Tag Archives: Islamophobia

Muslims And Jews Fight Racism In Denmark

One of the ongoing false beliefs in the Middle East by both Israelis and Arabs is the inability of both groups to work in a cooperative manner to further the cause of peace. The Jewish Community in Denmark has forged an alliance with the United Council of Muslims (MFR) to campaign against all forms of racism in the country. It is not just a fight to bridge differences between the two religions, but to confront racism in any form. Finn Schwartz of the Jewish Community, emphasizes, “it is a collaboration on racism and deals with anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. For the Muslims the campaign is aimed at Danish society, while Jews want to address the genera prejudices and pre-conceptions in society as well as Muslims’ anti-Semitism.”

Both groups believe the media has focused too much on conflict between Muslims and Jews while ignoring all aspects of racism in society. To the extent that racism ends in a society, to that extent will prejudice against Muslims and Jews come to an end.

Hate A Jew-Hate A Muslim-Both Groups Hated In Europe

Antisemitism and Islamophobia are on the rise in most places in Europe. In contrast to the United States and the United Kingdom where dislike of Jews has remained at a stable rate of about 7% for years, there has been a significant rise in dislike of Jews in most parts of Europe. However, dislike of Muslims is much higher, and the Pew Survey shows “Opinions of Muslims in almost all of these countries(Europe) was more negative than are views of Jews. Almost half of Spaniards and Germans expressed prejudice toward Muslims who are in their nations. The anti-semitism rate has almost doubled in countries like Spain and about one out of three people in Russia or Poland harbor hatred toward Jews.

According to the survey, “Great Britain stands out as the only European country included in the survey where there has not been a substantial increase in anti-semitic attitudes.” The Pew survey indicates people who are prejudiced against these groups come more frequently from those who are aged or who lack extensive education.

One can only wonder to what extent has the Israel-Palestinian conflict played a major role in fostering the growth of anti-semitism just as the presence of terrorism in the world has increased fear and hate of Muslims.

What Causes Islamophobia?

The Third International Conference of Islamic Scholars met in Indonesia to examine issues pertaining to what are causes of Islamophobia and what can be done to deal with this problem. The conference called on ulemas and Moslem Scholars to emphasize the importance of cooperation in building peace and preventing conflicts that are partially caused by the media exaggerating the importance of Muslim militants. Dr. Ameer Ali, who teaches at Murdoch University in Australia, said after 9/11 his nation became obsessed with fear of Muslims. Australian religious leaders responded to the campaign of fear by organizing interfaith dialogues which cut across all religions. However, he believes a major factor in the rise of Islamophobia is “the deliberate demonization of Islam and Muslims in the western media.”

The scholars believe an important factor in reducing anti-Muslim feeling is engaging in dialogues with leaders of the media in order to offer the public a more balanced view of what is happening in the Muslim world. For example, few in the media even know of the existence of the Conference of Islamic Scholars and their work for peace.

Islam Conference Denounces Anti-Muslim Critics

Concern by Islamic leaders regarding the presence of those in Western nations who attack their faith was expressed by Secretary General Akmeleddin Insanoglu of the Orgaization of Islamic Conferences. He was sharply critical of the growing “campaign of he and discrimination” against Muslims as exemplified by the anti-Quran film, Fitna” which was made by Dutch political leader Geert Wider. “Mere condemnation and distancing from the acts of the perpetrators of Islamophobia will not resolve the issue as long as they reman free to carry on with their campaign of incitement and provocation on the pleas of freedom of expression.” His view was seconded by Malaysian Prime Minister Ahmad Badawi.

It is common for Muslim leaders to express anger at books or films or cartoons which depict Muslims in a negative manner, but few regard anti-Jewish material as also fitting into the category of offensive materials. Vicious anti-semitic books such as “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” sell in the thousands of copies and one can pick up newspapers which portray Jews in despicable ways without any expression of concern by Muslim leaders. The right of freedom of expression is part of the Western tradition and just as Muslims are free to attack and depict those whom they hate so is the right of individuals to hate Muslims.