Islamophobia: from crusaders, to colonialists, to cartoonists

libro-de-las-cruzadasAnti-Muslim discourse has plagued the European horizon, but never has it taken on so many dimensions.

Islamophobia remains a hot topic across the West and minority communities are feeling the pinch of the prejudice in their daily lives more than ever before.

To these minorities, their marginalisation is the result of misconceptions about Muslims and Islam.

Is Islamophobia the cause or the result of terrorism? There is no clear answer to that question. But if one thing is for sure, it is that xenophobia has become widespread and has increasingly more complex ramifications on the lives of Muslims living in the West.

This has implications for Western human rights standards, as well. Islamophobia can be defined as the unjustified fear of all things Muslim based on preconceived notions that define it as a religion of violence.

While many think this form of racism bears an inextricable correlation with modern-day terrorism, many Western thinkers say anti-Islam sentiment goes back more than a century, way before the media started creating and perpetuating stereotypes, especially after the September 11 attacks.

The advent of the colonial mindset

The term “Islamophobia” was first coined during the French colonisation of several Muslim countries at the beginning of the 20th century. It was the year 1910 when French thinker Alain Quellien published a book entitled “Muslim politics in French west Africa”.

In it, the writer says Islamophobia is based on preconceived prejudice that is specific to the Christian world.

FULL ARTICLE FROM TRTWORLD.COM

China’s Orwellian War on Religion

chinaLet’s be blunt: China is accumulating a record of Orwellian savagery toward religious people.

At times under Communist Party rule, repression of faith has eased, but now it is unmistakably worsening. China is engaging in internment, monitoring or persecution of Muslims, Christians and Buddhists on a scale almost unparalleled by a major nation in three-quarters of a century.

Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch argues that China under Xi Jinping “poses a threat to global freedoms unseen since the end of World War II.”

To its credit, China has overseen extraordinary progress against poverty, illiteracy and sickness. The bittersweet result is that Chinese people of faith are more likely than several decades ago to see their children survive and go to university — but also to be detained.

China’s roundup of Muslims in internment camps — which a Pentagon official called concentration camps — appears to be the largest such internment of people on the basis of religion since the collection of Jews for the Holocaust. Most estimates are that about one million Muslims have been detained in China’s Xinjiang region, although the Pentagon official suggested that the actual number may be closer to three million.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES 

Pakistan honors priest for promoting Christian-Muslim dialogue

ucanews.com reporter, Lahore 
Pakistan 
May 29, 2019
5ceceeb91d395_600A Catholic priest has been honored by the Pakistan government for his “exemplary services” to promote interfaith harmony and peace in his own country and worldwide.
Father James Channan, a Dominican who has spent 50 years following the spirituality of St. Dominic, received an award at the Interfaith Conference 2019 in Lahore on May 17 that was attended by more than 300 people including Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs.Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Pakistan’s federal minister for religious affairs and interfaith harmony, presented the award.
“Many people helped me to reach this place. I praise God, the Church, my community of Ibn-e-Mariam Vice Province of Pakistan, and all my friends,” said Father Channan.“I especially thank my Muslim friends who always supported me and my work and keep on appreciating me to continue my mission to promote peace and harmony among the people of Pakistan.“I am actively serving in this mission to build bridges between Christians and the people of other religions, especially with our Muslim brethren, but still I see there is an urgent need for interfaith dialogue.”
Father Channan said his work to promote peace and interfaith harmony brings him peace and mental satisfaction.“I keep on thinking about ways to bring people of various faiths together, to help them to nurture and strengthen peace among them,” he said.“Everybody is my neighbor, and being a follower of Jesus Christ I have to love everybody — it keeps me motivated and zealous. We always have to share this message that we are one human family, following different religions and faiths but living our faiths we have to promote love, unity and peace.”Father James Channan (right) with Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Pakistan’s federal minister for religious affairs and interfaith harmony, at the Interfaith Conference. (Photo courtesy of Father Channan) 

Unique museum informs Australians about Islam

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The Islamic Museum of Australia in Melbourne provides information on the history, life and identity of Muslims in the country. Founded by Australian Muslim businessman Moustafa Fahour with the support of the Australian federal government, the museum is the first and only Islamic museum in the country.

Since opening in 2014, it has hosted more than 50,000 visitors. Open six days a week, the museum organizes various conferences and events in different fields such as calligraphy, historical art, miniature painting, handicrafts and current events. “We want them to experience and learn about the beauty of Islam,” said the museum director, Maryum Chaudhry.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DAILY SABAH

Hollywood Iftar Encourages Creators to Reject “Stereotypical Stories” About Islam

ebf_iftar_london_2019-publicity-h_2019_The third annual event was hosted by the Muslims on Screen & Television Resource Center, Unity Productions Foundation and the Writers Guild Foundation.

On Wednesday night the Writers Guild Foundation and Muslims on Screen & Television Resource Center (MOST) welcomed influential film and television creators to the third annual Hollywood Iftar.

The London Hotel in West Hollywood played host to the event, a collaboration between the Writers Guild Foundation, MOST and Unity Productions Foundation.

An iftar is a sacred sunset meal Muslims use to break the daily fast of Ramadan.

Wednesday’s iftar was open to both Muslim and non-Muslim members of Hollywood in the hopes of fostering a better understanding of Islam by those who create film and television. Writers and producers like Greg Daniels (The Office), Joy Gregory (Madam Secretary) and Chip Johannessen (Homeland) mixed and mingled with members of the Islamic community to learn about the nuances of Islamic culture and traditional Muslim practices.

Daniels, showrunner of The Office and Parks and Recreation, says he first experienced the Hollywood Iftar a couple of years ago, after attending a master class with Arab TV writers in Abu Dhabi.

He says he strongly believes in the need for television writers to familiarize themselves with different cultures. “I think it’s important for all writers to learn about as much as they can just to have their writing reflect the world accurately,” Daniels told The Hollywood Reporter before alluding to the current political climate. “I also think it’s important to show solidarity with minority communities, especially now.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM HOLLYWOOD REPORTER 

This building will be a church, a mosque and a synagogue under one roof

Yassmin-Recovered2Imagine a place where Christians, Muslims and Jews can come together to pray. This is not the start of a utopic story but an actual plan in progress. A building that was once a church which was destroyed in the Second World War is being transformed into what they want to call ‘The house of One’.

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The house of One

The main goal of this project is to bring people together regardless of their religion, says the theological speaker for the House of One. Besides having three separate praying rooms they also want to have a table in the former parking lot where people can come together, have a conversation, share a meal and just sit with each other.

To enforce the idea of uniting people they want to have one entrance where the different believers have to walk through to get to their praying room. This way Christians, Jews and Muslims can meet each other as they walk to the common room before heading to the separate spaces.

Since this is still a project in progress the minister along with an imam and a rabbi have launched a competition to decide how the building will be designed. The idea is to have one common room where the different believers enter together, with three different doors of the same height that lead to the praying rooms of the different religions.

FULL ARTICLE MVSLIM.COM

Wheaton Offers Scholarship Named for Former Professor Who Said Muslims, Christians Worship Same God

A new scholarship now being offered at a prominent evangelical college named after a former professor who infamously claimed that Christians and Muslims worship the same God is confusing some while being celebrated by others.

The Wheaton Record reported on April 5 that a scholarship in the name of former political science professor Larycia Hawkins was announced last month.

Wheaton College political science professor Larycia Hawkins posing in a hijab in a photo that was posted to Facebook on Dec. 10, 2015. | (Photo: Facebook/Larycia Hawkins)

The scholarship will be up to $1,000 and was created as part of a Feb. 2016 settlement with Hawkins, the first African American female to receive tenure at the school. Hawkins left Wheaton that month amid international controversy over a Dec. 2015 Facebook post in which she published a photo of herself wearing a hijab in solidarity with Muslims who had been antagonized following terror attacks at the time, and claimed that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. She was summarily put on administrative leave due to the “theological implications” behind those comments.

The Wheaton board of trustees admitted later that year that the school had made an “error in judgement” in handling the situation; a task force issued a report in October concluding that they could not decisively say whether or not Hawkins’ theological views aligned with the school’s doctrinal statement of faith.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISIAN POST