Hate crimes against Muslims spike: We must face up to normalized Islamophobia

Richard Sudan
Richard Sudan is a London-based writer, political activist, and performance poet. His writing has been published in many prominent publications, including the Independent, the Guardian, Huffington Post and Washington Spectator. He has been a guest speaker at events for different organizations ranging from the University of East London to the People's Assembly covering various topics. His opinion is that the mainstream media has a duty to challenge power, rather than to serve power. Richard has taught writing poetry for performance at Brunel University.
Hate crimes against Muslims spike: We must face up to normalized Islamophobia
Over the course of the last few years Islamophobia has alarmingly risen throughout the world. The roots of the problem can be traced back to 9/11, which to this day, is still constantly evoked by political leaders to justify murderous foreign policy.

Countless human beings, including many Muslims, have been killed by Western bombs in the years following 9/11.All of this was done of course, in the name of making the world a safer place.

The mainstream media say the 9/11 attacks and the atrocities committed were simply caused by Al-Qaeda.

I mention this, because 9/11 was, and still is, the pretext and justification for actual state-funded terrorism which continues to kill Muslims in Islamic countries.

The Orwellian paradox has become laid bare for all to see: Muslims are the victims of terrorism, but the way in which things have been presented, means that many believe that somehow ordinary Muslims are the problem.As if they are somehow responsible for the actions of ISIS or Al-Qaeda.The latest despicable video uploaded to the internet by ISIS was released during the Muslim celebration of Eid, which was quite clearly a snub and insult to Muslims all across the world.Islamic State extremists could not be any further from Islam if they tried, and they speak for no-one but themselves and their benefactors whoever they may be.

I want to remind people at this point, that groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS can ultimately trace their origins back to the military occupation and imperial intrigue in the region. This is not controversial.

When the media and politicians talk about the latest crusade in the region, namely at the moment Iraq and Syria, they mention everything except the words “oil” and “geopolitics.” When they evoke extremism, they never mention the extreme actions of our own governments which bomb and drone other nations at will, with no international consensus and with complete impunity. They never mention military occupation - itself terrorism - as a factor in causing the problems we see in the Middle East.

This irresponsible narrative has resulted in a worrying rise in normalized Islamophobia seen throughout Europe and the rest of the world. And it is a narrative which is reinforced by modern day neo-liberals and right wing public figures and media personalities.

Photo from pamelageller.com

Here's a good example of one such a figurehead, Bill Maher, clashing with actor Ben Affleck who was outraged at the sweeping statements made by Maher, who thought it was OK to label all Muslims as violent.The clip has since gone viral.

There are many more examples too choose from.

In the US, there are the likes Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer of the American Freedom Defense Initiative group, who are given huge platforms, and who use them to normalize hate against all Muslims, with their malicious Islamophobic campaigns. One particular nasty example is the racist subway posters across New York City, championed by Geller smearing Muslims which she describes as “educational.”

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Politically in the US, Obama's actions speak for themselves.He's just bombed his seventh (predominately) Muslim country in six years.

Within Europe we've seen the rise of individuals like Geert Wilders, leader of the Islamophobic far right “Freedom Party” which is now the fourth largest in Holland, a country many associate with liberal values and ideas.Dangerous times indeed.

Then of course the Front Nationale in France which has made significant gains in recent months.

Countries like Australia for example, which is by no means an exception, during the leadership of Tony Abbott have seen vile attacks on Muslims with many arguing that by not being quick to condemn such attacks Abbott is further, politicizing things, and whipping people into a populist frenzy. Phrases like “Team Australia” for example are becoming common nationalistic phrases.

Image via Stop Islamization of America Facebook page

Here in the UK, the unthinkable has become the norm for many. Newspapers like the Daily Mail, revel in demonizing, most minorities including Muslims.

All of this has led to a dangerous rise in hate crimes against Muslims, according to many polls. The Metropolitan police say that hate crimes against Muslims have risen by 65 percent.

But this of course isn't really newsworthy to many.

One story that for some reason didn't make the headlines much was particularly harrowing.

According to reports, a Muslim woman was physically thrown from a train in Australia last week, after she was apparently racially abused, and suffered horrific injuries.

It’s hard to imagine any other group being subject to such a rise in hate without such stories becoming priority news headlines. There's almost blanket silence when it comes to crimes inflicted upon ordinary Muslims.It’s a sick psychology that needs to be confronted.

It’s a strange world, when this unjustified hate can now be seen constantly, and yet news outlets which are supposed to inform us, continue by and large to ignore the reality of Islamophobia.

Muslims are being attacked on every level. Islamophobia is very real and it’s leading to ordinary people being treated as sub human.There are too many apologists for this kind of racism, and not enough people speaking up for ordinary Muslims.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.