“Islamophobia” and Racism of The West .. A Reading of Indicators and Causes (part 1)

Western countries raise slogans of respect for human rights and freedom and present their image in the world as democratic countries that allow everyone to express opinions and respect intellectual and religious pluralism, but it is now clear that these are false slogans. Language differs when it comes to the interests and rights of minorities in those countries in which crimes of discrimination, racism, and hatred against Muslims and their sanctities are spread.

Attacking Muslims and their property, burning Qurans, and vandalizing mosques has become a regular and frequent occurrence, carried out under the protection of the police under the pretext of freedom of expression, and in complete disregard for the feelings of two billion Muslims around the world.

What happened in Denmark, Sweden, and many other European countries, in terms of burning the Qur’an, reflects the growing phenomenon of “Islamophobia” in it, and legitimizing it in light of the authorities’ permitting such actions, and deliberately distorting the image of Muslims and intimidating Western society from their presence.

In order to address the phenomenon of “Islamophobia”, which poses an imminent threat to global coexistence, especially the Muslims represent nearly 10% of the total population of Europe and constitute a source of intellectual, scientific and cultural wealth for Europe, the Strategic Forum for Public Policies and Development Studies issues “Deraya” a research paper that monitors and analyzes the reality of The phenomenon of Islamophobia in European countries through the following 7 axes:

First: The concept and origins of “Islamophobia”.

Secondly, “Islamophobia” is a manifestation of racism.

Third: Indicators of the growing phenomenon of “Islamophobia”.

Fourth: Reasons for the rise in the phenomenon of “Islamophobia”.

Fifth: the challenges to addressing the phenomenon of “Islamophobia”.

Sixth: The efforts of the Egyptian state to confront “Islamophobia”.

Seventh: Proposals to eliminate the phenomenon of “Islamophobia”.

The main findings of the research paper are as follows:

1-The phenomenon of “Islamophobia” is a form of racism and discrimination that affects all aspects of Muslims’ lives, from education and work to obtaining citizenship and full participation in society.

2- a big gap between official reports and the reality of the spread of “Islamophobia. Only about 12% of Muslims who are discriminated in the EU countries report their cases to the authorities.

3- “Islamophobia” has become institutionalized. France, Austria and Denmark are the most exacerbated countries in Europe.

4- The French authorities took control of 1,727 Islamic institutions, closed about 118 and confiscated about 10 million euros between January and August 2022.

5- Attacking about 42% of the 1,800 mosques in Britain.

6- European governments refuse to recognize the problem of “Islamophobia” and to set a specific definition for the term.

The research paper also suggests the following:

1- Considering hostile behavior against Islam and Muslims as a crime punishable by international law.

2- Enacting legislation and laws targeting extremist and racist groups that practice hostile manifestations against Muslims on the ground and virtually, and ensuring that they are punished for the racist crimes committed.

3- Develop a specific definition agreed upon by the countries of the world regarding the term Islamophobia in order to allow Muslims to report any crimes they are exposed to.

4-Activate the political and social roles of Muslim communities as part of the fabric of society and not as second-class citizens.

First: the concept and origins of Islamophobia

The term Islamophobia is one of the relatively recent terms, and it is seen as a compound term consisting of two words, an Arabic word “Islam” and a Greek word “phobia”, which means an unconscious and unjustified fear of situations, people, or activities, and therefore the term is considered foreign. It is not Arabic and translates to fear and phobia of all that is Islamic.

Islamophobia can also be regarded as the most eloquent expression of Islam’s status in the West. It is a word that has entered the dictionary of European politics and turned into a single term with limited meanings. It refers to the phenomenon of Western society’s fear of Islam and their perception of it as a non-coexistent religion with modern material civilization, and one that justifies the use of violence to achieve its aims.

United Nations defined “Islamophobia” as a term that means fear, prejudice and hatred of Muslims that leads to provocation, hostility and intolerance by means of threatening, harassment, abuse, incitement and intimidation of Muslims and non-Muslims, both in the online and offline world. Motivated by institutional, ideological, political and religious hostility that transcends into structural and cultural racism, it targets the symbols and markers of being a Muslim.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation defined the phenomenon of “Islamophobia” as the excessive fear of Islam and Muslims, or anything related to the religion of Islam, such as mosques, Islamic centers, the Holy Quran, the veil, etc.

Here, a distinction must be made between two basic stages in which the events of 11 September 2001 stand as a dividing point:

The first stage: the stage before the eleventh of September 2001 AD, which is characterized by the scarcity of using the concept, despite the fact that the Islamophobia and its intellectual implications is an old phenomenon.

The second stage: After the events of September 11 and the horrific terrorist operations that followed (the Madrid bombings in 2004, the Moscow bombings in 2010, etc.) that were allegedly carried out in the name of Islam, suspicions towards Muslims escalated and the mental image of Muslims was promoted as killing innocent people, and the mental image of Muslims was promoted as killing innocent people. The use of the concept in a remarkable way, and this term has become widely used by many in European countries and the United States of America.

Secondly:“Islamophobia” is a manifestation of racism

Islamophobia is a form of racism and discrimination because it targets Muslims based on their religion. Racism is reflected in “Islamophobia” in the negative trend, unjustified fear, sharp criticism and prejudice directed against Muslims, as well as the threat to their security in the streets, transportation and all life activities, And committing murders and acts of violence against them, such as physical assaults, destruction of property, ill-treatment of women, especially those who wear the hijab, burning mosques and distorting the sacred symbols of Islam.

Thus, it can be emphasized that the phenomenon of “Islamophobia” has come to affect all aspects of Muslims’ lives, starting from education and work, leading to obtaining citizenship, citizenship rights and full participation in society, which contradicts the values of justice, equality and human rights, which are guaranteed by Article 18 of the Law. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Every person has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom to manifest his religion or belief through worship, rituals, practice and education, alone or with a group.

Third: Indicators of the growing phenomenon of “Islamophobia”

The majority of reports and studies indicate that the phenomenon of Islamophobia is on the rise in European societies, most notably the recent European report on Islamophobia for the year 2022, which indicated that the phenomenon of Islamophobia has become institutionalized, and that France, Austria and Denmark are the most countries where the phenomenon of Islamophobia in Europe is significantly worsening.

A report issued by the Islam phobia Observatory of the O I C revealed that the continent of Europe has occupied the first place in the scale of the spread of the phenomenon of “Islamophobia”, followed by Asia and then North America, while the observatory indicated that both France and Britain included the most prominent activity related to Islamophobia.

It should be noted here that there is a large gap between official reports and the reality of the spread of the phenomenon of Islamophobia in its various dimensions, especially since the vast majority of European countries do not record incidents of Islamophobia as a separate category of hate crimes, which limits the mechanisms for revealing the true extent of the growth of this phenomenon, as well as the establishment of about Only 12% of Muslims who experience discrimination in European Union countries report their cases to the authorities.

This analytical paper monitors the most prominent indicators of the growing phenomenon of “Islamophobia” in most European countries, based on several international sources and reports, most notably the “Islamophobia in Europe 2022” report, as follows:

A- Hate crimes and attacks against Muslims and their religious institutions:

France: The Coordination for Combating Islamophobia in Europe (CCIE) recorded in its report about 501 complaints in France during the year 2022, as stated in the Islamophobia in Europe report in the same year, which confirmed that the policy of “obstruction” pursued by France led to the control of 1727 Islamic institutions, and the closure of 118 and confiscation of 10 million euros between January and August 2022.

Britain: Religious hate crimes recorded a greater increase in Britain in 2022, by 37% compared to 2021, as the number of Muslim victims reached 3,459 out of 8,730, constituting 42% of the total victims of hate crimes.

Germany: 364 crimes due to Islamophobia were recorded, including 26 targeting mosques, noting that crimes exceed these numbers, especially since the latest official statistics have not yet been issued by political bodies in Germany.

Spain: Hate crimes increased in 2021 by about 401 crimes compared to the total number of hate crimes in 2020, according to the annual report for 2021 issued by the Spanish Ministry of the Interior in October 2022.

Austria: More than 1,000 hate crimes against Muslims were recorded in 2022, according to the “Islamophobia in Europe 2022” report. The Documentation and Guidance Center for Austrian Muslims also mentioned in its report issued in early 2022 that Austria witnessed 1,324 racist attacks against Muslims, most of which were on websites and digital platforms in this country.

And that 15% of those who were subjected to racism and verbal and physical attacks were men, while about 40% of the attacks targeted women.

Netherlands: The report “Islamophobia in Europe 2022” noted that about 67% of attacks against Muslims were related to belief.

Denmark: The report confirmed that approximately 49% of the 792 hate crimes that occurred between 2017 and 2021 were committed against Muslims.

In the absence of State condemnation and impunity for hate crimes, incidents of racism were increasing and the problem was worsening.

B- Discriminatory decisions and laws against Muslims:

the most prominent indicators of the growing phenomenon of “Islamophobia” is the decisions taken by governments and political parties, and the accompanying legislation that directly targets Muslims and limits their religious practices, and they are treated differently from other religious communities, which has led to the closure of Islamic institutions and NGOs without any lawsuit or evidence of their extremism, as they claim.

Western countries apply different types of laws such as banning the call to prayer, mosques and veiling. In Belgium, for example, ritual slaughter is still prohibited in some areas, and in Sweden and Denmark many Islamic schools have been closed on the claim that “the children there are at risk of extremism.”
In 2022, the French Minister of Education launched a campaign targeting Muslim students and teachers, claiming the spread of religious symbols in French schools.

In the Netherlands, the Minister of Education decided to place non-formal education in mosques and Islamic weekend schools under inspection and monitoring as a form of restriction and limitation of the freedom of education.

The European Court of Justice has also upheld laws prohibiting the wearing of women’s veils in private institutions to prevent the appearance of any Islamic symbol on the pretext of preserving their neutrality

C- Political discourses hostile to Islam and Muslims:

Organized political speeches and campaigns directed against Islam as a religion and against Muslims are among the most prominent forms of the growing phenomenon of “Islamophobia.” For example, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to continue publishing cartoons insulting to the Prophet Muhammad, saying: “We will not abandon drawings and caricatures, even if some back down.” as “freedom of expression”.

During her presidential campaign in 2022, Marine Le Pen described the hijab as an “Islamic outfit” and explained that she wants to ban it in all public places and put those who wear it under penalty of financial fine, while French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour stated during his campaign that: “Muslims should take a distance from the Quranic text that pushes to fight Jews and Christians, to restrict the freedom of women, And that integration is the only possibility of accepting Muslims on French soil.

For his part, Czech President Milos Zeman said: “We respect Islamic countries and their beliefs, as long as their inhabitants do not come to Europe because once they arrive in Europe, the two civilizations collide with each other,” calling on his country’s citizens to be careful about what he described as “terrorists.” Islamists.

The Dutch (right-wing) Freedom Party also proposed during its electoral program the application of a restrictive immigration policy and a complete ban on immigrants from Islamic countries. The right-wing politician Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party, published a video clip on his Twitter account under the title “No to Islam, No to Ramadan.” Freedom, not Islam.”

d-Growing popularity of the extreme right:

Extreme right-wing parties in Europe worked to perpetuate fear of Islam and Muslims and sought, through their systematic campaigns, to distort Islam and attach charges of “terrorism” to every Muslim residing in their countries, exploiting this matter to achieve electoral goals and political gains. It is represented in increasing the number of votes that it reaps through the ballot boxes, and access to power, so slogans appeared, including “Islamization of Europe” and “the hidden Islamic threat”, and other slogans that provided the extreme right with a discourse heard by a large segment of European societies.

Some right-wing parties have also established organizations aimed at countering “Islamization” in Europe, and supporters of the far-right in Germany launched in 2014 the “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West” movement called “PEGIDA”.

There are several prominent parties of the extreme right, spreading in European countries and openly expressing their hostility to Muslims, the most prominent of which are the Dutch Freedom Party, the French National Front Party, the Austrian right-wing popular party, the Danish right-wing popular party, the Danish Nationalist Party, the German Alternative for Germany party .. and many others.

E- Deliberately not using the term “Islamophobia”:

European governments refuse to recognize the problem of “Islamophobia” and use the term in their discourses. There is a political insistence not to recognize the existence of a racist problem against Muslims in order to legitimize and support racist practices on a large scale.

The British government refused to adopt a definition of the term “Islamophobia”, which had been proposed by a number of Deputies of some parties, after a warning from experts and specialists that this step may hinder the fight against terrorism and may undermine the right of airport and seaport police officers to arrest and search suspects, without obtaining prior permission.

G-Duplication in dealing with refugees

Since the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war, the duplicity in dealing with refugees was evident by various European countries, as refugees from Ukraine were welcomed because of their religion, claiming that they were “more civilized compared to Syrian refugees,” while Europe closed borders and erected walls to prevent refugees from other regions, led by them. Muslims.

Many European officials have stated that Muslim refugees constitute a “threat to the demographic character and Christian identity in Europe,” and they warn of Muslims becoming the majority of the population in Europe if Muslim refugees continue to be received.

And they stress that: “Receiving Muslim refugees means providing fertile soil for carrying out possible terrorist attacks”. For example, the Ukrainian refugee, upon his arrival in Germany, the state directly grants him the right to work, and his children the right to education. The British government also granted Ukrainian refugees great facilities, and urged citizens to receive them in their homes in return for supporting them with monthly sums of money, while Muslim refugees are exposed to separation from Their families, living in camps, and being treated in a humiliating manner, and it has come to the point of assaults on them by the police deployed at the borders.

F- Employment racism

European countries are witnessing clear manifestations of racial discrimination against Muslims in the labor market, where many of them are deprived of various job opportunities despite the availability of the necessary qualifications and sufficient experience, which constitutes a violation of their rights and a failure to achieve justice and guarantee equal opportunities.

A research published on the Oxford University website in July 2022 stated that 65% of Muslim women who attach their photos in the hijab with a CV when applying for a job in the Netherlands and Spain are rejected without being invited for an interview.

Some reports indicate that a Muslim may face discrimination five times more than others when looking for a job in some European countries.

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