By Dr. KHALED TALAAT
If Islamophobia was simply the targeting and persecution of Muslims, then I’m definitely against it. After all, I’m a Muslim living in the West and it is not in my or my children’s best interest to become a target for oppression by racist fascists or to have our preciously earned exercise of freedom, for which we have left our homelands, compromised.
For the same reason, I refuse any misplaced use of the term which will ultimately render it devoid of any meaning!
In my opinion the way Islamophobia is currently construed in the wes is neither scientific nor productive.
While the scientific meaning of the term “phobia” implies an unexplainable and over inflated fear of Islam or Muslims, what we actually find in many cases is a perfectly legitimate fear among targetted groups, including Muslims themselves, of threatening acts committed by some sick individuals who belong to the Islamic faith.
Denying that this is the case is no more productive than denying that racism exists or that it’s increasingly targeting Muslims in many parts of the world, both are childish denials that serve no purpose but to build up frustrations!
Islamophobia is also regarded, especially by left wing groups, as any criticism of Islam even when this criticism is aimed at questioning or understanding the very critical and very legitimate fears of bits and pieces of the Islamic doctrine, and even if the majority of peaceful Muslims also share the same fears and rejection to such harmful doctrines, which, as those Muslims eventually came to find out, lead to destructive tendencies.
I believe that the need to protect Muslims, as a mostly peaceful human group, from the racist reactions to what some of their extremist groups portray them or commit in the name of their religion, necessitates a clear distinction between freedom of religion and the freedom to criticize the religion, between criminalizing any violation of the safety and security of Muslims and the necessity of subjecting their religion and doctrine to scrutiny and also criticism, without fear or intimidation.
In other words, Islamophobia must be properly defined to differentiate between the people and whatever ideas they believe in, and for it to work and be fair for everyone, Islamophobia laws must be devised in such a way that they regard only the safety and sanctity of peaceful Muslims everywhere as of utmost importance, not the debate for or against their faith, or the much needed argument against political Islam, which certainly finds its roots in its holy scriptures.
Human beings are weak and mortal, needing security and protection. Religions, as well as ideologies, on the other hand, get their defences from within, they alone can defend themselves and are only as immortal as what they are worth.