Islamophobia has been on a sharp and steady increase ever since 9/11. This increase is even more prominent now since the rise of Trump in America, and the rise of the far right all across Europe. In order to further understand the complexities of the darkness of Islamophobia, below are 5 quotes from various authors highlighting the many different aspects of this ugly turn of events.
Of particular interest are the first and last quotes. The first is from the perspective of the struggle of Black people in America, whilst the last is from the perspective of Jews in World War II (a quote I have used before).
I went on the local NPR station and someone called into the show with a comment about our #AskAMuslim project. She said she was an elderly black woman and went on to describe how she’s only ever seen the kind of discrimination that Muslims are facing right now in the discrimination and racism that black people experienced and continue to experience in America. She rocked me and all I could do was tear up for all the injustice in the world. I could only express to her that #BlackLivesMatter and #antiIslamophobia work are combating the very same problematic ideology. Not only because one third of American Muslims are black, but even more so because ultimately all of these symptoms rise from the disease that is fear of the unknown which leads to fighting that which we do not know. – Mona Haydar
…the mills of Islamophobia do not need any intellectual precision or historical clarity. What keeps them churning is the paranoia of the rich as well as the unfocused fury and rampant frustration of citizens who feel left or pushed behind in highly unequal societies…Like anti-Semitism, Islamophobia breeds in the swamp of fear and insecurity that is truly the modern world for many people. In the hands of skillful and resourceful manipulators, it can turn into a very dangerous force, as we have now witnessed with Trump. – Pankaj Mishra
Those who hate Islam project their anxieties on it, seeing it as fostering violence and lawlessness and fanaticism. They ignore that Western societies in the past two centuries have been many times more violent than Muslim ones. They make “Muslim” a marked identity, as the exotic and exceptional, and for that reason can never accept the normalization of American Islam…Westerners have to stop using Islam to symbolize things that have gone wrong in their own societies, and instead to take it on its own terms. – Juan Cole, describing a “typical American Islamophobe”
Think before asking people to explain an entire race, religion, civilization or geographic region to you simply because they happen to identify with that background. Don’t expect a 14-year-old girl who covers her hair to explain all of Islam to you in ten minutes or less simply because you’re too lazy to read a book. Get a library card and let her eat her lunch in peace. – Melody Moezzi
I heard you mentioned that you want to avoid conversation about the ongoing anti-Muslim rhetoric that is so prominent in the press at the moment, but I really think you missed a trick here.
I just wanted to say that although I am not a religious man I have a strong Jewish heritage. Today being the 71st anniversary of the Holocaust, which is very personal to me for obvious reasons, I think we really need to make the link of how Muslims are being subjected daily to such lazy prejudices, just as my ancestors were, all those years ago.
On this day of remembrance Jews, more than anyone, need to stand up for the Muslim community and the vile rubbish that is spouted in the press pretty much every day. Leave all that Middle East nonsense to one side for the moment, we need to remember that it was not that long ago it was us who were on the receiving end of this type of treatment, and we all know where that ended up.
A lot of my family emigrated from white Russia during the pogroms in the early 19th century to settle in the slums of east London, where it was commonplace to see signs reading ‘No dogs, no Irish, no Jews’. It feels like we’re receding into a society that is happy to say ‘No Muslims’. Just look at what’s going on in the States with that lunatic Donald Trump. We simply cannot tolerate this. That’s all I wanted to say.
Keep the peace.”
Josh, on today of all days I am happy to provide you with an opportunity to bring that message to a slightly wider audience, in the probably naive hope that some people might listen.
– James O’Brein, radio presenter for LBC, reading a rather moving letter on Holocaust Memorial Day from a Jewish man