Islamophobia predates Donald Trump declaration of presidential ambition. Islamophobia grew more virulently and actively in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, an attack that left over three thousand innocent people of all races, nationalities, ethnicity and religions dead.
It is dishonest to isolate the virulent rise of Islamophobia in the West from the activities of Muslim extremists that have hijacked Islam to serve their own violent agenda at the expense of innocent Muslims. Muslims enjoy more freedoms in the West than their native countries in the Middle East or the Arab World where they are repressed. The West has more freedom of religion and of speech than what obtains in the Muslim Arab world where human rights is pooh-poohed. Multiculturalism has given Muslims a roof of freedom over their heads.
September 11 marked the virulent rise of Islamophobia and hate crimes against Muslims. If the West hated Muslims for being Muslims, it is unlikely if Muslims would have been allowed to build Mosques and schools and worship their God without hindrance or molestation. Western democracies have protected the rights of Muslim minorities in Christian dominated societies of the West.
These freedoms have however been threatened by the activities of Muslim extremists and hate preachers who openly call for the destruction of others of opposing beliefs. Spreading hate and bigotry breaches the boundaries of freedom. To say you have the right to kill others who are different destroys the foundation of whatever multiculturalism stands for.
Islam’s real enemies within are the extremists. They have created the conditions for the rise of nationalist politicians like Donald Trump in America and others in Europe. Western governments are thus compelled to introduce stricter immigration policies and review their open door policy towards Muslims from the Middle East.
Every terrorist bomb or suicide attacks in the West blows up not only lives, but also the relative freedoms that Muslims enjoy there. All these gains are under threat on account of terrorists activities. They hide behind liberal immigration policies to enter someone else’s country and plot how to harm their host countries or communities.
Of course, there are innocent Muslim immigrants who go into Europe and America to pursue legitimate activities, but these innocent ones are now being harmed on account of the criminal activities of the Muslim extremists that take advantage of the open door policy of the West to come and plot attacks on their innocent citizens. Exporting violence to your host country is an abuse of freedom. This abuse is so bad that every Muslim is perceived as a potential threat to others and, as result, innocent Muslims are punished or humiliated on account of someone else’s crime.
Problems like this are not created by Donald Trump and other nationalist politicians. To blame Trump for Islamophobia and suggest that he may run Islamophobic policies is like mistaking the effects for the underlying causes of the disease. Islam faces an internal crisis: the deadly influence of extremists in Muslim societies and our seeming incapacitation to decapitate the serpent of radicalism is collectively harming us.
I wonder how we can decapitate the viper of extremism by glorifying terrorists. When Obama Bin Laden was smoked out and killed by American Special Forces or the Naval Seals in Pakistan(May 2011), thousands of Pakistanis poured into the streets to protest against his his so-called assassination by the so-called “infidels.” You can’t glorify evil without empowering it. When Malala Yousafzai, a young education activist was violently attacked and almost killed by the Taliban bandits, the Pakistanis didn’t demonstrate the same solidarity with her through huge street protests as they did for Osama Bin Laden. Shouldn’t we be happy when death was delivered to the doorsteps of a death merchant?
I know how difficult it is for we, Muslims, to accept an inconvenient truth because it is far easier to live in denial and blame someone else for our problems. But running away from your problems and blaming someone else doesn’t automatically make the problems to go away. Facing reality is not comforting, but we can’t run away from the question: why are Western nations reviewing their open door policies on immigration? If you think Trump is fundamentally the root of the problem, then you are behaving like a lost ball in the high weeds!