Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian Muslim body is launching an initiative to address the issue of Islamophobia.
The aim of the campaign is to address the trend of a subtle and overt effort by certain quarters who are spreading and promoting hate crimes and microaggressions towards Muslims globally.
We are deeply concern that targetting Islam and Muslims have been rampant in certain countries leading to communal clashes and prolonged conflict.
The prejudices towards Islam and Muslims is pervasive even by certain governments that tend to embrace an attitude of suspicion towards Islam.
We recognise the danger of a deliberate campaign especially by the west to create a negative narration against Islam and Muslims.
In 2015, Islamophobia reportedly increased by 200% in the UK while anti-Muslim attacks in the US grew by 78%. The term Islamophobia is defined as “unfounded hostility towards Islam”. This includes “unfair discrimination against Muslim individuals and communities” and the exclusion of Muslims from political and social affairs.
Islamophobia is gaining ground in many hostile governments. The accusation of Islam as a
threat is profoundly exercised in countries that perceived Islam to be a formidable challenge to the modern western civilization.
While non western countries like China , Myanmar , India Sri Lanka are entrapped in the ideology of religious non co-existence and non harmonius relations with Islam , extremist nationalist groups are tapping on the premise that rejecting the presence of Islam equates with safeguarding national interest. Islamophobia and xenophobia take center stage and hate crimes against Muslims prevail.
The recognition of the Islamophobic menace is reflected in the UN General Assembly which passed a resolution proclaiming 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. It was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly.
We salute the effort by Pakistan that has introduced the resolution calling for establishing the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.
We express deep concern on the issue of Islamophobia that has emerged as a new form of racism that includes, among others, discriminatory travel bans, hate speech and the targeting of vulnarable Muslim girls and women for their dress.
The growing tensions mean that many ethnic and religious minority communities are increasingly experiencing racism in their everyday lives.
Quoting from an article “Eight ways Islamophobia operates” in the
Conversation, Professor Peter Hopkins looks at how Islamophobia affects everyday life . ” .. not only Muslims are targetted by Islamophobic racism. A diverse range of people from different ethnic and religious minorities also encounter it on a daily basis, mostly as a result of people assuming that they are Muslims. Sikhs, Hindus, other south Asians, those with African heritages and even some central and eastern European migrants are all lumped into one category. This can make other religious and ethnic minorities insecure in public spaces, and in their everyday encounters with others ”
In 2002, there were an array of hate crimes that were reported against Muslims across the US, including the burning of mosques, bomb threats, physical and verbal assaults, and discrimination in employment.
We fully support the need to design an effective strategy to counter with appropriate measures and policies in addressing Islamophobia and its negative trends.
There is an urgent need to implement a global action to counter increasing acts of violence against Muslims and Muslim communities around the world.
We take cognizance of the
Islamophobia deep historical roots in the West dating back during the era of the Crusades.
The western consciousness is still infested with the image of Muslims and Islam as a threat .
Even now , some countries are embracing Islamophobia as a policy by suppressive and discriminatory legislations.
The promoters of Islamophobia has even advanced into cultural and identity genocide.
Of particularly concern is the rising hate campaign against Islam dan Muslims in India. As a consequence of an indirect inclinition of the ruling BJP to condone the targeting of Muslims by the right wing nationalist RSS.
We condemn the pervasive assault against Muslims in India that has violated human rights, international law and even the Indian constitution. Not only acts of terrorism against Muslims are now blatant but Islamophobia is clearly pronounced by Hindu religious leaders calling and encouraging for attacking and killing Muslims.
Through the aggressive hate campaign , India has turned into the most dangerous country to reside for Muslims. Violence against Islam has become so pervasive that physical attacks on Muslims has been on a daily basis.
Indian politicians of the BJP ruling party in India have recently made an open blesphemous remark on the Prophet p.u.h and his wife Aishah r.a.h. This was deliberate and intentional to instigate and provoke an outrage from Muslims. The Islamophobia campaign in India is to scare the masses on the presence of Islam and efforts to reduce every historical mark of Islam in India is becoming more aggressive.
The growing Muslim presence in the world has been perceived as a danger while under the pretext of freedom of speech and allegation of Islamic extremism, Muslims are targetted by the governments and the media.
We call all Muslim leaders at every level ( political , intellectual and scholars , professionals and journalists ) to combat this long-standing fear and contempt. This is a global challenge and therefore it needs a global movement to address it.
We call for the government of Malaysia to take serious concern on the dangerous Islamophobic trend that is now fueling negative prejudices and perceptions towards Islam.
Malaysia should join hands with Pakistan to combact the prevailing false and provocative statements against Islam.
With the numerous Islamic agencies in Malaysia, we call for a cordinated and collective effort to deal with misinformation and misundersranding of Islam.
We will organise high impact campaigns by mobilizing Ngo partners , scholars , the media and the governmental agencies to reach out to the masses in correcting the Islamophobic influences.
Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid
Dato’ Seri Ahmad Awang
Chair Alliance of World Masjid in Defence of Islam.
Dato’ Wira Abdul Ghani Samsudin
Chair Secretariate for the Ulama Assembly of Asia.