Islamophobia: crime or ‘freedom of speech’?
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 3
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
Islamophobia recently observed in Europe reached its peak in Germany.
One can recall that more than 17,000 people participated in the anti-Islamic rally in Dresden in December 2014.
This was the tenth anti-Islamic rally, organized against Islam and Muslims. It was organized by the PEGIDA movement and was held under the slogan entitled "European patriots against the Islamization of Europe".
The rally participants protested against an increase in the number of Muslims in Europe and urged to tighten Germany's migration policy. If we take into account that EU member-countries were most affected by the economic crisis recently observed in the world, it is obvious that some political forces are skillfully using Islamophobia in their own interests. This gives grounds to say that in most cases the economic factors caused radicalism, widely spread in the Islamic world and the West. As opposed to the Islamic world, the West manages to hide this factor very well.
Islamophobia in US
While talking about Islamophobia, we often forget that it has two features, namely, political and social.
Today political Islamophobia is observed in the US, while in Europe - public. As for using Islamophobia for political purposes in the US, there is some evidence.
The Republicans tried to use Islamophobia for their political purposes in the US presidential election, held in 2012. Thus, according to the "Zogby Analiz" report (JZ Analytics), around 47 percent of the Republicans in the US consider Muslims as a real threat to the country. According to the same report, around 23 percent of Democrats in the US consider Islam and Muslims as those posing a danger. In total, around 48 percent of the US population believes that Islam poses a real threat to the US and Islam - a radical religion. The US population thinks that Muslims' worldview is similar with potential terrorists.
This is a bad index for the US, which constantly calls for democratic values and tolerance.
On the other hand, around 78 bills restricting Muslims' freedom of confession were submitted to the Congress in 2011 and 2012. Around 73 of them were approved by the Republicans.
Gallup International published the data in 2011. According to this data, around 48 percent of Muslims in the US are victims of the religious and racial hatred.
The churches were not damaged in any Muslim country except for the conflict zones in the Islamic world. Around 13 mosques were damaged in the US in 2009, 53 - in 2010, 22 - in 2011 and 29 - in 2012.
Islamophobia in Europe
If we consider Europe's recent past, it is clear that the European society has serious problems with the recognition of religious, linguistic and racial differences. Moreover, the religious and racial differences, as opposed to the East, are used as a dissociative factor, rather than a unifying factor.
A striking example was the attitude against the Jews in Europe in the mid-20th century. The situation is different in Europe today. So, a policy of "alienation" is conducted against Muslims in Europe because they allegedly do not want to integrate into the society. The officials of European countries somehow 'forget' that all Muslims in Europe are immigrants.
Today, the biggest problem with Muslims in Europe is the religious factor. Frequent use of this factor recede the social, cultural and legal problems of the Muslims into the background.
The strength of the religious factor in Europe, disguised as 'democracy', 'human rights', 'tolerance' and "multiculturalism" can be seen amid the relations between Turkey and the EU.
Thus, according to the French IPSOS company's research, conducted for "Le Figaro" leading newspaper, around 56 percent of French people do not want Turkey to join the EU because it is a Muslim country. This is a negative index for France, constantly accusing the Muslim countries of violating the rights of Christians and the growing radicalism.
It should be recalled that Europe accuses Muslim countries of the growing radicalism and insecurity of the rights of Christians.
Molotov cocktails were hurled to 78 mosques and they were damaged from 2012 to March 2014.
Around 12 acts of vandalism in mosques were registered in Sweden in 2014.
Islamophobia - crime or freedom of speech?
Unfortunately, Islamophobia is growing day by day in many European countries and the US, preferring to talk about "democracy". Of course, this is explained by the freedom of speech.
Unfortunately, those willing to turn Islamophobia into democracy turn a blind eye to growing Islamophobia. They 'forget' that everybody has rights. That is, the criteria considered sacred in the Islamic religion or any other religion, must not be sacrificed to the "freedom of speech."
The leaders of many Muslim countries act for Islamophobia to be considered as a crime. But the West has not taken any actions to curb Islamophobia up till now.
No matter how often Islamophobia would be presented as a freedom of opinion and thought, of course, it is a major factor serving to the growth of radicalism.
It is unconvincing that in the West Islamophobia is considered as a crime similar with anti-Semitism. That is why, recognizing Islamophobia as a crime, mainly, in Muslim countries, can prevent many problems, namely, preventing the growth of radicalism in Muslim countries. Of course, this is connected with the violation of religious values.
Unfortunately, the West, presenting the Islamic world as an exporter of terror somehow turns a blind eye to the countries conducting a policy of genocide against Muslims. Of course, Armenia is one of these countries, calling itself a "Christian shield" against Muslim countries.
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu