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Did Israel-Hamas War Fan Islamophobia?


Shakila Parveen

According to British police, hate crimes against Muslims and people who are thought to be Muslims have increased by 140% since this time last year.

Reports of Islamophobia to the UK anti-Islamophobia group Tell MAMA have increased sevenfold since October 7, when Hamas fighters attacked southern Israel, killing 1,139 people and kidnapping 240 others, including women and children. Health officials in the enclave estimate that since then, Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has killed over 20,000 Palestinians, at least 8,000 of whom were children.

The Muslim civil rights organisation Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in the US reported that since October 7, it has received 2,171 complaints of Islamophobia and anti-Arab bias, up 177% from the same period last year. Three men were shot in Vermont last month, and Stuart Seldowitz, a former adviser to President Barak Obama, was caught on camera teasing and threatening an Islamophobic fast food vendor in Manhattan during that same period.

The UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims defines Islamophobia as “a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.” The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has a longer definition of Islamophobia.

The incidents that go along with the latest statistics show “an unprecedented surge in bigotry” and range from verbal abuse to physical violence against Palestinian human rights advocates.

“Islamophobia and hostile to Middle Easterner prejudice are wild in manners we have not seen in very nearly a decade.”

The most recent significant wave of Islamophobia in the US occurred after US President Donald Trump announced in December 2015 that travel from a number of countries with a majority of Muslims would be prohibited.

Islamophobic assaults can be anything from harmful language utilized against somebody who looks noticeably Muslim – like a lady wearing a hijab; or it very well may be more undercover, as not recruiting a completely qualified proficient in light of their apparent Muslimness. In the ongoing environment, since Israel’s conflict on Gaza started in October, there have been developing episodes where individuals have had their business ended for showing their help for a free Palestine.

The Iranian Revolution [1979] served as the catalyst for this story. Recall that at that time, a lot of people also had access to live TV for the first time and watched it every day. Upon witnessing Iranians yelling “Death to America,” viewers would assume that this is the belief shared by all Iranians and, by extension, by Muslims worldwide.

However, the perception of Islam and Muslims as a worldwide threat was largely sparked by 9/11. The rise of Islamophobia was largely attributed to the “Global War on Terrorism,” which was spearheaded by [Osama] bin Laden and al-Qaeda and made Muslims and Islam appear to be violent and dangerous.

The Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, was another recent example. It received far more media attention than it should have and thus allowed a minority to distort the true nature of Islam.