The horrifying incident of 9/11 led to catastrophic consequences for Muslims around the world. It metamorphosed their lives for the years to come. Thereafter men sporting beards were perceived as threats. In certain instances panic broke out and flights were delayed until the fellow passengers had established their identity and hence had been convinced of their innocence. They were generally taunted, ridiculed, and judged as terrorists in the United States and most of other western countries. Women with scarves tied over their heads were made mockery of on the streets of New York, Washington, and other cities. Spectacles pertaining to unwinding of their shawls by racist elements were recorded on cameras. Administrations failed to control such anti-Islamic sentiments which are now getting stronger and more diffuse with time.

On the very next day pursuant to 9/11 “war on terrorism” was declared by the United States without any careful consideration. The then POTUS Bush while giving a speech to the nation said, “The United States of America will use all our resources to conquer this enemy. We will rally the world. We will be patient. We will be focused, and we will be steadfast in our determination. This battle will take time and resolve, but make no mistake about it, we will win.” The fact is they have been neither patient nor focused. Their determination is laid bare and it is proved now this war can never be won.

First Afghanistan and then Iraq fell into ruins due to unwarranted aggressions. Ill-thought policies of the White House and 10 Downing Street have made a terrible mess of the Middle East. A clear bias against Muslims is manifested in their strategies and actions.

When people, predominantly Arab Muslims, had to leave their homes and countries due to wars begun by the West, their immigration was seen as a stealth invasion of Europe and America. Those who made it beyond their frontiers are being treated disgracefully while time and again a vast majority is returned from their sealed borders. Far-right political parties have gained popularity and slogans like “Protect Europe from Islam” have been raised. Islamophobia industry was developed around the year 2009 when some people in the US came on roads, marched, and protested while denouncing Islam and Sharia. Mainstream media, social media, and internet were used to spread misinformation and generate hysteria. Gradually the movement gained strength.

Mosques were attacked and thrown bombs at. Even some extremists called for setting a mosque on fire during the prayers time while putting chains on the exit. Just after the Christchurch savagery when a terrorist carried out a mass shooting in the Al Noor mosque, two tragic events took place in Europe. In France someone smeared the walls of an under construction mosque with the blood of a pig (an animal considered impure in Islam) with its severed head kept at the main entrance. While five mosques in Birmingham were vandalized, their windows were smashed and walls rendered damaged by unknown people.

According to Al Jazeera, police in the US were told during one of their training sessions that 51% of the mosques in the country were infiltrated by terrorists and their management support Sharia and violence. Radical demands such as to confine Muslims to particular settlements in the same way as Japanese were incarcerated in internment camps during World War II have been made. Muslim politicians are usually labelled as spies of the Muslim Brotherhood who would impose Sharia if voted for. Having a Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan, London has been termed as Londonistan by critics.

The number of organizations which stir up and exploit feelings of blind hatred towards Islam has been tripled in the last three years. Whereas the number of incidents encouraged by anti-Islam propaganda doubled in the period between 2014 and 2018. The rise of Donald Trump, who is a well-known Islamophobe and a white supremacist, contributed further to this phenomenon. He called for a total and complete shutdown on Muslims entering the US and later imposed a partial ban in this regard during his presidency. Even the terrorist who carried out the Christchurch shooting and recorded it live on social media had drawn inspiration from Trump’s radical rhetoric.

Blasphemy against the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) is committed frequently on the pretext of freedom of speech which deeply hurts Muslims’ sentiments throughout the globe. And at the same time holocaust is a sacred cow in the West, and its downplaying or denial can end up a person in jail.

Though the direct victims of Islamophobia may be Muslims, it is the whole Western World which would suffer in the long run. This needs to be dealt seriously and effectively as it can potentially tear apart the very fabric of their society. Unbridgeable chasm is in the making which would not only bring Muslims into confrontation with the others but may also lead to pitting other races against each other.

For a white terrorist to get the same coverage on media as a Muslim would, the attack has to be perpetrated with seven fold higher intensity. Terrorists and mass killers of western origin are prima facie seen as mentally ill and disordered, the favour which Muslims don’t deserve in eyes of the West. The media, both electronic and print, need to put their houses in order and quit biased reporting. Because it’s the media which control the minds of the people. It can fuel as well as put a stop to Islamophobia—which is a veiled threat to the peace of the world.