The Islamophobic political leadership in Europe is creating a divide on religious lines which will ultimately culminate in ethnic cleansings of Muslim communities there. The Bosnian civil war of early 90s is a classic example. Over the past few years blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are being published in print media, incidents of desecration ofHoly Quran have occurred and legislation have been done to target the values of Muslim culture. French President Emmanuel Macron is now leading hate Muslims campaign by accusing them of “separatism” and has repeated his derogatory remarks describing Islam a “religion in crisis.”
As usual a befitting response came from President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, warning the European leaders against the rising Islamophobia across Europe. He said, “If they aren’t rid of this disease as soon as possible, it will collapse all Europe from within,” advising Macron to seek mental checks. The Turkish President gave a subtle assessment against the changing attitude towards Muslims by saying that fascism is emerging in Europe, a reference to the police raid on a Mosque in Germany’s capital in Berlin. A big Muslim community of over five million Turks lives in Germany. It were the Turk immigrants that had contributed in a big way in rebuilding the German economy destroyed by the Second World War.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has also strongly condemned the Islamophobic remarks of French President as it will polarize the French society, create space for extremism and marginalize Muslims
Currently Islamophobia is on the rise in several European Union countries including Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, France, Belgium and Austria. The first stone was thrown in Denmark by publishing the blasphemous caricatures in 2006, to which no response came from any Muslim country except Pakistan at the public level. From 2015 till now the French satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdoo is acting as tool of spreading hate against Muslims by publishing the blasphemous cartoons. It was because of this negative tendency that a Middle School History teacher Samuel Patty displayed the blasphemous cartoon in class room, inciting a Moscow born Muslim student of Chechen origin to kill him. The incident was blown out of proportion with media hype and anti-Muslim rallies in France, in addition to one minute silence by French MPs in parliament. In the Western Europe, surging wave of Islamophobia is now being cloaked into the garb of democracy by launching two pronged legislative and secular attack against Islam and Muslims. French President Emmanuel Macron has unveiled a plan to strengthen a 1905 law that officially separated church and the state, which according to him will serve as bulwark for defending the secular values of France against what he described “Islamic radicalism.” In his long awaited address, Macron insisted “no concession” shall be allowed in the drive to push religion out of education and public sector in France.
Muslims communities that have settled in Europe and Scandinavian States are very conscious to preserve and protect their belief in Islam, staunchly observe its fundamentals and abide by values of Islamic culture as enshrined in the teaching of the Holy Quran. The worries of western leaders have further compounded by increasing number of mosques with thick attendance of worshipers in congregational prayers and centers of Islamic teachings.
France was the first European Union member country which passed and enforced a discriminatory law in 2011against wearing full-face veil by Muslim women at public places, followed by Belgium. Last year European Court of Human Rights upheld the Belgian ban on wearing full-face veil by Muslim women. In Denmark, the Danish parliament passed legislation in August 2018 which makes wearing of full-face veil a cognizable offence liable for punishment in the form of fine. The same year another European Union member country, Austria shut down seven Turkish mosques and expelled 40 Turk Imams.
Islamophobia is being used as political football for attracting voters not only by the politicians in the rank and file of far-right political parties but also the ones in right-of-the-center parties. By and large leaders of OIC member countries have shown an oblivious attitude towards the surging tide of sentiments against Islam and Muslims in Europe. It is high time that western leaders and thin tanks are engaged in intellectual dialogue about Islam.