Only Muslims can cure the disease of Islamophobia

In a world of trending hashtags where nothing stays relevant after 48 hours, the word “Islamophobia” seems to have attained a degree of permanence

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“All my life, I (Ghalib) kept making this mistake,
The dust was on my face, and yet, I kept cleaning the mirror.

– Mirza Ghalib, a famous 19th-century poet

Last week, France was gripped by large-scale rioting involving individuals from the Muslim community. Cities across the country witnessed a wave of violence [1], with hundreds of cars and buildings set ablaze, widespread looting, and targeted attacks on schools, city halls, and police stations. Disturbingly, the home of a mayor in Paris was subjected to rocket fire, resulting in injuries to his wife and children. Notably, Fresnes Prison was also targeted with fireworks. The unrest extended to various regions, including Toulouse, where clashes and arson incidents led to arrests and the burning of multiple vehicles. National police stations, gendarmerie barracks, municipal police stations, town halls, schools, and other public buildings were among the numerous targets of attacks. The magnitude of the destruction is evident, with over 90 public buildings reportedly having been attacked.

The recent riot by individuals with Islamist leanings in France has once again sparked discussions about the relationship between Islam and violence.

What’s Ailing the Muslim Community?

With approximately 2 billion Muslims worldwide, representing about 25.1% of the global population, Islam stands as the world’s fastest-growing religion. However, despite this growth, certain challenges persist within Muslim communities.

Even in the 21st century, gender equality and access to education remain distant aspirations in many Muslim societies. Uplifting and empowering women, fostering their education, and ensuring their active participation in all spheres of life hold the keys to societal progress.

The prevalent madrassa-based education system primarily focuses on religious studies, lacking broader academic exposure. The influential presence of religious leaders has impeded individual growth and societal advancement within the Muslim community.

Furthermore, Muslims have exhibited homogeneous voting patterns, leading to their identification as influential vote banks by political entities worldwide.

Addressing The Jihadist Jumbo in The Room

While terrorism is not exclusive to Muslims, there is a recurring theme when analyzing [2] global incidents of violence.[2] While Muslims do not hold a monopoly on terrorism, individuals affiliated with Islamic terror organizations or acting as Muslim lone wolves often feature prominently in these acts. Islamic terrorism is a significant concern, with a quick internet search revealing a list of 109 Islamic terror organizations, including Al-Qa’ida, Al-Shabaab, Ansar al-Dine, Ansar al-Islam, Ansar al-Shari’a, Asbat al-Ansar, Boko Haram, Taliban, HAMAS, Haqqani Network, Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami, Hizballah, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e Tayyiba, Indian Mujaheddin, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan.

This raises important questions:

– Why do so many Islamic terrorist organizations exist?

– What is their ultimate goal?

Many scholars argue that Islamists worldwide are striving to establish a political system governed by their interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia. However, challenging this narrative often results in being labeled an Islamophobe.

Shut up, you Islamophobe

Islamophobia is one word that never goes out of vogue. In a world of trending hashtags where nothing stays relevant after 48 hours, the word “Islamophobia” seems to have attained a degree of permanence, digital immortality. As far as the definition is concerned, Islamophobia refers to the fear, prejudice, or discrimination against Islam, and its adherents, collectively known as Muslims. If Muslims are to be believed, Islamophobia manifests in various forms, such as stereotyping, social exclusion, bigotry, and in severe cases, harassment or violence. In recent years, the condemnation of Islamophobia has become a state obsession in most European states, the United States of America, and Canada.

Muslim claims suggest that Islamophobia operates on two levels: systematic and interpersonal. Systematic Islamophobia, it is argued,  manifests through discriminatory laws, regulations, and practices that marginalize Muslims. On an interpersonal level, it is said to surface in the form of individual biases, discriminatory behavior, or hate speech.

Muslim communities often contend that Islamophobia predominantly stems from misconceptions about Islam and its followers. They emphasize that the central religious text, “The Holy Quran,” promotes messages of love, compassion, and harmony. However, it is often misunderstood or quoted out of context, contributing to a false narrative that Islam condones violence, terror, and ‘Jihad’ against non-believers.

Moderate Muslims: Who Enable the Extremists

These sentiments are frequently expressed by moderate, affluent Muslims, as the average Jihadis, who may lack extensive education, often find it challenging to articulate their rationale. In the aftermath of global terror acts linked to Islam, a familiar pattern emerges. Moderate Muslims, often accompanied by left-liberal advocates, express age-old refrains such as “Terror has no religion” and “This has nothing to do with religion.” Despite their attempts to separate the two, these arguments often miss the mark in addressing the complex reality.

Spin it like Moderates

Orlando nightclub shooting: Moderate Muslims argued that easy gun availability, [3] rather than homophobic sentiments, enabled the attack.[3] However, this perspective ignores the harsh punishments for homosexuality in Muslim-majority nations.

Charlie Hebdo massacre: Moderate Muslims blamed provocative cartoons and a small extremist faction for the heinous act. This view overlooks the severe penalties for blasphemy and insulting the Prophet Muhammad prevalent in numerous Islamic countries.

Istanbul airport attack: Moderate Muslims argued that since the victims were Muslims, the terrorists couldn’t truly be followers of Islam. This argument fails to account for intra-religious violence and human rights abuses affecting women and LGBTQ+ individuals in certain Islamic countries.

While preserving the reputation of Islam and its adherents, Muslims, by dissociating them from any connection with extremism, is a commendable objective, it is essential to acknowledge that mere statements do not always reflect the complete truth. Denying any link [4] between ISIS and Islam contradicts the reality that ISIS draws upon various aspects of the faith for its narrative.[4]

Moderate Muslims – The biggest enemies of Muslims

Those who apologize for acts of terror are not substantially different from terrorists themselves. They provide intellectual patronage to violent elements within the community, enabling their actions. While affluent moderate Muslims often deviate from traditional Islamic norms and their children do not study in madrassas, they seldom become Fidayeen or lose their lives in bomb blasts. Thus, it becomes evident that moderate Muslims pose a significant threat to the progress of the Muslim community.

The challenges faced by the Muslim community require internal reflection and active participation from within. Muslims themselves possess the power to bring about meaningful change and uplift their communities. It is crucial for Muslims to address issues such as gender inequality, limited access to education, and the influence of extremist ideologies. In order to bring about significant change within the Muslim community, it is crucial for Muslims to challenge the influence of moderate intellectuals and Mullahs. The current state of affairs, unfortunately, indicates that achieving this goal may seem like wishful thinking.



[1] The fatal police shooting of a teenager rocked France. Was it a ‘George Floyd moment’?

[2] Islam Is a Religion of Violence

[3] Orlando shooting: 49 killed, shooter pledged ISIS allegiance

[4] The perils of Islamic apologetics: Does ISIS really have nothing to do with Islam?

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