The entire Muslim community outcried against the recent blasphemous events of desecrating the Holy Quran outside a mosque in Sweden.
Islamophobia, growing like a continuous nuisance is strongly needed to be put under control. Many mindful personalities have spoken up for this matter but there is a strong organizational lack of consideration here.
Muslim states have made no strong impact other than just a mere condemnation of Islamophobic hate crimes. Although joint efforts of Muslim countries from the platform of the OIC resulted in the promulgation of a resolution by the UN which designated 15th March as an International Day to Combat Islamophobia, the Islamophobic events are still on the rise in the West. It is the need of the hour that Muslim leadership must take the lead in combating this epidemic. The rising Islamophobia is due to a negative understanding of Islam and Muslims, thus, the true spirit and teachings of Islam should be portrayed before the world.
OIC an organization of 57 member states has proved itself to be of little significance in this matter. Besides, the condemnation and publication of observatory reports, OIC has done nothing in this regard. Organization of Islamic Countries has failed badly in countering this rising nuisance. It has failed to make the global community realize that this anti-Islamic hatred has been posing incalculable damage to the Muslim community in the Western hemisphere. Thus, this is the time for the OIC to come up with robust measures and strategies to make the world realize that this proliferating phenomenon must be addressed once and for all. Although pushing the UN for passing a resolution against Islamophobia was a great step forward, it must have to come up with legislative measures and must have to persuade the platforms like UN and the EU to establish global legislative measures to put down this menace.
Muslim leaders are required to use every diplomatic forum to highlight this issue before the world community.
An effort was made by President Erdogan of Turkey, PM Mahathir Muhammad of Malaysia, and PM Imran Khan of Pakistan in 2019 the creation of an organization that would proactively promote the real image of Islam in front of the world, letting the world know that there exists a peaceful side of Islam rather what is propagated by Islamophobes. Recently, these states have agreed to launch a common TV channel that will project the real image of Islam and Muslims across the world. That is indeed a landmark initiative in this regard. Similarly, proper foreign policy level diplomats were to be assigned the tasks of raising their voices against Islamophobia and bringing up the issue at the international level via state representatives. This is the best viable way through which the Muslim community can make the world realize this pandemic.
The education of the Muslim community in the West about their rights is an utter need of time. The community that is unknown to their rights is unable to defend their rights and henceforth there have been activities going on especially in the US by prominent NGOs for rights awakening programs. The basic course followed in these seminars and activities is to make sure that the Muslim communities of the area are very well known of their rights and responsibilities; hence religious discrimination can be brought about to an end.
Education is the key to developing harmony among different communities. It is duly noted that Westerners who have more understanding of Islam are more favorable towards Muslims. Engaging different communities and encouraging them to get to know about the basis of Islam can be of paramount significance in this matter. Seminars and activities are being held all over US and Europe to help eradicate this gap between Muslims and other communities in order to enhance tolerance and harmony among Muslims and other ethnicities.
Muslims living in the Western hemisphere must have to develop harmonious relationships with other religious and ethnic communities to disregard the popular narrative of alienism.
These Muslim communities must have to organize seminars, conferences, and interactive sessions in cooperation with multi-faith communities to develop a positive and real image of Islam and Muslims. This will result in the propagation of the image of Islam as a religion that in reality preaches pluralism and mutual coexistence in a peaceful manner.
There is an utter need of confronting Anti-Muslim hate groups as this is the practical side of the solution. The spread of bigotry should be stopped practically as this would actually bring a sense of responsibility among the different communities. Ignorance towards these groups has actually enhanced the problem in the past and this know-nothing dilemma actually fueled the problem. With a budget of billions of dollars, organizations such as media cells instigated Islamophobia amongst different ethnic groups and these organizations need to be confronted. The Anti-Muslim hate groups behind the policies such as the Muslim ban should be criticized and their policies should be dealt with strong opposition. It is the need of the hour that governments should introduce effective legislative measures to counter any racial or religious hate crime against other communities.
Political representation creates a huge change in this regard. Muslims rising as senators and representatives of an overall variety of communities will create a sense of ownership among the members of society and in turn, they will own their leader who is from the Muslim community. Politically prominent Muslims in many states of the US have surely brought about a massive change, governors, members of the Senate and local representatives have risen from the Muslim community on their own. In 2018, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib became the first Muslim women elected to Congress. If Muslims are encouraged to take their part in politics and represent the communities overall, there will be a sense of leadership emerging in them, while representing the whole community, they will also foster a harmonic relationship amongst the communities and also create an awakening among the different communities regarding basic Islamic principles, eradicating the ideals of alienism that have been persisting for too long. Recently, American Senate passed the “Combating Islamophobia International Act” proposed by Ilhan Omar, a Muslim representative in American Senate. This bill is aimed to establish within the Department of State the Office to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia and addresses related issues. This indicates that politically empowered and representative Muslims will persuade policymakers to enforce legislative measures for the protection of the Muslim community.
There is no doubt that Muslims in the West had nothing to do with the extremist mindset that brought about terror attacks nor did they have some magic wand that would put an end to all the extremist mindset. Nevertheless, there is a need at the organizational level to speak up and let the world know about the misinterpretation by these extremist groups of Islam and that Muslims themselves have been the biggest target of extremism and terrorism in general.
The Muslim leadership of different organizations can actually bring about an awakening campaign and speak up against extremism and tell the world how the misinterpretation of Islam is done.
Muslim countries must have to bring forth robust measures to prevent violent extremist incidents at the domestic level (the recent Sialkot incident) that contribute to the development and portrayal of the negative image of Islam and Muslims. This is as important as speaking up against the bigotry of Anti-Muslim hate groups.
Islamophobia is a reality that is nothing new. Muslims are the newest religious community to face this sort of bigotry and discrimination, before Muslims, many other communities had to go through the same discrimination and had to walk the same road. Islamophobia in general is a rising menace that should be put down and it is not only a matter of the Muslim community but overall, the world community. This is high time for global leaders from different multi-ethnic nations to come to the front and raise their voices against Islamophobia. The organization of Islamic Countries has to revisit its purpose of creation, and it must have to develop vigorous measures that are indispensable in countering this burgeoning nuisance. Muslim countries that have a say in the West should effectively raise the issue before them. In the end, it will be the joint effort of a world community that can play an effective role in curbing this epidemic of Islamophobia.