Pic: Greenleft]

Political tantrums and revolutionary, violent reactions are mainly responsible to keep the conflict going, and it is high time to stop analyzing where it all began. We are in an undesired state of mess where everything looks so chaotic and unpromising, as we have already erred enough to make it nearly impossible to set things right. Even, if people stop misrepresenting and misunderstanding any faith through untrue claims, we are fortunate if politics doesn’t keep it going. Thus, it all depends on two things: People and more importantly, political will.

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