There is no excuse for Islamophobia, xenophobia, or for inciting hate against people.
In fact, the phobia in Islamophobia, meaning fear, willingly creates this excuse within the word itself.
They fear, therefore they hate.
They are afraid, so as a precaution, they attack. Fear, which is the real reason behind their hatred and belligerence, is psychological, whereas phobia is a disease. In either situation, it is possible to produce a medical report or an excuse.
However Islamophobes don’t really enemize and attack Muslims because they’re afraid.
When statistics are taken into consideration: Islamophobes aren’t being murdered or attacked; yet Muslims are being massacred at their hands. And yet, Muslims are still the ones feared.
The Muslims don’t fear their killers, but the killers fear their own victims. It is such an esoteric equation.
Last week, I mentioned the second International Islamophobia Conference hosted by Istanbul Zaim University’s Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA).
We spoke about how Islamophobia, which now has a global dimension, is widespread, and can generate excuses and justifications for its manifestation due to the effects of mostly Western-centered geopolitics. There are a myriad of examples for this of course.
However, our focus is on Muslim Dr. Muhammed Abu-Salha, whose two daughters and son-in-law were killed in a typical example in the U.S. in 2015, and the dialogue between him and congress members who summoned Abu-Salha to the session of the U.S. Congress’s justice commission as an example of hate crimes and rising white nationalism.
His two daughters and son-in-law were brutally massacred by a racist neighbor is North Carolina’s Chapel Hill who said he couldn’t bear the sight of Muslims and their hijabs.
The grief-stricken father who is a physician was summoned to the session to tell his story regarding the surge of hate crimes and rising white nationalism.
However, throughout the entire session, even if he isn’t “one of the only physicians who had to review his children’s autopsy reports, which have been “seared” into his memory, and who didn’t even have a chance to share his unbearable pain, he was subjected to the eerie questions of congress members.
The questions made him seem like a suspect who provoked someone to forcibly kill his children, instead of them being questions directed at a bereaved father whose children were suddenly murdered.
Morton Klein also asked whether Dr. Salha had taught his children hate.
While Dr. Abu Salha, through the autopsy report, was reliving the scene of how the bullets had went through the skulls of his daughters, Yusor and Razan, leaving blood splatters and brain matter on their headscarves, and how his son-in-law collapsed to the ground when bullets struck him in the shoulder and chest, a member of Congress interrupts and asks him whether his religion teaches hatred toward Jews.
This arrogant Republican, who is also the President of the Zionist Organization of America, goes beyond asking questions to the bereaved father Dr. Abu Salha, whose children were murdered, and has the audacity to give him advice: “We really need Muslims to do what Egyptian President Sisi is doing: to rethink and re-confirm some sections of the Quran. It needs to be understood why one-third of American Muslims are anti-Semitic… We have to discuss the anti-Semitism of Muslims.”
Thus, he himself put forth his excuse for his own hatred against Islam and furthermore he has remained deaf and blind to the fact that this hatred is another aggravated version of anti-Semitism.
There was no trace of anti-Semitism at that moment. At that very moment, anti-Semitism was only a possibility, however the inhumane brutality produced through Islamophobia was the naked truth.
Blindly disregarding the blatant truth and voicing anti-Semitism in such an environment is not simply a matter of tactlessness.
This impertinence and enormity which has seeped deep into U.S. politics points to the exhaustion of the feelings of mutual responsibility toward one another.
There is no doubt that this exhaustion will slowly eat the U.S. alive from within; there is no escape from it either.
This same impertinence accused Muslim congresswoman Ilhan Omar of being anti-Semitic all because she criticized a Republican member of congress’s discourse and politics. Turns out that the person being criticized for his discourse and politics was a Jew, hence Omar was branded as anti-Semitic.
Just look at how anti-Semitism has transformed into not just a protective shield but even a weapon.
There is no doubt that this shameless, insensitive and irresponsible aspect of American politics has largely contributed to Islamophobia becoming a global issue. It needs to be closely followed.
I would like to add that I am closely and happily following the work of Professor Sami al-Arian who established and administrates the CIGA at Istanbul Zaim University. The center he runs organizes a different event every week, greatly contributing quality work to our intellectual lives.
Of course the university’s dean, Prof. Mehmet Bulut, too deserves congratulations as well. He is a beacon of hope symbolizing that the universities in Turkey are on the right path. Thank you and congratulations.