During the course of this campaign, I have been perusing through various hashtags and Facebook posts concerned with this issue. I’ve wanted to observe and involve myself in the conversation. For Facebook, searching ‘Islamophobia’ brings various political articles condemning the treatment of Muslims. Observe:
And this is simply for today’s date. The search results for ‘Islam’ bring a completely different list of results. Observe:
On Twitter, much is the same and I came across this Tweet:
This is a tweet I would really like to address. The idea of criticising Islam but not criticising Muslims is a foreign concept for me. It took me some time to understand the meaning of this. In a way, the presenter is saying, “I hate the director but not his movies” or “I hate that singer but not her songs”. All ideologies can be critiqued as people will always have different points of view. However, that does not mean Islamophobia does not exist.
I’m not saying that people who dislike the Islamic ideology hate Muslims. That is not what Islamophobia has come to mean. Islamophobia is a fear of Islam taken out on Muslims through discrimination and hostility. Theoretically, it is fine to have oppositions to a religion but what I am concerned with are the real life consequences.
Being religious says a lot about someone. Their faith is intertwined with their identity and it is natural to be defensive when someone questions the foundation of your identity. Nothing justifies being subjected to tirades like “We can’t let them come in … they are going to bomb us all … F**k them, they are going to kill us”. Islam is not trying to silence us through the term Islamophobia but rather Muslims are trying to speak up for themselves through the term.
What the social media climate tells us is that there is a long way to go. Though there are many groups spreading love and not hate for Muslims, we still have a long way to go.