Islamophobia are formed from the word Islam and phobia. Islamophobia or anti-Muslim sentiment is a term of prejudice against, hatred towards, or fear of the religion of Islam or Muslims. This term entered into common English usage in 1997 and is used widely now. The causes and characteristics of Islamophobia are still debated. Some scholars have defined it as a type of racism. Some commentators have stated an increase in Islamophobia resulting from September 11 attacks while others have associated it with the increased presence of Muslims in the United States, the United Union, and the secular nations.
From my view, Islamophobia should not have existed. This is because people in this world have their own rights to choose their belief. Even though some said Islamophobia is just a type of racism, this is not fair to the religion itself and also to Muslims because Islamophobia is only referring to Islam. This is different to racism, racism is general. As a Muslim, I feel insecure to meet some Non-Muslim. I am glad I live in a Malaysia which Islam is the main religion. For example, in Malaysia, being a Muslim woman who wears hijab is not a problem at all. Most of us wear hijab. As for me, even in other country, there should not be any problem. Wearing a hijab is your choice despite the obligation. We have to respect others and so do them.
Islamophobia is a serious matter in some countries only. Islamophobia is said to be a cancer due to its seriousness. There are some cases that can prove this, for example, the Chapel Hill shooting in North Carolina, the United States in February 2015. The deaths of dental-student Deah Barakat,Yusor Abu Salha and Razan Abu Salha have their lives cut short, in a crime that seemingly had a bias component in it. There is another incident in Fort McMurray, Canada, where a well-respected Muslim community member was shot dead while answering his door. Besides, there are also incidents that have taken place in recent days. For example, on February 12, an Arab-American family was assaulted while shopping at a local Kroger, multiple families have the tires slashed on their vehicles on February 13, and on February 14, the Islamic School of Rhode Island was vandalized with the red spray-painted hate messages. All these examples prove that Islamophobia should be looked into a serious discussion where the rights of all religions will be taken care of.
Due to Islamophobia, Muslims life have been affected especially those who live in a country with majority of its people are non-Muslims. Ever since the events of September 11, the intolerance of Muslims and hatred towards them has escalated. Islamophobia has stoked fears in the Muslim community across the U.S especially, which has the highest statistic of anti-Muslim sentiment. The current climate has contributed to the sense that Muslims in America will have to deal with the consequences of broader international issues beyond the scope of their own communities. There has been a big rise in physical attacks on Muslims and on their places of worship. This includes men, women and children being harassed in the streets, schools and at the work place. Muslims now are afraid to do their daily shopping, to go to work, to go to school and they are even afraid to go to the places of worship. Furthermore, there are also some cases where Muslim passengers were asked to leave the plane even after boarding because some of the Non-Muslim passengers were afraid of them. This whole scenario has caused the Muslim community to feel vulnerable. Moreover, there is a story I heard from someone in the internet where he said a friend of him was forced to drop out of an undergraduate course because of his Non-Muslims colleagues’ attitude towards him just because he is a Muslim. In short, Islamophobia does leave effects on Muslims.
In addition, Islamophobia does not just affect Muslims but Non-Muslims as well. It hurts those who are perceived to be Muslims or friendly to Muslims. For example, on August 11, 2012, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, six Sikh Americans, five men and one woman, victims of a terrorist attack were laid to rest. They were killed in their house of worship, the Gurdwara, where they had gathered for prayers and celebrations. This is maybe because of their outfit that makes the terrorists mistaken them as Muslims. A male Sikh must cover his hair with a turban while a male Muslim covers his head with a skull cap which looked almost the same. However, this is irrelevant. On the other hand, Islamophobic also affects economic relationships. For instance, in Australia, a South Australian company is set to lose its contract with an airline giant. Their food and drink manufacturers have been targeted by Facebook pages like Halal Choices and Boycott Halal in Australia for their decision to pursue the certification. This means when a company decides to drop the halal certification, the other company which maybe is their client who wants the halal certificate would end their contract. As a result, either one or both of them will face a loss.
In my opinion, Islamophobia is relevant in some cases but in other cases, it will become irrelevant. Islamophobia is relevant because there are some incidents that occur in which the incidents leads to an increase in Islamophobia. For example, since the September 11 attacks, Islamophobia increases especially in the United States. The September 11 attacks were a serious of four coordinated terrorist attacks on the United States on the morning of September 11, 2001. The news said that the attacks were done by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda while some said that they were a conspiracy. Therefore, when people acknowledge the attacks were made by Muslims, of course they became afraid and terrified of the Muslim community. This is why I said Islamophobia is relevant. Meanwhile, in some cases I don’t think Islamophobia is relevant. People are just being closed-minded. For example, there are cases where Muslim women who wear hijab are being attacked by Non-Muslims. There was once in London, the United Kingdom, where a Muslim woman was attacked for wearing hijab. When she was walking to collect her two children, she was approached by a number of women and they started to shouting abuse at her, they pull her hijab off and beat her. This kind of Islamophobia is irrelevant because different religion has different beliefs which everybody has to respect.
Since I am a Muslim and will be flying to the United States next year, I already have some thoughts in mind on how to tackle situations relating to Islamophobia. I searched the internet and do some readings on Muslims’ experiences in this matter. First and foremost, I will show them the good side of Islam. For instance, Islam teach its people to treat people nicely, respect aged people and love the kids, to always smile to each other, to greet people nicely and all the good things. I will do that kind of things to tackle the Islamophobic. Besides, I will have to have a great faith in Islam to avoid myself from being beaten by the Islamophobic like even when they throw filthy words at me and beat me for wearing hijab, I will not change my mind yet I will remain wearing hijab.
In conclusion, Islamophobia is not just a form of racism, it is more than that where people become afraid of the Muslim community and try to avoid them. However, nowadays the level of Islamophobia has said to be decreasing due to some surveys that are being conducted. This is a good news because there will be no more wars, no more attacks and no more deaths. The world will stay in peace.
Lora Moftah, L. (2015, February 11). Chapel Hill Shootings: Muslim Community Fears Consequences Of Rising Islamophobia. International Business Times. Retrieved from http://www.ibtimes.com/chapel-hill-shootings-muslim-community-fears-consequences-rising-islamophobia-1813244
History.com Staff, (2010). 9/11 Attacks. History.com. Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks
Garibaldi, G. (2012, August 11). The Sikh Temple Carnage, White Supremacy and Islamophobia. Loonwatchcom. Retrieved from http://www.loonwatch.com/2012/08/the-sikh-temple-carnage-white-supremacy-and-islamophobia/
Mooneye, M. (2014, November 15). Islamophobia Doesn’t Only Harm Muslims. Loonwatchcom. Retrieved from http://www.loonwatch.com/2014/11/islamophobia-doesnt-only-harm-muslims/
Olivia Harris, O. (2015, June 7). Muslim woman attacked in London ‘for wearing hijab’. RT English. Retrieved from http://www.rt.com/uk/265549-london-hijab-attack-racist/