Rise of Islamophobia in the West
The anti-Islam sentiments are at its peak in the West despite the warning and protests from Muslim states and community. The major reason behind anti-Muslim wave is mounting nationalist ideology of politicians. International community/ organizations are not taking enough actions to stop the publication of anti-Islam content, which may hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims. Recently, a French magazine Charlie Hedbo again republished blasphemous content.
Islamophobia became a popular term in ideological debate following 9/11 attacks in US, and it has also been retrospectively applied to earlier incidents. Despite agitations and protests, Western states have failed to prevent publication of anti-Islam content and publication of blasphemous cartoons.
On 30 Sep 2005, Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons (Muhammad cartoon crisis) began after Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 editorial cartoons, most of which depicted Prophet Muhammad. The issue received prominent media attention worldwide, leading to protests across the world in late January and early February 2006.
On 09 Feb 2006, Charlie Hebdo reprinted cartoons of Jyllands-Posten Muhammad controversy and added some of their own. Compared to a regular circulation of 100,000 sold copies, 160,000 copies were sold and another 150,000 were in print later that day.
In most recent incident, French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on 1 Sept 2020, republished the same cartoons about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Islam that prompted a deadly attack on the magazine in 2015.
The caricatures were reprinted a day before the scheduled opening of the trial of 14 suspected accomplices who were accused of providing logistic and material support to the two terrorists. Apart from Charlie Hebdo‘s publication, anti-Muslim rallies were also held in different states of the world such as Germany, France, UK, New Zealand, Myanmar, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Israel, Switzerland etc over the decades.
The publication of blasphemous or anti-Islam content is likely to increase intolerance in society particularly in West. Muslim community won’t tolerate the publication of such kind of content and will surely resist against these moves, which will ultimately create divisions within the different communities. In lieu of the growing Islamophobia, racist attacks are likely to increase. With provocative action, Charlie Hebdo is needlessly reopening old wounds.
The issue is serious in nature due to the strong religious beliefs or ideology. Leading Muslim organizations such as OIC, GCC and Arab League must have to take up the issue at international forums while set a siding their political differences with each others. The leading Arab states such as KSA, UAE, Bahrain and many others, may use their personal bonhomie with international leaders and ask them to ensure ban on anti-Islam content in the world by far rights groups.
The unity within Muslim world is key to counter the mounting Islamophobia. There is a need to materialize idea to launch Islamic international channel, whose idea is floated by PM Imran Khan, Turkish President and Malaysia’s former PM Mahatir Muammad during the 74th session of UNGA last year.
International powers must come out openly in support of inter-faith harmony among different communities of the world. The rise of White racist ideology in the West is creating severe differences among the white radicals and other minorities.
The rise of far-right white supremacist are posing acute challenges to the inter-faith harmony among different communities, which is likely to incite the religious sentiments of people. Consequently, anarchy and chaos will increase in the society especially in West. Therefore, international attention is need of the hour.