In France today, the response to Charlie Hebdo resulted in a cultural and political backlash. At its extreme, the Chinese authorities established “religious learning centers” to create a friendlier Chinese Islam.
Similarly, there are efforts, albeit less aggressive, in France to create a French-friendly version of Islam.
This rhetoric is to appease people rightly upset at the murder of French citizens by extremists who align themselves to Islam but have little to do with it.
And with 5 million Muslims in France accounting for 7% of the French population, it is obvious that the handful of murderers who commit crimes in the name of Islam do not represent wider French Muslim communities.
But this is a shared global problem that originates from the egos found in many communities around the world, where it is my way or the highway: a form of intolerance to different points of view in religion.
Far too much time and energy are spent on defining what Islamophobia is. And this distraction has allowed continued focus and abuse to sustain itself without what is actually needed and an effective counter-narrative.
With a quarter of the world’s population Muslim, it is obvious that the absolute vast majority do not live up to the stereotype of aggressive terrorists determined to cause harm. But with such a large population being Muslim, we instead become a convenient target for racists and racism as a way to distract from the problems caused by others: social injustice, unfair working conditions, a lack of investment to create jobs, etc.
If, as Muslims, or any other minority group, we are to deflect attention away from bias, we must first acknowledge that all forms of injustice are the same, be it towards a Muslim, a Jews, a Hindu, a Sikh, a Christian, even those without faith, and challenge all forms of injustice equally.
One of the names of God we are taught in Islam is Al-Hakam, meaning, The Impartial Judge. As God does not discriminate, it is our responsibility as human beings not to discriminate.
By standing up for everyone’s rights, we end up protecting all of our rights. And it is only by doing this, will we begin to address and overcome the Islamophobia which targets us.
As the Frenchman Alexandre Dumas in his 1844 novel, The Three Musketeers made famous: Un pour tous, your pour un. Meaning, One for all, all for one. Whether in France or anywhere else in this world today, we are one human race, and looking after one another will allow us all to be looked after.Pages: 1 2