Causes of Islamophobia
The world today is faced with a viewpoint spread mostly in the west which is known as Islamophobia. A lot of people, especially Muslims find it very offensive and hurtful. Islamophobia is the term that describes the negative feelings towards Islam and Muslims, feelings including fear and hatred. The reasons behind Islamophobia are complex and multifaceted.
Freemuslim Center for De-radicalization and Extremism Prevention believes that the most important reason behind Islamophobia is the lack of information about true Islam. There is a strong correlation between these two. Negative stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam are perpetuated by the media and also politicians which can lead to fear and hatred towards Muslims. The more people know about Islam, the less likely they are to hold Islamophobic views.
The next reason is lack of exposure to Muslims. Productive interfaith dialogue and cultural exchange with Muslims can prevent Islamophobia. There are unfortunately Muslims who do not represent their faith efficiently although being exposed to other religions and this could also be another reason for Islamophobia.
Islamophobia is often used as a tool of public manipulation to manufacture consent for disastrous wars and for votes. The Islamophobia industry, which includes Islamophobic groups and biased media, plays a significant role in this.
In Freemuslim’s opinion, a very important reason for Islamophobic views is the exposure to the news coverage of the activities of Islamist and Extremist groups.
The relationship between Islamophobia and the actions of Islamist and extremist groups is a complex issue. It is important to note that the vast majority of Muslims do not support extremist groups or their actions. In fact, many Muslims are victims of these groups themselves. The violent attacks are carried out by minority groups who are not true representatives of Islam and as mentioned above, they sometimes even harass and harm Muslims as well. The media often portrays Muslims and Islam in a negative light, which can contribute to the spread of Islamophobia.
Also, Islamophobia tends to spike during times of political tension, such as during election seasons or after terrorist attacks.
One of Freemuslim’s main endeavors is to differentiate between the peaceful nature of Islam and the agendas which the Islamist and extremist groups are associated with.
In a conversation about Islamophobia, Mr. Moujtaba Akhwand, Freemuslim’s director, emphasized that this term is not inclusive of all the meanings implied by it. The term Islamophobia carries a very negative connotation and is necessarily associated with fear of Muslims and Islam as a religion and this fear could be the result of lack of awareness or exposure to extremist individuals or manipulative media. The appropriate term for those who commit hate crimes is “anti-Islam” which showcases the events taking place in the society.
Freemuslim promotes peaceful coexistence, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, and religious affiliation. We believe that achieving peace is through increasing tolerance in the society which leads to a more diverse society. The more diverse a society is, the more peaceful it will be.