Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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Islamophobia in South Asia

Islamophobia has manifested itself in some truly spectacular displays of prejudice in the aftermath of the 911 attack. Violent hate crimes like torture and murder have been coupled with government protests high publicity religious standings that directly target the Muslim population of the world. 

An important thing to understand about Islamophobia is that though it is a religious discourse, it has been racialized over the course of past years. It does not just target the people who follow Islam but mostly the people of Arabian regions. 

Islamophobia has not just been spread through words but actions as well. In Western countries like America, you will find Islamophobic posters on subway walls portraying Islam as a religion that promotes terrorism. It is done to create the illusion that Islam is an inherently violent religion. 

Muslims and Islam are not just targeted in the Western region as Islamophobia is equally violent and aggressive in the Eastern part, especially South Asia. 

Another example of Islamophobia has manifested itself in terms of government legislation. The typical corporates can also be examined here in misrepresenting Islam. This includes media, conservative newscasters, and neo orientalist academics. 

Origin of Islamophobia 

Islamophobia is not a problem of the West or the East. It is a global problem that arises due to the difference in ideologies, intolerance, and supremacist behaviour. It is not the act of one person possessing hatred towards Muslims but of the whole society. 

The most apparent reason for this hatred in the western and eastern world is due to the terrorist attacks carried by a Muslim group against innocent civilians of the United States and the Europeans. Islamophobia is more potent against Arab countries because of the perception that Arabs are terrorists. This is merely because a terrorist group Al Qaeda was linked to a group of Arabian people. 

Islamophobia is at a peak in the United States if talked about the Western region. While in Eastern Regions, the hatred for Muslims and Islam is growing each day in South Asian countries. 

South Asian Countries Promoting Islamophobia 

While South Asia has several Muslim countries, the anti-muslim groups have been active since the start of the 21st century. Anti-muslim agencies and even governments empower these groups.

Research has found that Islamophobia rises around specific events in the countries. An increase in anti-muslim hate crimes has been observed during the Holy month of Ramadan and before Eid-ul-Adha. The conspiracy group on social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter play a huge role in triggering the anti-muslim forces. 

Listed below are some of the leading countries that foster such forces. 

India

India is one of the top countries that supports anti-muslim forces and agendas. The government does not help Muslims unless they are from an influential family. In the times of the pandemic, many Muslims were beaten to death just because Indian extremists assumed that they had been the cause of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The occupied territory of Kashmir is one of the most prominent examples of hatred for Muslims. Islamophobia resides in the hearts of Indian nationals, but the origin here is different. Unlike Islamophobia in the Western region, Islamophobia in India is based on several reasons. 

Generally, Muslims consume meat while Hindus consider cows sacred. It is an obligation for Muslims to sacrifice animals, including cows and buffaloes on Eid-ul-Adha. This triggers the anti-muslim forces, and it becomes difficult for Muslims to practice their religion while living in a Hindu majority locality. The segregation of regions also plays a massive part in it. 

The current government of Prime Minister Modi has also built a regime that spreads hate. Institutions such as schools and colleges are also not safe for minorities. It is repeatedly assumed that Muslim women are oppressed and not given the freedom to speak for themselves. This perspective promotes the negative image of Muslims and Islamophobia in India. 

Myanmar

Muslims have been subjected to hatred beyond comparison in Myanmar. What islamophobes have been doing in Myanmar was considered impossible some time ago. They do not target individuals but whole communities and villages. 

This genocidal campaign has been active since 2011, where Muslims are attacked and killed by Buddhist monks. The Rohingya Muslims are either being killed or being forced to flee the country. Many are stranded across the sea, and many are sold to human traffickers. Up till 2020, around 140,000 Rohingya Muslims are displaced, and 100,000 have already fled the region.

Surprisingly, this extremism of Buddhist monks is not just against Muslims. Innocent Christians have been tortured and forced to leave the country the same way. 

Apart from India and Myanmar, Islamophobia is present in developed countries such as China and Japan. It would not be wrong to say that even Muslim countries do not dare to speak against such actions because of their lucrative business ties with the developed countries. 

Would Islamophobia Ever End?

The hope for Islamophobia to end once and for all does not have strong roots. Ending Islamophobia is not a job that can be done in days or months. It requires proper moral and ethical knowledge to change the mentality of individuals. 

There is also a need to keep a check on the conspiracy theory groups on social media apps. These groups are the leading cause of the spread of hatred against Muslims. Each religion and sect need to develop tolerance and patience, including Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Christians, and Buddhists. A peaceful world is not possible without joint efforts. 

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