Islamophobia surge

Addressing a joint press conference, Prime Minister Imran Khan and the visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammad have rightly emphasised the need for unity among Muslim nations to counter the rising wave Islamophobia around the world. Both leaders have identical views how best ways and means can be applied to combat this rising phenomena. Convening of emergency meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) at the Turkish city of Istanbul will turn out to be a good omen if the organisation goes beyond its usual tradition of “assembled, discussed and dispersed” without clear and loud line of action.

The assessment of OIC Secretary General DR. Yousaf Al-Othaimeen is correct that attack on two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch can be a harbinger of dangerous implications for the world and it is turning point for Muslims. The address of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was more telling urging the OIC not to remain indifferent to the event that threaten the future of all humanity and Islamic world. Pakistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Quershi, in his address to the meeting, very cogently stressed the need for formulation of laws by the United Nations to tackle the rising incidents of Islamophobia.

After the disintegration of Communist Soviet Union, world became unipolar; this enabled the United States to target Muslim nations. Seeds of Islamophobia were sown in the so called new world order which the docile and self serving leaders of Islamic countries did not perceive. A number of Arab countries of the Middle East remained allies of the United States in its naked aggression against Iraq about which the UN Secretary General Kofi Anan had to say that this war was illegal although it was authorized by the UN Security Council. The US airbases in Turkey were used for carpet bombing on civilians in Iraq. In Pakistan the troika of power structure was divided. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan openly opposed the US and its allied countries’ aggression against Iraq and on the contrary Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif embarked on tour of Middle East and blamed Iraqi President Saddam Hussain what he called opening the door of gunpowder on Iraqis. The wave of Arab Spring could not open the eyes of the rulers of certain Muslim countries who joined the United States in the botched attempt of regime change in Syria pushing it into civil war.

From 2011 and onward the contours of western agenda of Islamphobia became clear when discriminatory laws against Muslim immigrants were enacted in France and few other countries of European Union. The Austrian government took drastic action of crackdown by expelling Turkish Imams and closing Mosques and religious centers but the issue was not seriously taken by OIC. The hate Muslims sentiments are now permeating even in the culture of those western countries where laws like ban on full-face veil have not been enacted. Last years hate Muslims pamphlets were distributed in the UK and incidents of stabbing were reported. After the New Zealand Mosques terror attack again stabbing incidents have occurred and incidents of vandalism have reported in Mosques in Birmingham. Hopefully, the elected strong leadership in Pakistan, Malaysia and Turkey will make collective efforts to rejuvenate OIC to effectively counter the surging wave of Islamphobia which is cascading across Europe due to the rise of right wing white racist parties.