It is deeply concerning that ‘Islamophobia’ has been used for point scoring or socio-political gains by some politicians, Muslim welfare/community organisations and individuals who have no track record of working with the grassroots communities or have analytical understanding of what really confronts Muslims but do so to acquire Muslim recognition and representation.
Sad that there seems to be an ongoing ambition/ ego for ‘Muslim leadership’ through marginal activities but little capacity to excel under their own esteem or ability!
No surprise to find an ill thought ‘Islamophobia’ definition: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.” Islamophobic institutions along with assimilated high flyers and politicians would love such ambiguity and watering down and no doubt support it.
From a practical or legal point of view what is racism or Muslimness?
What is also most amusing is the claim that the definition wins the support of many ‘academics’ (most of whom have advanced their academic careers by specialising in or linking with the marginal sociological areas like race relations, extremism, counter-terrorism, tolerance, Muslim integration and so on)!
The MPs or their Muslim named organisations who are now trying to sell the ill thought ‘definition’ by playing number game, claiming that x number of academics/organisations endorse the definition, ought to know that the number game doesn’t work. For example, the representative status of a so called Muslim ‘umbrella’ organisation, supposedly supported by almost all mosques in the UK, was discredited by the present home secretary – also, Theresa May’s Brexit deal is almost dead despite her claim that it is widely supported.
Islamophobia exists in the UK at various levels – individual and institutional – but is only a minor part of anti Muslim hatred that kills, hurts, gives a sense of insecurity and isolation – as a society we can’t ignore the deep seated implications of such a vile practice nor we can ignore how Muslim population feels.
Also and for social stability, we need to address the rise of far right extremism that adversely impacts groups of people but more specifically actively contributes towards ‘Islamophobia’ (which in real term is hate against Muslims).
Embedding the term ‘Islamophobia’ in racism that has no legal definition and is widely denied renders the ‘slamophobia’ definition less meaningful and is unworkable – how disappointing. Concerns are that it would stir up feelings/ emotions rather than resolving anything good for Muslims.
Moreover, Muslims are not one race but followers of Islam and confining them to a race might be institutionally okay but is disgraceful.
Moreover, as racism can’t be subsumed under classism, ‘Islamophobia’ can’t be subsumed under racism. Therefore, whatever is built on a problematic base is going to be problematic.
Also the claim that the definition has ‘grassroots support’, looks very thin – how many grass roots Muslims or Muslim welfare organisations have the analysis of ‘racism’ or ‘Muslimness’ – most complex issues.
Wider experience tells that ‘Islamophobia’ – irrational fear of Islamis – does not sum up Muslim/racial hatred. It, and its misleading definition, are not enough to address anti-Muslim manifestations by individuals or institutions through holding or expressing or recycling negative perception of Muslims and by acts of implicitly or explicitly disrespecting/devaluing Muslim socio-cultural or religious norms and values through direct or coded means at various levels, including by far right elements and media. Physical form of anti-Muslism actively harms Muslim lives and property. The definition goes nowhere near embodying all this nor links ‘Islamophobia’ to the rise of far right extremism which hits both the Jews and Muslims, amongst others, and which has not been adequately challenged.
I don’t have means to have lavish launch of my perspective of the so called ‘Islamophobia’ but actively struggling for social justice for all for the past 50 years in the UK, gives me insight and commitment to rise above politics/personalities and say that we can’t afford the opportunists who ride on Muslim back for popularity or political gains, causing more social unrest in the process!