Mir Shahid Islamophobia
Christchurch terrorist attack isn’t isolated incident of shooting but the manifestation of ideological makeup formed in the minds of other communities against Muslims.
Recently a terrorist entered mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and fired indiscriminately, during Friday Prayer on 15 March 2019. The attack began at the Al Noor Mosque in the suburb of Riccarton at 1:40 pm, and continued at the Linwood Islamic Centre at about 1:55 pm.
The gunman live-streamed the first attack on Facebook Live. The attacks killed 50 people and injured 50 others. A 28-year-old Australian man, described in media reports as a white supremacist and part of the alt-right, was arrested and charged with murder.
The attacks have been linked to an increase in white supremacist and alt-right extremism globally observed since the mid-2010s.Politicians and world leaders condemned the attacks, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the incident as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”. It is the deadliest mass shooting in modern New Zealand history. On one hand the global community condemned the horrific terrorist attack on unarmed and innocent Muslims who were either praying or supposed to enter the mosque. Although the Prime Minister of country condemned in shrill voice the horrible attack but the growing incidences of such episodes reflects the anti Muslim agenda rising by leaps and bounds in certain regions of globe due to emergence of right wing politics.
However the emergence of such politics alone hasn’t watered the plant of Anti Muslim narrative. The interplay of several factors gave rise to this ideological subversion and prompted such anti Muslim elements to raise the banner of revolt against community.
The social setup is wholly a complex and systematic mixture which requires large span of time for any recognizable change. In case of this rhetoric the post 9/11 period witnessed a dramatic notion with initiation of war on terror by US against Al Qaeda reversing whole scenario to another extreme end. The post twin towers attack helped in emergence of somewhat unholy ideology of Islamophobia in the continent of Europe spreading speedily outside usually in the Christian community.
The arrival of 21st century witnessed the two important incidents involving the Muslim community at global stage. In Afghanistan the Taliban Government was overthrown by America and the subsequent armed fight between the NATO coalitions with former took the wind out of sail from superpower.
The American tactic of using Taliban against erstwhile USSR as Mujahideens to overthrow the Communist regime and subsequent backlash against the Taliban Government ipso facto created a wedge between ideological interests. The commoners took the toppling of Taliban regime as illegitimate.
This onslaught along with the “War on Iraq” provided insights to an ideological perversion for hate against Muslim community. The Iraq invasion as per the reports was reports were done on the miscalculated assumption of Weapons of Mass Destruction with Iraqi. This invasion destroyed the social fabric and sharpened the existing wedge between Muslims and Christians further.
On the other hand extremist section among Muslims took it as interference in the Religion by West. This led to chaos which manifested itself in the civil war and likely prevailing consequences. This range of events spread to neighbourhood and gave rise to Islamic State and others for war against US. It’s in this backdrop that some western citizens were killed by extremist rebels which attracted the mistaken backlash against whole Muslim fraternity. Although Islamophobia existed prior to 9/11 but the active phase is counted from attack ipso facto. This rise in ideological interest paved way for emergence of anger against citizenry on basis of religion.
This social change in the ideology was followed by rise of Right wing politics around states. Almost all such parties deem Muslims as threat to the existence of other religions in particular and national interests in general.
In fact the series of reports have confirmed the sustenance of said politics around anti Muslim agenda. This narrative was manifested in series of campaigns against Muslim migrants in the Europe. The disturbance in native countries of immigrants from Middle East was created by interference of Western countries who surprisingly disown the migrants now. It’s in this backdrop that UN became a mere spectator without teeth to bite.
It could hardly publish reports and announcements condemning the barbaric incidents without any concrete steps to stop such horrendous episodes. The Iraq invasion happened due to lackadaisical assessment by US which created the Rebel Groups in subsequent years.
The emergence of Right wing politics which gave numerous chief administrators of countries added fuel to fire. The appointment of Donald Trump, Narendra Modi et al like politicians up the ante against Muslims.
The Cow vigilantism and Mobocracy in India, the rise of Israel onslaught against Palestine, the recognition of Eurausalem as Israel capital by US, the rise of Mari Le pen and her shrill rhetoric against immigrants mostly Muslims etc added fuel to fire. The emergence of these leaders enthused the party workers which prompted them to go on for ransack and vandalisation.
The Christchurch terrorist unknowingly emerged fan of Donald Trump. For the matter of fact it shall not be the tactic of President himself to carry out the cowardly act against Muslims but the acceptance itself showed the enthusiasm created in the mind of terrorist by speeches of President.
This social ideology constructed through political engineering for political pay offs has subverted whole scenario to dissection of humanity into two poles. This division between the communities is endangering as the ideological subversion includes whole cadre strength into loop. This notion would have promoted the terrorist to enter the Mosque and Martyr innocent Muslims.
The response of New Zealand was satisfactory amid growing concerns in the Muslim fraternity around globe. But the mere condemnation and action by one country isn’t worthy to solve the seemingly eternal problem. As quoted by Recep Tayib Erdogan “The rise of Islamophobia has to be curbed or the WWiii may become certain with initiation from Muslim world”.
It’s to be noted here that almost all major wars in the history of mankind were fought for territorial disputes. However the emergence of Islamophobia may create the situation of Religion vs Religion where none other sacrifice and martyrdom guides the future of communities.
The problem has to be accepted rather than denying the like incidents as mere frustration. As quoted by Mahatma Gandhi ” You can’t expect the rose by implanting the seeds of babool tree ” On this behalf the cause of Islamophobia has to be uprooted from the cause itself at ground level. The emergence of this horrendous trend may endanger peace of whole world in future if not nipped in the bud. It demands a multipolar strategy with Social, political and economic parameters.
The NGO’s, civil society groups, the international human rights organizations et al have to awaken the citizenry and hold cross community programs for better understanding of religious harmony. The role of UN in this direction is much more pronounced by serving the cause of Palestine and ending the long standing conflicts of Kashmir, Syria, Chechnya, Xinjiang, Rakhine etc.
Until the prevailing discrimination against Muslims around World on the cause of territorial rights is respected the other parameters become obsolete in eternity. Similarly the political outreach is necessary for the assimilation of identities in the composite cultural fabric of countries around world. The role of Muslims has to respected and regarded and their culture ought to be preserved and promoted.
The economic support for the extremist groups along right wing politics need to be scrutinised for better results. The Christchurch terrorist attack isn’t isolated incident of shooting but the manifestation of ideological makeup formed in the minds of other communities against Muslims.
It’s not alone New Zealand but the whole world shall take steps to roll back the rhetoric else the situation may get out of control. The sooner we take steps to curb the repeated miscalculations the better it’s to sustain peace and harmony else the Muslims most often deemed as terrorists without even involved in big tragedies like WWI, WWII, Hitler Holocaust etc may seek the option for safeguard of religious identity.
Writer Shahid Majeed Mir hails from Kupwara and can be reached at [email protected]
Mir Shahid Islamophobia