The Observer Newspaper reported on 28th June 2014 that ‘more than half of Islamophobic attacks in Britain are committed against women, who are typically targeted because they are wearing clothing associated with Islam’. It goes on to say 1 in 6 victims choose not to report incidents to the authorities due to lack of trust. The figures of attacks against Muslims comes days after the brutal murder of Saudi Arabian student, Nahid Almanea who was stabbed to death in Essex. Although initially not stated, detectives now say she may have been targeted due to her Islamic attire.
The attack on Nahid Almanea has seen many speaking out on social media that the mainstream media plays down any attack against Muslims and is very irresponsible at highlighting any negative action of Muslims whether in the name of Islam or not thereby creating strong anti-Islamic ideas about Muslims amongst the general masses.
Islamaphobia is the fear of Muslims and Islam; and just as racism and xenophobia created ideas and negative opinions about ‘the other’; the media and key politicians are responsible for the way Islam is viewed. British media reporting of ‘sexual grooming’, ‘barbaric Shariah law’, ‘the oppressive buraq’, and most recently secret selling of halal food and the alleged takeover of Islamists in British schools would have the unsuspecting Brit feeling like s/he is being taken over by aliens!
For communities to live and co-exist in a harmonious manner, the State has the ultimate responsibility to use media, education and laws to protect minorities. In the capitalist system divide and rule is a policy that works well for international political gains and racism and phobia of others is another element of this policy. The West is fearful of Islam, not the dress of the Muslim woman, but what this represents, an adherence to laws, values and ideas that are not in line with the predominant views of the society. It works well to present Islam in a negative light as the resurgence of Islam in the Muslim world is a true threat that cannot be avoided. Just as the Quraysh tried to spread false propaganda about RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم and Islam in the past, today we witness similar attempts. There are many policies in place trying to make Muslims in the West assimilate and integrate in a very forceful manner and Muslims are striving to stay steadfast in the face of this. In the meantime, we will witness attacks, verbal and physical, as a direct reaction to the way the masses view Islam and Muslims through the primary source, the media. Many victims will not tell the authorities as they do not feel any recourse and due to lack of trust. This all makes for a very uneasy relationship.
As Muslims living in these testing times, it is reassuring to see that in the Seerah of RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم, the propaganda was not ultimately successful when the Muslims continued in their struggle and held onto Islam, no matter what happened. Allah سبحانه وتعالى changed their situation and Islam was victorious. Then the whole world witnessed the beauty of the Islamic system in assimilating minorities as the Islamic State expanded.
Muslims are regulated in how they deal with minorities by the Shariah and Islam opened up lands with inhabitants of all kinds of belief and race. Viewing people only from the human point of view, Islam dealt with their problems and needs. Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:
ولَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا ۚ اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ
“And let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety and fear Allah. Verily Allah is Well Acquainted with what you do”
(al Maida: 8)
A non-Muslim citizen of the state is termed a dhimmi, “One whose responsibility is taken” so s/he has protection of life and property to the extent that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said,
«أَلَا مَنْ ظَلَمَ مُعَاهِدًا أَوِ انْتَقَصَهُ أَوْ كَلَّفَهُ فَوْقَ طَاقَتِهِ أَوْ أَخَذَ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا بِغَيْرِ طِيبِ نَفْسٍ فَأَنَا حَجِيجُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ»
“If anyone wrongs a man with whom a covenant has been made, or curtails any right of his, or imposes on him more than he can bear, or takes anything from him without his ready agreement, I shall be his adversary on the Day of Resurrection.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)
Only under the Khilafah State will we witness the easy co-existence of Muslims and non-Muslims, where laws, media and mass opinions will be synchronized and justice felt for those who are harmed in any way.
Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by
Nazia Rehman – Pakistan