Everything perishes save His Face
I never thought I would write on a topic I always considered overly hyped, but sooner than feared, a stage came when it pricked me. Time and again, as events unfolded, the concentrated but shoddy research being done on Islam by the ‘Unskilled’ stupefied me, and then those researchers certified their characterisation of Muslims that was angled at a particular stance. This gratuitous attention seemed to be the trend in many places globally. For we had heads of states praising the goodness in Islam but castigating its followers for becoming ‘Islamists’; scholars were busy laying the groundwork for a civilizational war where the problematic followers of Islam, it was assumed, would be lined up against the rest of the world. Then some sundry upstarts, who were never Church-goers, or least conscious of their faith, were teaching Muslims the proper tenets and values of Islam. In a matter of a few years, it seemed there was an Islamic scholar at every second corner stretching from the United States of America to the Republic of India. And if we were to believe them, a terrorist was lurking around the in-between corners with a rusty Kalashnikov left behind by the Russians.
While this artificially induced claptrap was going on, Muslims in various parts of the world found themselves at the receiving end of ridicule and chastisement…
Finally, I came to my senses and realised Islamophobia was here. I had to now either live with it in shame or accost it. I have already gone through over six decades of variable experiences, hence, not unduly enthused about what more is in store, but I am certainly worried about the world I would leave behind for the children. So I opted to confront Islamophobia, no matter if it was asking for confrontation with the big-wigs…
When I took upon writing on this subject, I knew I will come across sordid stories that needed to be exposed to make any impression, and that this writing was going to turn out into a sort of ‘combat writing’. But by softening it, the whole exercise would have been fruitless. Someone had to bell this inveterate menace.
The Taming of Islamophobia
Syed M. Rizwan
During the presidency of Jimmy Carter, the Harvard University scholar Samuel Huntington was the Coordinator of Security Planning for the National Security Council, and his 1993 thesis, Clash of Civilisation, was on none other than the emergence of a post-Cold War New World Order situation. As per his rather dramatic views, wars in the future would be fought not between nations but between cultures and religions. He has categorised the civilisations of the world as Western, Latin American, Islamic, Sinic (comprising Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese), Hindus, Slavic Orthodox, and African. Of these 7 or 8 civilisations, he has singled out Islam as the biggest threat to Western domination.
No prizes for guessing who has been caricatured and then demonised as a consortium of terrorists. The next question is does the White race have two right hands, while both hands of Muslims are wrong? Nuclear arsenals all over the world are safe as long as they are in the right hands, but they instantly become dangerous when they fall into the wrong hands. An incongruous instance is the Chinese discovered gunpowder in the 9th Century, and Muslims acquired its knowledge in the 13th Century, but its potency was first tested thoroughly by the two right hands in two successive world wars that obliterated 15 million lives.
The infected can be a Christian, a Jew, a Sikh, or a Muslim, but nowhere does their respective religion teach them how to use guns. It is the people around a potential gunman who meddled and tormented him long enough for him to pick up a gun and fire back at the society that failed him. It fails to mollify the reason a Muslim who picks up a gun to fire randomly is immediately branded a terrorist and not as a delinquent who could be suffering from a major psychological disorder. Why must his religion be co-accused, and his community pay the price? What method has been practiced for this equation?
Not to be missed is that though the language of the phrases and slogans may differ, the right wings of both the West and India are obsessed with the fear of minorities catching up with them in numbers and wealth. The private moral-police contingent of Islamophobes of both regions have taken it upon themselves to censure and punish Muslims and other minority groups sometimes for historical wrongs, no matter if the wrongs are imaginary, sometimes for pseudo-nationalism, sometimes for sedition, sometimes for religious and cultural differences, sometimes for the type of meals and styles of dress, and more often to gratify the penchant of settling the ancient score….
I have recalled the short history to give the background to the new fervour that was enforced to spread hatred for profitable polarisation through Islamophobia. After the political alteration, Muslims in India had been consistently losing political ground, which left them defenceless against slander and targeted hatred. Corruption had a temporary role of enacting the enemy, as its continuance would have created hurdles for the new regime, which now reverted to its tried and tested stratagem of Muslim-bashing. This module had now become much easy to practice because Indian Muslims continued to discard pretentious godfathers, and it left the considerate leftover legislators without punch.