This Week in Islamophobia
by Yasin Bangee
Indeed the other week the mosque I attend was targeted by fools throwing eggs. It had an air of inevitability about it. Despite convincing myself that the area I’m from is beyond such knuckle dragging behaviour why would we be treated any differently? Anti-Muslim sentiment is at an all time high.
In America, post 9/11 all Mosques have been listed as potential terrorist organisations. That again, surprises me but only because I was surprised. It should be expected, shouldn’t it? Mosques are central gathering locations for Muslims, and Muslims are a dangerous backward lot hell bent on bringing down the western sinful utopia, right?
This week saw Stephen Fry engage in bigotry to help out that old friend of his, Richard Dawkins. On twitter scores of people brought up the age old “he can’t be racist, Islam isn’t a race”. The language used by Stephen Fry, specifically “they/them” pointed to a savage brown race of people populating the middle east. To deny that is preposterous. Does Mr Fry not know that Chinese Muslims are greater in number than the total Muslim population of Europe.
There’s no one Muslim type, there’s no “they” or “them”. There’s groups of bigots who act out under the guise of Islam, or who use Islam to feed their bigotry but that’s true for almost any group in the world. Bigots exist in every shape, colour, creed and class and use whatever material or belief they can to legitimatise their bigotry.
A lot of people seem to *think* they know Islam, or what a Muslim is, and what a Muslim thinks. Even Muslims buy into this homogeneous one world idea and spend their days telling other Muslims what they must and must not think.
It’s nonsense. You don’t know me, or my reasons for following Islam or why I find faith to be such a personal issue that it doesn’t warrant discussion with those playing devil’s advocate.
The worst part of religion is how so many people will invent misconceptions and attach them to you, because you choose to follow a certain faith. If we widen that approach and attach it to those people who dress or talk a certain way we’d call it bigotry or ignorance.
Even still I find that Islam within the religion sphere faces a higher level of scrutiny. How many think the Middle East is populated by Muslims solely? When a random Middle Eastern country does something awful and strange Muslims all over the world are made to answer. But does the same apply to other faiths prominent in that region of the world?
Islamophobia is the new kid on the block and it’s easy to get away with. It exists from those articles I linked up above, to intellectual debates within the white community of “them”.
But they don’t know me.
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
Editors note: Stephen Fry replied to accusations of Islamophobia in his own words on 30/08/12: Am I an Islamophobe?
- Stephen Fry hits back at accusations of Islamophobia (independent.co.uk)