by Yasin Bangee
A lot of discourse over the internet recently has focused on the supposed comparison made between Islamophobia and racism. Detractors of Islam have argued they should be free to criticise aspects of Islam without being called a racist.
Racists on the other hand are excusing their own bigotry by gleefully pointing out Islam is not a race.
Whilst it’s true that Islam is a world religion, with Muslims found from Chile to China that in itself does not mean Islamophobia and racism are separated.
The West perpetuates a certain type of Muslim when considering Islam, terrorism and the Middle East. The man will almost always be brown, hooked noise, bushy eyebrows with a beard of some length. A manic look and an open snarling mouth no doubt illustrated to portray a person of hate, spouting bigotry against the ideals of the West.
The woman will almost always be in some form of a headscarf, a niqab or burkha. She will be with 2-3 other women dressed similarly, perhaps looking meek or obedient to suit the western perception that women of Islam are oppressed.
When the West uses these caricatures of Islam, the victims of anti-Islamic sentiments are women and men who fit the above physical description. It’s no coincidence that mosques are targeted with bombs, or Asian men with beards are stabbed to death by white supremacists, or that brown children are targeted for racial abuse all over the country. I’ve written about such instances in my earlier Islamophobia pieces.
It’s also interesting to note that Islamic women who match the western perception face a greater level of danger from racists or anti-Muslim proponents. Read this; Pregnant Muslim woman attacked in Paris miscarries and tell me why she was targeted. Or this, where 5 Muslim women speak of their experiences of bigotry. A few examples of Muslim women facing aggression usually at the hands of white men. The reality is that such instances probably number in the thousands across the UK.
French burka ban – the truth behind the veil | OBV
Islamophobia and race aren’t separate, not when the aggressors target specific men and women for anti-Muslim attacks/abuse. The society we live in has taught us all that Muslim Man/Woman are a specific type of brown, bearded and scarfed individual. When bad things happen and Muslims face scrutiny attention focuses to those ideal and typical Muslims and they bear the brunt of racist hatred and violence
That’s how Islamophobia and racism merges together.
Yasin Bangee is a writer based in the North West. He writes about his main passions, football, social justice and inequality, and offers thoughts on all things political. As a a British Muslim he has first hand experience of the rise and impact of Islamophobia. Archive of his column ‘This Week in Islamophobia‘ Find his writing at False7andahalf
- You don’t know me. #Islamophobia (mediadiversityuk.com)
- Top Ten differences between White Terrorists and Others