US exports anti-Muslim hatred to Europe, Asia: Scholar



People with posters rejecting racism and Islamophobia during a rally in Toronto, Canada, Feb. 4, 2017. (Shutterstock File Photo)

People with posters rejecting racism and Islamophobia during a rally in Toronto, Canada, Feb. 4, 2017. (Shutterstock File Photo)

The U.S. plays a role in “exporting” anti-Muslim hatred in Asia and Europe, amid a surge of the issue in those regions, U.S.-based Professor Khaled Beydoun told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Tuesday.

“The U.S. has exported Islamophobia to Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and beyond, in a destructive way,” Beydoun said.

The professor at the Wayne State University School of Law also said the U.S. administration laid out a new framework for the Muslim identity with the rhetoric of “war on terror” after the Sept. 11 attacks, as March 15 International Day for the Elimination of Islamophobia draws close.

“The more Muslims appeared more like Muslims, the more they were suspected of being involved in terrorism,” he said.

“The United States provided a new language of counter-terrorism. In addition to that, there was a new legal and policing architecture that came into play that the United States sort of engineered, and governments across the world adopted. Specifically governments that had a vested interest in persecuting Muslims adopted this new American language, and adopted this new American policing paradigm to crack down on their own Muslim populations.”

Pointing out that the “war on terror” campaign of the U.S. is effective in a wide area from Asia to Europe, Beydoun said, “Before 9/11, Uighurs living in China were not defined as terrorists, extremists, or those affiliated with transnational terrorist networks.”

“Uighurs were more often described as ‘separatists, subversive, rogue, and criminal,’ but this new American language of terrorism has equipped the Chinese government with unlimited power to neutralize Uighurs as if they were terrorists. The same applies to India, Myanmar, Sweden, France, U.K., and the whole world,” he said.

5 countries with most Islamophobia: China, India, France, US, Myanmar

Citing his studies, Beydoun also said, “First of all, I can say that China is the worst because China is an authoritarian government that practices the most horrific forms of Islamophobia, such as concentration camps and ethnic cleansing. Focusing on Islam, it is a kind of ethnic cleansing aimed to destroy the Uighur people through genocide.”

Noting that India ranks second in anti-Muslim sentiments, Beydoun said, “In India, which has the second-largest Muslim population in the world, (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi regime and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are using Hindu supremacy as a tool to destroy Muslims in the country. And it does this in very horrific ways, using the Law of Citizenship (which excludes Muslims), the headscarf bans in the states, or the usurption of the citizenship of Muslims.”

Placing France in third place, Beydoun noted, “I would say France is number three because France has sort of set forth the template of the Western model on how to crack down and marginalize Muslims by way of law. We see this most strikingly in policies such as the headscarf ban. France objects to Muslim freedom of religion, erodes with expanded policies, including the veil.”

The professor also said that after France, the country where anti-Muslim sentiment is felt the most is the U.S.

“The U.S. is the catalyst for the ‘global war on terror’ that spreads and globalizes Islamophobia with anti-Muslim language, perhaps even more powerfully than any other government in the world. Because the U.S. is a superpower, isn’t it? It’s the most powerful country and government in the world, claiming to be a democracy. The U.S. has exported Islamophobia to Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and beyond in a devastating way,” he said.

Referring to the situation of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Beydoun said, “We cannot ignore what is happening in Myanmar. Tens of thousands of Rohingya have been killed and hundreds of thousands of them have been displaced by ethnic cleansing in the country. All Muslim villages, towns, and communities have been destroyed by a militant Buddhist government.”

Media as ‘the enabler of Islamophobia’

Speaking about the role of law and the media in the rise of anti-Muslim sentiments in recent years, Beydoun said, “As a law professor, I observe that law is always the most effective way to advance and expand Islamophobia. Like the headscarf law in France, and the Citizenship Law in India.

“Secondly, the media. Media immortalizes Islamophobia by spreading negative ideas, negative stories, and negative stereotypes,” he said, adding that the media is the enabler of Islamophobia.

Pointing out that Muslims who are discriminated against, marginalized, or killed due to anti-Muslim laws are not sufficiently covered in the media, Beydoun said, “In my first book, I wrote that Muslims are newsworthy only when they are the bad guys, not when they are the victims. After all, there is a Muslim terrorist that every media organization talks about. Isn’t that so? Few media outlets talk about it when Muslims are the victims of the horrific state-sponsored terrorism in China.”

‘Islamophobia is combination of fear and hatred’

Emphasizing that the “fear of Islam” is deliberately produced by politicians in societies, Beydoun continued, “Islamophobia is a combination of fear and hatred. Politicians want to advance their own political, economic, and geopolitical interests by using Islamophobia as a tool. Governments know what they are doing. Politicians know what they are doing when they use Islamophobia as a weapon to support them. For example, former U.S. President Donald Trump has declared Islamophobia as a weapon. He knew that if he used it as a campaign tactic, it would mobilize his base and get more support for his campaign.”

Beydoun also said Western society is afraid of Islam, the essence of which it did not know, and added, “They hate Islam because they don’t know anything about it. There are ideas that Islam is associated with terrorism, that Muslims want to conquer and change European culture, that Muslims oppress women, that Muslims have no desire to fit into the society they enter. I think that’s why ordinary citizens, it’s France, U.K., Spain, Italy, and other countries, hate and fear Muslims they know little about.”


Categories: The Muslim Times

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