Islamophobia is the hatred, fear or prejudices towards Islam and Muslims. Were the people born with it? They obviously weren’t. I believe that Islamophobia is taught during ones lifetime. It’s a bit like racism, nobody was born racist, but depending on the way parents raise someone, or depending on the kind of friends people have or maybe even the things they have experienced can all lead to that. But what if the main cause of islamophobia was actually the main source for information for almost all people worldwide. I’m clearly referring to the media here. These days our ideas of the world are kind of formed through the media. Whether it is through the news or through some magazine you read, this TV-show that you like to watch, we are constantly taught how to think about things. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing the media. It’s amazing how these days we can live in the smallest village yet we still know what’s happening in other parts of the world. But with every good thing comes a bad.
Islam and media: what’s that all about?
Islam and the media have a love/hate kind of relationship. The media often portrays Muslims as diabolic creatures whose day consists out of bombing a few areas, maybe behead some people afterwards and to finish off the day go out and abuse a couple of women. I know I’m exaggerating here, but we can’t deny that Muslims and Islam don’t have the most positive image these days. When you go out and ask people what they associate with Muslims, many people say things such as ISIS or Charlie Hebdo. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to generalise, I truly believe that there are many people out there who do try to make efforts to understand what Islam is all about. People who even try to talk to Muslims to understand it all. But we also can’t ignore the fact that there are also many people who don’t.
I believe that this is mainly the fault of mainstream media and how they always feel the need to emphasis on religion. Why does it even matter if a criminal is a Jew, a Muslim or an Atheist? The criminal is a criminal, period. To explain what I mean I’d like to give you the example of the pilot Andreas Lubitz who crashed the airplane on purpose and killed many people with him. When we heard of this news we were told that the co-pilot was depressed and it was probably an act of despair and that he wanted to kill himself. It was only after a few days that he was actually referred to as a terrorist. If this Andreas Lubitz would have been a Muslim, there probably wouldn’t even have been space to think about him having some mental problems. The world would have immediately called him a Muslim terrorist and we would all probably have said “Ugh, a Muslim. What’s new!”.
No Muslims, no media
I always try to imagine what the world would look like if Muslims or Islam would all of a sudden disappear. What would the news even look like? I imagine it to be something like this:
I might be making fun of it and I’m also aware that I’m exaggerating in some parts but I just feel like we can’t deny that sometimes the media makes mistakes that only lead to fear and misconceptions about Islam.
What can we do?
When I was writing this article, I was thinking to myself what do I want to achieve? Do I want to convince people who hate Islam that they are wrong? No. Because this week I have learned that a miracle is needed to do that. Islamophobes are very narrow minded people who aren’t interested in having a decent conversation with you. All they want is to anger you and humiliate your religion. They live in this small cocoon filled with nothing but hate, fear and insecurities. But every time an islamophobe starts a conversation with me I have this utopic thought that I might get that person to change their mind. But at the end you start to realise that this person doesn’t want to have a conversation with you. They don’t listen to what you have to say. All they want to do is try to make a point, they do not listen at all to what you have to say. No matter how good your arguments are. So instead I remind myself to remain respectful and calm. Let’s not lower ourselves to the behaviour of these people.