Observing a day to fight Islamophobiatext_fields
Today the world observes Anti-Islamophobia Day as per the call by the United Nations. In 2022, the UN General Assembly declared the day, accepting the appeal of the 60-member OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) to raise awareness against Islamophobia globally, picking March 15 as the day when an attacker entered the Christ Church mosque in New Zealand and shot dead 51 worshipers. The UN resolution points out that terrorism and extremism cannot be linked to any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. The UN General Assembly presses for optimal global dialogue to enhance tolerance founded on human rights and religious pluralism. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that Muslims face prejudices for their faith and that Muslim women suffer three fold discrimination. A UN special report on religious freedom revealed that suspicion, discrimination and hatred of Muslims are spreading like an epidemic.
There is no denying that accusations of terrorism against Islam and Muslims began intensifying following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the United States on September 11, 2001. The war that the US launched against 'Islamic Terrorism' is still going on even after 22 years. No Muslim country, scholarly body or Muslim public forum in the world has so far supported or whitewashed terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, attempts to ban even peaceful movements and brutally suppress them in the name of eradicating terrorism continue under the guise of Islamophobia. Cartoons slandering the Holy Prophet's integrity are common in supposedly civilized countries. It is customary to brand anyone protesting against them as enemies of freedom. As the UN points out, Islamophobia is intense in countries where Muslims are a minority. No sooner had the rumour spread that people were keeping beef than crowds pounced up on and killed them brutally, reports from Bihar said the other day. The double standard of the media get exposed when they turn a blind eye to such news, giving undue importance to actual or imaginary triple talaq incidents. The reports by media and international agencies, showing the serious challenges religious minorities face in Narendra Modi’s India, are dismissed as traditional anti-Indianism. It appears Islamophobia has gained acceptance to the extent of receiving official patronage.With the general elections just a year away, the stage is set for hate campaigns to corrupt the minds of the majority as much as possible. Even the secular parties that are supposed to fight it either turn a blind eye to it for fear of losing votes or save faces by balancing majority and minority communalism. If the UN’s Islamophobia Day serves to extinguish the flames of hatred and stop it from being spread further globally, then it should be welcomed.
If anyone argues that over 150 crore Muslims are entirely innocent or bear no responsibility in the matter, truth is not on their side. Not many examples in history can explain the harm done to one’s own religion and society by Al-Qaeda that triggered the disaster or the Taliban that gave shelter to its champion, and most recently the IS terrorists outshining them both. While thinking about the service these 'Jihadists' have rendered, which include handing over thousands of innocent women and children to the butchers and turning hundreds of thousands as refugees, one has to suspect that the real enemies of Islam are behind them. The UN document recalls a verse from the Holy Qur'an that said "O people, we have certainly created you from a male and a female. We have made you peoples and tribes only so that you may know each other." The official opening of the FIFA World Cup football tournament in Qatar had the presentation of the said holy verse by the differently-abled Ghanim. The antidote to the misrepresentation of Islam and Islamophobia lies in the universalism that the divine verse proclaims.