Anti-Islam prejudice is not a new phenomenon, it has existed for centuries. As a matter of fact this cycle of disinformation gained momentum with the advent of Islam, when the Arabs accused Prophet Muhammad of being a ‘madman’, a ‘poet’ and a ‘soothsayer’; and warned others to stay away from him, otherwise they would fall for his “magic” and join his ranks. However, they failed to mention that this “magical” effect was owing to the teachings of the Prophet, that: new born girls are not to be buried alive, slaves are not to be treated with harshness, animals are not to be overloaded, only God is worthy of worship and not idols which themselves are created, women are not to be treated as sex objects and so on.
The same Anti-Islam prejudice lead Pope Urban II to “liberate” the holy land from the “barbaric” Muslims. Again, the Pope failed to state that the Christians living under the rule of these “barbaric” Muslims were better off than their counterpart living in Europe.
The situation is not too different today. This prejudice is still there, thriving, and perhaps more widespread than ever at every level é from politicians to the uneducated labour class. It has become rather fashionable to talk about “Islamic Fundamentalism”, “Militant Islam”, “Oppression of women”, “the Taliban”, “Osama bin Laden”, etc in gatherings and on other occasions. We find in the overwhelming majority of cases the same old baseless myths being repeated, with a bit of added spice.
There has been a coinage of terms such as “Islamists” and “Islamic Fundamentalists” and these terms are used whenever an opportunity exists. It is astonishing that the actions of a few individuals bring Islam under the spotlight. More generally if the person involved happens to be a Muslim then Islam gets the blame. However, the actions of IRA, the loyalist groups, the Basque Separatist Groups, Eric Robert Rudolph, etc do not bring Christianity under the spotlight nor do we hear terms such as “Christian Fundamentalists”, “Christianists”, “Christian Terrorists”, etc. In April 1995, immediately after the Oklahoma City bombing, fingers were pointed at “Islamic Fundamentalists”.However when Timothy McVeigh was found guilty, it was simply “Timothy McVeigh” and not “Christian Fundamentalists”.
Similarly the actions of Ariel Sharon, Dr Baruch Goldstein, IDF, Jewish Defence League, etc are not attributed ! to Judaism nor do we hear terms such as “Jewish Fundamentalists”, “Jewish Terrorists”, etc.
The West commonly uses two labels when describing Muslims, the “moderate” Muslims and the “fundamentalist” Muslims. So who is who? Generally the “fundamentalists” are those who oppose any western policies or interests. The definition of “moderates” can now be guessed.
Secondly, who has the right to label someone as a “fundamentalist” and by what standards? The Taliban were “mujahadieen” as long as their actions were in accordance with the US interests. As the interests changed, the “mujahadieen” turned into “fundamentalists”.
The double standards are obvious and quite frankly anyone who takes part in this Islam-Bashing is either ignorant of Islam or a bigot.
The Author is a Software Engineering student and the President of IACN (www.iacn.org.uk), a non-profit organization. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from the United Kingdom.