“No idea is above scrutiny, no people beneath dignity” – Maajid Nawaz
Anti-Muslim bigotry is prejudice against Muslim individuals. It is not to be confused with critique of the political ideology of Islamism, nor with theological objections to the religion of Islam. It is a separate phenomenon in which the negative feelings people harbor against Muslims lead them to insult, assault, or even kill people of the Muslim faith or from Muslim backgrounds, because of that person’s Muslim identity.
There have been spikes in hate crimes against Muslims after every major terrorist attack, including most recently after the Paris attacks in November 2015.
Attacks include :
· Online insults and cyberattacks
· Verbal harassment, including the use of specific slurs
· Vandalism of mosques, Islamic centers, schools and other community institutions
There is never an excuse to attack another person because of their faith or their perceived faith. There have been several cases of Sikhs and other minority groups attacked because they were mistaken for Muslims. Racism plays into anti-Muslim bigotry because of the perception that all Muslims are brown-skinned and all brown-skinned people are Muslim.
On September 15 2001, Sikh man Balbir Singh Sodir was shot and killed at a gas station in Arizona by a man named Frank Roque, who explicitly went out to “kill a Muslim.”
He was thought to be the first backlash casualty of 9/11.
Attacking ordinary Muslims not only punishes innocent people for the actions of their co-religionists, but it plays into the hands of extremists, by enabling the Islamic State and others to portray the conflict as one of Islam vs everyone else.
Defeating Islamism ideologically cannot be done by smearing all Muslims.
Every time an attack is perpetrated against ordinary Muslims or Muslims are attacked monolithically in the media this creates more recruiting material for the Islamist narrative. They can then sell the lie that Muslims will always be hated by non-Muslims and play on the fears of the Muslim community.
Anti-Muslim bigotry is both morally wrong and tactically stupid and for both those reasons has no place in the fight against Islamism.