Islamophobia is now a prevalent feature of western culture, especially in the US. All western countries would have pockets of individuals guilty of Islamophobia in the current landscape. In its most basic form it’s a fear fuelled by the media and adopted by social dogma influencers, as a result of recent attacks on western countries. Most recently it has appeared in headlines after a Muslim woman ‘interrupted’ a Donald Trump rally by standing in silent protest, wearing a shirt that had “Salam, I come in peace” written on it. The crowd around her disapproved of the gesture and began jeering as she was escorted out of the building by security. This undesirable and embarrassing moment in human history is probably a result of Donald Trump’s plan to close the American borders to Muslims. Donald Trump, a self professed Christian, wants to prevent Muslims from entering the country as a result of the people fearing another New York, or Paris, or Bali style attack.
Christian America fears the Muslims of the Middle East.
I agree radical Islam is definitely an issue, is it the problem though?
When the Paris attacks happened in November of 2015, I witnessed an abhorrent amount of Islamophobia. Comments like “We just need to drop a big bomb on them” and “Those bloody towel heads, why don’t they just leave us alone? Go back to your own country” were being thrown around as if the people saying them were philosophers or modern day poets. Being white, middle aged westerners I could only assume they were Christians. I couldn’t believe the ignorance. It’s a terrible thing that happened in Paris, all those innocent people did not deserve to die and the people who committed the crimes were disgusting, cowardly and inhumane individuals. What I find astounding though is all these western Christians acting like Musilms are the only ones to have killed in the name of their god. Like religious ‘terrorism’ is a brand new thing, invented by murderous radical Muslims. It’s not.
The word “terrorist” may be a word reserved for Muslims by westerners today, 1,000 years ago though, if the word was around, a terrorist would have looked very different. If you are a white westerner, a religious ‘terrorist’ would have looked just like you.
In 1095 Pope Urban II pleaded with Western Europe to send armies to Jerusalem to take back the land from the Muslims, who had controlled the city since the seventh century. This campaign would later be known as The Crusades. The crusaders were promised absolution from sin, and eternal glory for bringing Christian power back to the holy land. The result was an army of Christians, eager to have their sins forgiven by battling Muslims, who marched from Western Europe to the Middle East, fighting and murdering their way to Jerusalem. By 1099 the crusaders had reached their target and the city surrendered, that didn’t save them from a bloody outcome though – hundreds of men, women and children were famously slaughtered as Christian fighters took control of the city. By the 1200s Jerusalem was under Islamic control again, and the Crusaders of the time had become no better than mercenaries. Murderers for hire. Centuries passed and Crusade after Crusade was commissioned by Catholic Popes, with the focus shifting to Northern Africa by the 1400s. Millions of Muslims were killed over 4 centuries, at home, in their own countries, by invading Christians. Terrorised by a neighbour wanting to enforce another religion on their society. Sound familiar?
The Muslims in the middle east at the time would most definitely have feared and hated Christians. Is that Christophobia?
The 1400s saw the end of the Crusades and the rise of the Portugese Empire, who were equally obsessed with spreading Christianity. The Portugese looked to spread Catholicism around the world, and in doing so famously killed almost 5 million people over a few centuries. This Portugese Catholic campaign is considered to have resulted in the pioneering of the transatlantic slave trade, as they exported more than 4.5 million people out of Africa. More than any other empire. In India they burned Hindus alive at the stake, the unlucky ones were boiled alive in motlen oil. All of this in the name of Christianity.
Would that be considered religiously motivated terrorism these days?
Of course Christianity isn’t the only religion guilty of trying to impose its ideals on other countries in the last 1,000 years, resulting in deaths. The Ottoman Empire in 1915 slaughtered almost 1.5 million non-Muslim Armenians in the name of Islam. Now known as the Armenien Genocide. The point is though regardless of who is causing the atrocities, religiously motivated terrorism is not a new thing.
It seems Christians, Muslims and Jews have been hating on each other for centuries. Christians spent almost a thousand years causing devastation in the name of their god, now the baton has been passed onto the radical Muslims. Islamophobia therefore is nothing more than short-sightedness in practice. This sort of behaviour has been happening for thousands of years, and it used be Christians doing the terrorising. Don’t blame the Islamic faith for terrorism in this day and age, blame religion in general! Religion is the real cause of all this devastation.
Take religion out of the equation and millions of lives are spared over the last thousand years. Empirical expansion I’m sure would have still resulted in deaths all over the planet, the absence of religion though would have given civilisations one less reason to hate each other. The absence of religion would give our civilisation today one less reason to fear each other.
Is radical Islam the enemy? No. Religious ideology is.