Islamophobia grows faster today than any other prejudice still existing, taking the position once held by anti-Semitism. Considering how Americans uncritically view news stories that are fed to them, with no doubt that misinformed fears would erupt. Quickly entering the mainstream, Islamophobia is caused by, and causes, closed-mindedness.
Like any prejudice, Islamophobia dehumanizes massive groups of people, creating confusing stereotypes that damage understanding. Extremes stand out, and, because they are the first to be noticed, they make the first impression upon people.
Misinterpreted and Misconstrued Words
I myself question Evangelical thinkers who tag Islam as a “bloody and brutal faith centered around intolerance” and challenge them to look at their own premises. Those thinkers should very much submit themselves to the same type of scrutiny that they subject Islam to. However, I find that these critics and bashers are very much misinformed.
Reading through the Koran, one can easily notice a somewhat defensive tone. However, like any other religious text, the Koran is not meant to be taken in literally. Without any prior familiarity to the religion, it is very easy to dismiss Islam as an intolerant faith. Although Evangelical pundits might have picked up the Koran once, they lack the level of understanding needed to truly see the Koran through the eyes of Muslims everywhere.
“When I see a woman walking around with a burqa, I see . . . a hateful Nazi who would like to cut your throat and kill your children.” ~ Savage Nation
The harshest Muslim-bashing originates from the right wing blogosphere. Writers such as Michelle Malkin, Mike Savage and Daniel Pipes all possess “us and them” attitudes that are obstructive towards peaceful dialogue. Our close-mindedness only incites more violence. Should this fail to change, no progress in peace will take place. I am wholly supportive of free speech, but not when arguments are based off ignorance.
The thousands of readers who rely on Malkin’s view of the world are influenced by her insecure fear-mongering. By doing this, they incite Islamophobia in us, and thus, our ire towards Muslims increases. Muslims react to this type of American bigotry acridly, and the cycle of hatred continues.
The Problem of the Media
The media contributes to the mass suspicion of Muslims. Why is it that when news of an assault made by a Christian, Jewish or Buddhist man comes out, his religion is never highlighted. When a Muslim man assaults a person, his religion and ethnicity is always highlighted. The media, like the blogosphere, is responsible for partially controlling the way people think.
I don’t expect to change any minds with this blog posts. The adamant ways that people cling to their beliefs in spite of overwhelming arguments against them will always remain. I attempted to discuss this problem with Islamophobes that I know to no avail. They simply choose to ignore the topic, saying that they will refuse to be open towards those who try to kill them. Needless to say, the current mindset of today’s Islamophobes is resistant to positive change.
Ecumenical dialogue with enemies has become taboo. We have grown fearful of “the other”, and we simply refuse to step out into the open to face our fears. Islamophobes must learn that their greatest enemies are only imaginary.