Extremists! Fundamentalists! Terrorists! Do these words ring a bell? Yes, these are descriptions of Muslims coined by the “liberal”, “progressive” media, especially the Western press, over the centuries.
The term ‘Islamophobia’ is a more recent one, the use and misuse of which has increased manifold after the September 11, 2001 attacks, also known as 9/11, on the World Trade Centre in New York.
The Cambridge English Dictionary describes the word Islamophobia as an “unreasonable dislike or fear of, and prejudice against, Muslims or Islam.”
Islamophobia, which has spread in many parts of the world, is often used by the West to define its war against the world of Islam and Muslims.
The media, especially in the West, has been bombarding people with anti-Islamic rhetoric to the point that many uninitiated end up forming a negative image of Islam in their minds without even knowing what real Islam stands for.
According to a report published in the Time Magazine (April 16, 1979), more than 60,000 books were written against Islam in a span of 150 years – from 1800 to 1950. It means more than one book per day.
Closer home, the Indian version of Islamophobia, indiscriminately peddled mainly by the right-wing media, shows it as a threat to the secular fabric as well as the unity of India.
The reasons for Islamophobia can vary from place to place and region to region. Overall, Islam poses a threat to interest-based banking system and to the endless list of social evils, be it sexual anarchy, gambling or alcoholism. Islam is also a threat to the political authority of the powers-that-be.
Despite the false propaganda, bias and prejudice against Islam, not to speak of the atrocities against Muslims, the religion continues to draw people towards its fold.
Islam gives the legitimate right to fight against aggression or when oppressed, like many other religions do. But some verses of Quran often mislead people about Islam.
“And kill them where-ever you find them, and expel them from where they expelled you, as persecuting people to sway them from God’s religion is worse than killing. But if they do fight you, then say them; This is the recompense of the disbelievers.”
This verse is often quoted out of context and is used to attack Islam. It should be understood that Allah mentions fighting as a means of self-defence. This can be applied only in particular circumstances where Muslims have to defend themselves from oppression and aggression.
“Fight because they are wronged.”
It is also stated in the Qur’an that whenever the enemy ceases its hostility and compromises, then Muslims should cease fighting. “And if they incline to peace, then incline to it and trust in God.” [Quran – 8:61]