Ateneo de Davao University

Ateneo de Davao

How to handle Islamophobia?

NO DOUBT that the recent bombing in Davao City has a negative impact upon Muslims and Non Muslims in our country today. The bombing had been linked to the Islamic perspectives of Jihad, mudjahideen, and the pronouncements of the Abu Sayaf Group for holy war causing hostile impressions against Muslims.

Because of this, Islamophobia has flooded the social media network against the Muslims. What is Islamophobia? Islamophobia is prejudice towards or discrimination against Muslims due to their religion, or perceived religious, national, or ethnic identity associated with Islam.

As a Muslim, questions like: how do we react to these actions of Islamophobia? What are the proper attitudes towards non-Muslims? What is about the ensuing harassment towards Muslims, men and women, in reaction to these incidents?

We have to recognize that Islamophobia is real. A lot of Muslims may have personally experienced it or know a family member, friend or acquaintance who has.

Social scientists view Islamophobia as the new racism and it must be made known and fought against. Abdul Malik Mujahid, an American Muslim Imam and the founding Chairman of Sound Vision Foundation (the leading producer of educational content on Islam and Muslims), gives us suggestions how to deal with Islamophobia:

1. “Remember the Prophet. The Prophet was subject to horrible insults and hate crimes in his lifetime. He remained steadfast, patient, and tolerant in the face of this Islamophobia. We must model this same behavior.

Good and Evil deeds are not alike. Requite evil with good, and he who is your enemy will become your dearest friend. But none will attain this save those who endure with fortitude and are greatly favored by God. (Quran 41: 34-35) Pray that God guides these people who mock the Deen and one of God’s Prophet.

Note that incidents of Islamophobia are not isolated. Whether it’s the threat of bombing Makkah, calling Islam evil, depicting the Prophet as a terrorist, disrespecting the Quran, discriminating against Muslims, profiling Hindus, Sikhs, or Latinos think they look like Muslims, torturing prisoners, bombing civilians, these are all signs of Islamophobia. Also note that not all media or all non-Muslims support this type of insulting behavior. Many have been at the forefront of condemning torture, bombing and occupation.

2. Equate racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. They all are fruits of the same tree of hate. Start using the word Islamophobia to describe any kind of hate crime or speech against Islam and Muslims. Doing this will make the term uniform and eventually, an accepted part of the English language the way the term “anti-Semitism” is.

3. If you are involved in interfaith work, bring up the topic of Islamophobia at your meetings. Stress the urgency and the need for people of all faiths to help address and condemn it and all other forms of intolerance publicly. If possible, get the organization to issue a public statement condemning Islamophobia in general, as well as in response to specific incidents like those mentioned above.

4. Request your local library to purchase some of the latest books and articles on the phenomenon of Islamophobia. Some of these include Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy, Islamophobia and Anti-Americanism: Causes and Remedies and Combating Islamophobia depend on unlearning intolerance

5. Report any and every incident of Islamophobia you, your family or friends encounter.

6. If it’s an election year, make sure your local congressman or congresswoman who relies on your vote is aware of Islamophobia. Organize a delegation of Muslims in your constituency if you can and arrange to make a presentation on the topic, as well as a list of clear things you would like your congressman or congresswoman to do about Islamophobia if they want your vote.

7. For every incident of Islamophobia, write a letter to the editor and your local civil rights organization about it.

8. Organize a program at your local mosque or community center about the problem of Islamophobia today. Hold a brainstorming session as part of the program as well to discuss how to solve this problem.

9. Thank those who speak out or act against Islamophobia. A quick call, even leaving a message and/or a two-line email message is sufficient.

10. Make Dua that Allah guides those who hold Islamophobic views and practice Islamophobia. The Prophet made Dua for the Quraysh, asking for them to be guided because they were ignorant of what they were doing by committing Islamophobic acts and saying wrong things against Islam and the Prophet.”

Muslims in our country should act collectively and condemn all acts of terror, condemn terrorist groups like ISIS, Abu Sayaf, and others.

Remember that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is described in the Quran as a Mercy to all of the worlds. He came to establish peace, justice, law, and order.

These terror groups do not represent Islam or Muslims. Our Non Muslim brothers and sisters must understand this. Together lets fight Islamophobia.