Note the author’s disingenuousness. He says that “anti-Muslim hate crime tripled in London during December 2015,” and that “Anti-Semitic hate crime had surged to 93 percent in London by the end of 2015. Human Rights First reported a doubling in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2015 compared to the previous year.” But this doubling and tripling and the curious “surged to 93 percent” is all relative to what the original numbers were, and those he does not provide. If they made his case, he would have, without any doubt, but the fact that he left them out and just gave percentages instead strongly suggests that anti-Semitic incidents are far more common in Europe than incidents of “Islamophobia” — just as is the case in the US. And yet Europe is holding an “Islamophobia” Summit, not one on anti-Semitism.
Muddassar Ahmed likewise doesn’t bother to note that anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe because the Muslim population there is on the rise. The vast majority of the perpetrators of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe are Muslims.
While making no mention of this, Ahmed does acknowledge, amid a moral equivalence argument, that there is Islamic terrorism: “ISIS attacks intend to divide Western societies by establishing the ‘gray zone’; the destruction of peaceful co-existence between Muslims and non-Muslims. An Islamophobic reaction is precisely what ISIS terrorists and far-right Islamophobic activists hope for in order to realize their clash of civilizations narratives.” This is a very strange statement; it appears to mean that in the West, Muslims and non-Muslims live in harmony, but ISIS, out of hatred for non-Muslims, and “Islamophobes,” out of hatred for Muslims, both are trying to ignite a “clash of civilizations.”
The two, however, despite Ahmed’s best efforts, are not equivalent: ISIS kills people; “Islamophobes” don’t. “Islamophobes” just talk about the aspects of Islam that jihadis use to justify violence and make recruits among peaceful Muslims. So what Ahmed is essentially saying is that Europe (and the US as well, no doubt) must do two things: stop ISIS from committing acts of violence, and stop “Islamophobes” from criticizing Islam. Then Muslims and non-Muslims will live in harmony in Europe, and “extremism” will be vanquished.
The problem with this rosy scenario is that stopping criticism of Islam would be tantamount to adopting Sharia blasphemy laws. It would be, in effect, surrender to the forces who want to impose Sharia on the West. In the event of such a surrender, ISIS attacks in Europe wouldn’t even be necessary, for the goal of a Sharia Europe will have been attained.
“Europe’s first Islamophobia summit highlights European-wide problem,” by Muddassar Ahmed, Jerusalem Post, June 25, 2016:
This week’s UK referendum on European Union membership could tilt the EU toward either greater disintegration or stronger union; Europe finds itself at a vital crossroads.
The UK campaign against membership has not been without its controversies; images of Syrian refugees have been used in campaign posters to evoke fears of about an impending demographic invasion of Europe. On the other hand, the upcoming EU presidency in July will go to a Slovak government whose party leader openly admires the 1939-1945 Nazi-sponsored Slovak state that sent 75,000 Jewish citizens to Nazi concentration camps, and a prime minister who said Muslim refugees are not welcome in Slovakia.
It is within this increasingly politicized climate of fear, divisiveness and bigotry that the first ever European Islamophobia Summit will be taking place in Sarajevo this week; a gathering of political leaders, journalists, academics and civil society representatives from across Europe and the US.
Anti-Muslim hate crime and bigotry after all is undoubtedly a real problem.
Anti-Muslim hate crime tripled in London during December 2015.
According to Dilcra, a French government body, the number of Islamophobic hate crimes increased three-fold in 2015. According to Spain’s largest Islamic organization, the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities, 2015 saw an 11-fold increase in reports of anti-Muslim hate crime. And calls by US presidential candidate Donald Trump to ban all Muslims from entering the US represents the kind of collective stigmatization of a global religious community that could end up creating dangerous and disturbing precedent.
But it isn’t just anti-Muslim sentiment that has been on the rise in Europe. Anti-Semitic hate crime had surged to 93 percent in London by the end of 2015. Human Rights First reported a doubling in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2015 compared to the previous year, and the recent attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando by what appears to have been an Islamic State-inspired attacker also drew attention to the existence of a deep-seated homophobia. According to UK Home Office records, the number of UK homophobic attacks reported to police leapt by nearly a quarter in 2015….
That’s why the first European Islamophobia Summit will be discussing cross-community unity against all forms of discrimination and prejudice – something central to any comprehensive response.
And yes: problems of extremism do indeed afflict the Muslim world.
Islamic State (ISIS) demonstrates that.
But counter-Islamophobia efforts are crucial to counter-extremism efforts.
ISIS attacks intend to divide Western societies by establishing the “gray zone”; the destruction of peaceful co-existence between Muslims and non-Muslims. An Islamophobic reaction is precisely what ISIS terrorists and far-right Islamophobic activists hope for in order to realize their clash of civilizations narratives….
The author is the spokesperson for the first European Islamophobia Summit, being held in Sarajevo from the 24th to the 26th of June.