Naked Islamophobia

In a time where anti-Semitism is being seen as the epitome of hatred against a community, there has been an egregious uptick in anti-Muslim rhetoric across the West with the world increas­ingly turning a blind eye. The most recent attack pertaining to this elephant in the room took place in Philadelphia during Eid, one of the biggest religious occasions for Muslims around the world.

The attack left three people injured, and it has only added to the pile of violent attacks against Muslims in the West. In the post-9/11 era, Muslims have not exactly been treated as equals in Western nations, and Islamophobia was often implicit in the way that Muslims were treated by Westerners abroad, facing discrimination from all walks of life.

However, this has devolved into a palpable increase in explicit and physical violence against Muslims and their religion, rath­er than their identity. The UK has seen over 2000 incidents of Islamophobia since the October 7 attacks, compared to 600 in the year prior. Over 14 mosques have been vandalised since Oc­tober as well, and the motives behind these attacks are no lon­ger steeped in ambiguity.

Incidents similar to the stabbing of a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy in Chicago suggested that this seemed to be an attack on Palestinians more than anything else, but the sentiment has ex­panded to Muslim populations overall. It seems that many individ­uals who harbored these sentiments but did not want to have the label of xenophobia attached to them have found the perfect op­portunity to take advantage of the conflicts in the Middle East. The conflict between Israel and Palestine has certainly served as a cat­alyst for heightened tensions and increased hostility. Islamophobic rhetoric, fueled by political leaders and major Western media out­lets, has further exacerbated these tensions, painting Muslims as the “other” and scapegoating them for geopolitical conflicts. Mus­lims abroad are now being vilified to the point that violence against them is not only acceptable but encouraged.

Despite efforts to combat this, the problem is becoming more pervasive and will spell trouble for any Muslim living or trying to settle abroad. Western nations must now honestly ask them­selves – if the roles were reversed, and these were 3 Jews at­tacked during Hanukkah, would the world stay silent as it is right now? It is time for the West to engage in some serious reflection.

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