Terrorist V Terrorism
According to British writer and lecturer, Karen Armstrong, the west is deeply Islamophobic and the Islamophobia is the result of a long process of prejudice, dating back to the Crusades. The recent events have strengthened the prejudiced belief that “Islam is the religion of the sword”. Islamophobia can manifest itself directly in verbal or physical attacks on Muslims but also indirectly in negative images of Muslims presented by the media. Islamophobia was worsened by anti-Islamic policies, publications and activities in Europe and the US. Islamophobia is not only a cause of discrimination against Muslims but also an open threat to world peace. The western media and intellectuals play a significant role in spreading Islamophobia. Hate-mongers have come out of the woodworks in full force. Now, not a day passes without the newspapers, magazines, radio and TV talk shows, Hollywood movies, computer games and even children’s cartoons and the myriad of internet websites and chat rooms, attacking Islam and Muslims. Muslim communities in the western world and its so called leaders have taken the Ostrich-approach. They have buried their heads in the sand hoping the problems would go away. It is not going to go away. The neck of the Ostrich will be cut. Entire Muslim communities living in the west are under attack. According to a survey, 70% of Americans do not want to see Muslims living in their neighborhood. There is not a single day when Islam and Muslims are not attacked by the mainstream news media outlets. Muslims are referred barbarians who must either be civilised or banished before they pollute the egalitarian societies in which they were born or now live. According to a survey in Scotland, half of Scots see Muslims as a ‘cultural threat’. Scotland would lose its identity if more Muslims went to live there. According to DEMOS, British public is more worried about violent crime and immigration, but the British establishment has focused too heavily on terrorism.
Masajid and Muslim organizations are regarded as training centers for terrorists. Thousands of innocent Muslim youths are being searched in streets and hundreds of them are behind the bar with out any trial. No religion advocates terrorism. However, West has directed its anger against Islam and Muslims by inventing Islamic Terrorism. It is the western extremism which is portraying Islam as an evil. It is the extremism in France, Turkey and other European countries where Muslim women are not allowed to cover their heads. Now the Turkish education chief wants headscarf ban lifted. In Britain, there is a social and economic pressure on Muslim women not to cover their heads. Despite international outrage and the US authorities’ own stated wish to close Camp Guantanamo is still holding detainees illegally… in cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions.
There is an undeclared World War III going on in the name of War on Terrorism. The fact of the matter is that Islam is all peace and hence this war is war of terrorism and not against terrorism. Deception and lies are frequently part of the wars and with powerful Hollywood film tools and other media communications devices people of the world are thoroughly fooled, deceived and made confused. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan is an unmitigated disaster that had brought the west generally into disrepute. Inter Milan, the Italian foot-ball team played with an Istanbul team, wearing a strip with “Crusader-Style” red crosses which is offensive to Muslims. The red-cross brings to mind one thing: the symbol of the “Templar Knights”. The cross also symbolised “western racist superiority over Islam”. Inter Milan had manifested in the most explicit manner the superiority of one religion over another. Many EU countries are against Turkey joining EU on the ground that majority of Turks are Muslims with secular constitution. Widespread ignorance and Right-wing groups is the main culprit behind the demonized image of Islam in the west. Islamophobic west has become politically motivated. Western media and politicians are portraying Muslims as “satanic figures”. A recent British study has found that a torrent of negative and imbalance stories in the British media demonize the sizeable Muslim minority and their faith by spreading prejudices and portraying them as the enemy within. Many people in the west, including researchers and those working in the media, unintentionally provide a blemished image of Islam because they are ignorant about Islam and Muslims. The republication of Danish cartoons clearly shows the prevalent ignorance about Islam. The United Nation wanted to introduce a universal law to protect Muslims from Islamophobia, which is spreading like wildfire, but the so-called civilised western establishments, voted against it. It is the fundamental duty of Muslims settled in the west to raise awareness of the spirit and core of Islam.
One by one all Muslim Organizations are going to be classified as ‘Terrorists’. BBC Newsnight has already branded world Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) as terrorist. According to TES, dated 1st Feb2002, Muslim teacher’s website has been condemned for links to militant Islamic groups. It is absurd to brand Muslim teachers website as a terrorist. Its aim is to provide guidance, share experience and discuss every day issues and problems facing Muslim teachers. It is also going to help British teachers to learn to respect and understand Islamic culture and most misunderstood British Muslim community. Racism in schools is alive and well was recognized by the Focus Institute on Rights. Staff in many schools is unwittingly racist but in my view, all British teachers are chicken racist. Racism is rife in National Curriculum. There is no mention of Muslim contribution in the world. Schools reinforce the racism that has been promulgated for centuries. The curriculum is supposed to encourage respect for different nationals, religious and ethnic identities and encourage pupils to challenge injustice. A report on teachers from the minority communities found that racism coupled with a lack of support and career progression is holding some back. Even teacher trainees were encountering racism at placement schools. They would like to discuss their worries more, but only if the senior management team was visibly open and supportive. The management at schools was very defensive about any mention of racism, so the issue could not be discussed in any meaningful way. If a teacher in English school calls a teddy bear Jesus Christ, there would be seriously hostile comments in much of the media. While in Sudan a British teacher was tried and imprisoned for insulting Islam for fifteen days but was pardoned by the President and released after eight days. She said after her release that she encountered nothing but kindness and generosity from Sudanese people. She was treated well in a Government Villa instead of a prison cell. She could have been imprisoned for six months and forty lashes. It is a fact that British teachers have no respect for Islamic faith and subsequently Muslim community, according to research by the University of Derby.
All the Masajid and Muslim organizations are there for humanitarian, educational and youth works. None of them promotes acts of terrorism or support so called Islamic Terrorism. They are busy in those aspects of education, which are neglected by state schools. They satisfy the needs and demands of the Muslim children and teenagers, which were denied by state schools and LEAs. Without their support and guidance the young generation of Muslim would have lost its Islamic Identity crucial for mental, emotional and personality development. Their contribution will be more effective if all Muslim pupils attend Muslim schools with Muslim teachers. It will help to develop positive co-relation between school and home resulting in raising the standard of education of future Muslim generations. For this purpose, I have a proposition that those state schools where Muslim pupils are in majority may be designated as Muslim Community Schools, managed and controlled by Muslim Educational Trusts and Charities. They are in a better position to educate Muslim children according to their needs and demands. A study by the National Foundation for Educational Research confirmed that all faith schools had better results than their secular counterparts. Conservative spokesman on education has praised schools affiliated to religious groups, saying Muslim schools deserved “support” not suspicion.
Iftikhar Ahmad www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk