Hassan Nafaa, writing in al-Ahram, reported on his attendance at the conference held in Bucharest on June 7-8 dealing with ‘Combating Discrimination and Promoting Mutual Understanding and Respect.” Nafaa raises five key points in his article.
1. The Universality of Intolerance. No group, no nation, no religion, no region has a monopoly on intolerance and hate. It is found in every corner of the world and in every form of society ranging from democratic to dictatorial. We are all capable of being haters under the skin we wear.
2. Islam is a religion, not an ideology. Terrorists and believers in democracy both cite the Islam religion to support their ideas and to accept al-Qaeda or any other terrorist group as speaking for all believers in Islam is both intellectually and morally wrong.
3. Islamophobia ignores the universality of the Islamic people who constitute about 20% of the world’s population. I find it fascinating no one ever employs the expression “Christianophobia” to imply that Christianity seeks to torture, brutalize, and engage in genocide because Christian Nazi Germany acted in that manner. How about “Spainophobia” since Spain killed millions of people in the western hemisphere and took over many nations with brutal force?
4. An anti-Muslim attitude is a fairly new phenomenon in the world. There is scant evidence such attitudes were widespread prior to 9/11.
5. Several nations are using “Islamophobia” in order to implement their own agendas. It is a perfect cover because it conjures images of death and destruction which enables those seeking to invade Iraq to kill and destroy– in the name of anti-Islam. Israel also justifies its actions on the ground that Muslims, by definition, threaten its existence. As Nafaa notes: “The invasionof Iraq and Israeli attacks on Palestinians are part of the problem, not the solution.”
If you get a chance, read his article.