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Stop the Blaming: Rise of Ignorance and Islamophobia

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Source: The Huffington Post

By : Editor of the University of Sheffield’s student newspaper, Forge Press, where she is also studying journalism

During the majority of the 1930s and 1940s, around six million Jews (and countless others) were massacred by the Germans in ways unimaginable via gas chambers, starvation or death marches, due to unfounded prejudices.

It is now the 21st century – and despite the genocides the world has witnessed as a result of intolerances – it’s clear that discrimination is still prominent.

More specifically, Islamophobia is on the increase – and while it’s not to say that the discrimination of Muslims in the UK is on par with those unleashed on millions of Jews in the 1930s – the underlying prejudices are the same.

Just last year, YouGov released a poll which showed that 37 per cent of respondents said they would be more likely to support a political party that promised to reduce the number of Muslims in Britain.

In fact, after recent events in Boston – two bombs were detonated just metres from the finish line of the 117-year-old marathon; little than 24 hours had passed since the attack and yet, vicious rumours were circulating social media stating (implicitly and explicitly) that the attacks were done by ‘Muslims’.

While no one condones the bombings, especially now that it has come to light that there has been at least three fatalities and nearly 200 injuries, to place blame on a certain group of people without any or little facts is shocking and very wrong. The dust has hardly settled over Boston and to being accusing anybody is unfair.

To put it simply; not all terrorists are Muslims, and not all Muslims are terrorists.

There are three million Muslims in Britain and less than 100 have tried to commit terrorism; just 0.003% of the British Muslim population.

It is also wise to point out that those who do commit terrorist acts follow an extremist interpretation of Islam, which is followed by the minority, and condemned by many Muslims.

Sadly it wasn’t just the social networking sites that were accusing Muslims of doing the attacks, it was the media too. Conservative commentator Erik Rush sent out a tweet saying that he was blaming Muslims for the attack on Boston and ”Let’s kill them all.” While American broadcasting company CNN broke news that a suspect had been arrested – all good so far. Well, it was until one of its reporters, John King, said that the suspect was a ‘dark-skinned male’.

Perhaps the journalist was trying to give his readers more information about the ‘suspect’ (although it was later revealed that no-one had actually been arrested for the Boston marathons on that occasion).

However if this person had been Caucasian, would it have been reported that a ‘white-skinned male’ had been arrested?

I highly doubt it.

Rush’s comments, however, are unforgivable and will certainly have triggered a backlash against Muslims.

Unfortunately the race and/ or religion of people is included in the news. In my opinion doing so festers hatred into the minds of the public. Such information should only be incorporated in news articles if the event is directly affected by said race or religion and therefore actually important and relevant.

An article on salon.com by Wajahat Ali, said that the people that dread terrorist attacks the most are Muslims – should another attack occur, then they are immediately held responsible.

What happened to the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’?

I’m not saying that Muslims are completely innocent of all terrorist attacks. Of course, they’re capable. But, whether we like to admit it or not, so are most people on this planet – no matter our beliefs, sex or race.

So for the sake of those who died in the Boston marathon, let’s stop the hatred and the witch-hunting.

Posted by on April 30, 2013. Filed under Islamophobia. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

One Response to Stop the Blaming: Rise of Ignorance and Islamophobia

  1. Iftikhar Ahmad

    April 30, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Muslim community unconditionally condemns and repudiates the bombings that took place in Boston. We share the pain of fellow Americans and express our sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed or injured in this vicious attack. The killing of innocents can never be justified. And, it is our hope that the perpetrator(s) of this horrible act soon be apprehended and brought to justice.

    Two brothers, one dead, one alive and at large. After hours when they were known only by grainy images of two men in baseball caps, a portrait gradually emerged Friday of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing. They had come to the United States about 10 years ago from a Russian region near Chechnya, according to an uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md. They had two sisters. As kids they rode bikes and skateboards on quiet Norfolk Street in Cambridge, Mass. But their lives appeared to take different turns — at least until this week, when a video caught them together on Boylston Street, moments before two bombs unleashed terror at the finish line of America’s most famous race. Tamerlan, believed to be 26 when he was killed overnight in a shootout, dropped out after studying accounting at Bunker Hill Community College for just three semesters. “I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them.” he was quoted as saying in a photo package that appeared in a Boston University student magazine in 2010. He identified himself then as a Muslim and said he did not drink or smoke: “God said no alcohol.” He said he hoped to fight for the U.S. Olympic team and become a naturalized American. He said he was studying to become an engineer. More recently, Tamerlan — married, with a young daughter — became a more devout Muslim, according to his aunt, Maret Tsarnaeva. She told reporters outside her Toronto home Friday that the older brother had taken to praying five times a day. He was currently attending the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Mass., university officials said Friday. He lived on the third floor of the Pine Dale dormitory. Ever hear of Tamerlane, leader of the Mongolian hordes who invaded Persia, Turkey, Russia and India in the 1300′s? The brother here was named after him. The IRA was a TERRORIST organization who bombed schools full of children, massacred innocents and put bombs in busy London subway stations …oh, and thy were all “devout” Roman Catholics …..how many Catholics were blamed for this and generalized as terrorists? ..I’m just saying. Why are they being called Chechen, they obviously have citizenship? Is it too embarrassing for the government to call them what they are, after all they gave them citizenship? They’re Americans – not Chechen, but domestic terrorists. The only question is of course why? They also appear to be well integrated into American life just as the 7/7 bombers in the UK so really nobody would be any the wiser.

    Boston bombers are the product of the western education which makes a man stupid, selfish and corrupt. They find themselves cut off from their cultural heritage and are unable to enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. “Mosques don’t radicalize people, people radicalize people.” “Mosque says bombing suspects were ‘occasional visitors,’ never violent. There are many mosques in Europe and the United States that are open to non-Muslims. But, it is important to show proper respect in the mosque.

    Although this is a very unfortunate event (Boston bombing), bombs like this are raining down in the middle east day and night but no one is saying a word or standing up for them. Is the Muslim blood really inferior to everyone else? Religious beliefs should not be the focus of this investigation. There is about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and how many commit atrocities like this? And last time I checked the Aurora shooter’s and the Sandy Hook shooter’s religious beliefs were not publicized and connected to their acts. Religion is only an important factor when its not Christian.

    What’s going on in Texas? Why are we forcing the Boston tragedy down our throats but ignoring an even bigger loss of life in Texas? Why are they being called Chechen, they obviously have citizenship? Is it too embarrassing for the government to call them what they are, after all they gave them citizenship? They’re Americans – not Chechen, but domestic terrorists. The only question is of course why? They also appear to be well integrated into American life just as the 7/7 bombers in the UK so really nobody would be any the wiser.

    Please think and remember in your prayers the victims of Boston bombing. Please do not forget to think and remembers in your prayers the victims of American bombing in Iraq, Afghanistan and drone attacks in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Even in Karachi and Quetta, innocent peoples are victim of bomb blasts and a common Pakistani points his figure at American CIA.

    The true honest practicing Muslims were all absolutely shocked and remorseful about what happened in Boston. This is a huge tragedy and a loss for all as humanitarians. This is so sad.
    IA
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.Uk

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