Sunday, July 2, 2017

Perspective: The deadly consequences of Islamophobia -- Road rage incidents or hate crimes? | Aminah Suhail Qureshi


A report published in The Guardian indicated a 500 percent increase in Islamophobic attacks in Greater Manchester with 224 incidents reported since the suicide bombing at a concert last month.

Three young Muslim students, Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and
Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were killed over a parking dispute in Chapel Hill,
North Carolina, on February 10, 2015. Photo: Anadolu Agency
Times of Ahmad | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: Pakistan Today
By Aminah Suhail Qureshi | July 2, 2017

The Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, Canada was attacked by a young student on 29 January 2017 shortly after the end of evening prayers and resulted in the death of six worshippers. After having committed the crime, he himself called the police and surrendered. People who knew him reported him to be a white nationalist who held far-right and anti-Muslim views.

Nabra Hassanen – a woman, a black, and, most of all, a Muslim as was evident from her hijab – was reportedly accompanied by other Muslim teens, disputed to be between four and 14 in number, on her way to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), a local Muslim community centre and mosque in Sterling, Virginia, after eating an early breakfast from McDonald’s before the start of Sunday’s fast when a teenage boy from her group exchanged harsh words with a stranger in a car. The argument flared up and with it the motorist who then drove the car over the kerb towards them, exited it and chased them with a metal baseball bat. As witnesses reported, he also yelled and threw beer bottles at them before getting out of the car and chasing them. His target had definitely shifted from the bicyclist to the whole group of teenagers of whom all but one managed to run and find refuge in the mosque.

Nabra fell while fleeing and it was just then that the motorist hit her. But the tale surely does not end here as was vindicated by her remains found in a pond in Ridgetop Circle, Sterling later that afternoon. She was abducted, suspected to be sexually assaulted, and beaten for the second time before being thrown in the pond. The police said on Monday that they are not investigating the death as a hate crime but as a “road rage incident” because there was “no indication” of exchange of racial or religious remarks and that the attack was kindled by these factors. What they have probably overlooked is the simple fact that road rage involves anger and, in worst cases, violence on the spot, not abduction, sexual violation and killing. Her memorial being set on fire in Washington DC on Tuesday is a clear indication of what was the provocative factor behind the assault.

This was not the only instance to prove the point brought to discussion. The terror caused by a van driven by a “self-radicalised” 47-year-old suspect ramming several Muslims at a bus stop near the Finsbury Park Mosque and Muslim Welfare House is yet another one. It was just after the taraweeh prayers that the perpetrator drove the hired van into a small group of pedestrians who were helping Makram Ali, an elderly who had collapsed because of a weak leg at the bus stop. The London authorities and media took their time to report the incident and that too as a “potential” terror attack. It is being overwhelmingly emphasised that the suspect was “not a racist” despite anything and everything. The claim is supposedly overpoweringly heavier than statements like him being “troubled for a long time” and confessions made by his family regarding him undergoing rehabilitation for drug and alcohol problems 20 years ago and a recent suicide attempt. Be that as it may, even if the accused is believed to be what he is being proclaimed to be, the right-wing apologists of the attack and their response on social media cannot be ignored. From “Taste of their own I’d say. What do they expect?” to “This is war… we have the right to fight back”, all statements reflect one thing – hatred for Muslims. The emphasis being laid on the masses to “rise up and cast Islam out of their country” is what has caused the Virginia and Finsbury Park ‘terror’ attacks.


Islamophobia is as big a truth as is Islamist terrorism. Thus assaults committed on Muslims deserve as much coverage, tagging and litigation as those committed by Muslims. However, the mistake like that of equating Islamist terrorists with 1.8 billion adherents of Islam should not be repeated and only the assailants should be convicted and made an example of


Are these incidents not enough to substantiate the point? Let’s discuss another one. The Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, Canada was attacked by a young student on 29 January 2017 shortly after the end of evening prayers and resulted in the death of six worshippers. After having committed the crime, he himself called the police and surrendered. People who knew him reported him to be a white nationalist who held far-right and anti-Muslim views. The Canadian prime minister and Quebec premier both condemned the arrestee’s actions as a terror attack. There was no greater proof than the incident itself to prove that it was nothing less than a terrorist attack. Yet the accused was charged with six counts of first-degree murder because, as the experts later justified, it would have been difficult to prove the shooting as a terrorist attack beyond a “reasonable doubt” according to criteria of the Canadian Criminal Code. It was difficult to prove the single gunman’s association with any terrorist group which is a prerequisite to tag the attack as an offence of terrorism.

A report published in The Guardian indicated a 500 percent increase in Islamophobic attacks in Greater Manchester with 224 incidents reported since the suicide bombing at a concert last month.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations revealed in its new report titled “The Empowerment of Hate” that anti-Muslim incidents increased by 57 percent in 2016 as compared to the previous year with a 44 percent spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes during the same period.

Gau Raksha Dal is yet another tool of giving the cow protection vigilantes an excuse for lynching and persecuting native Muslims in India, just as it is quite easy for a Muslim in Pakistan to accuse a Christian or Hindu of blasphemy even over a dispute of few rupees.

And that is the main point! Islamophobia, like blasphemy and Islamist terrorism, is just a tool that is used by the perpetrators to justify their criminal acts. While the latter two are openly accepted to exist and have been declared intolerable offences, Islamophobia is denied, disproved and silenced, sometimes by labelling the attack as a “road rage incident” and sometimes to avoid complexity that would have arisen had the matter been brought under the ambit of relevant law.

If punishing someone for his crime was the only part of the job then every victim or his/her grievers would have done it quite conveniently. Conviction is as equal and important a task as the punishment itself.

Khuram Shazad, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba attacking the innocent pedestrians at London Bridge and killing eight people is as important a reality as Jeremy Joseph Christian fatally stabbing two passengers on a commuter train in Oregan who had stopped him from harassing two Muslim women.

Darwin Martinez Torres, Darren Osborne, and Alexandre Bissionette are as much a reality as are Omar Mateen, Osama bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The only difference is, perhaps, of the beard.

Islamophobia is as big a truth as is Islamist terrorism. Thus assaults committed on Muslims deserve as much coverage, tagging and litigation as those committed by Muslims. However, the mistake like that of equating Islamist terrorists with 1.8 billion adherents of Islam should not be repeated and only the assailants should be convicted and made an example of. Why punish a whole community for the deeds of some extremist fanatics who are too orthodox and intolerant to entertain any idea of peace and harmony even for a single moment?

This amount of openness has definitely been extended by the world to the Muslim community. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement issued after the aforementioned fatal shooting is one of the examples: “Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country.” And the messages given by Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and the Queen after the Finsbury Park attack were no less than a relief, with the pertinent mention of praise given to the mosque’s Imam who had intervened to protect the terrorist from being beaten by civilians.

Nevertheless, the lens with which these hate crimes are conveniently seen as road rage incidents and merely “potential” terror attacks is what needs to be changed. Or the world better be prepared to lose more Nabras and Makrams along with several Johns, Joans and Jacks.


Read original post here: Perspective: The deadly consequences of Islamophobia -- Road rage incidents or hate crimes? | Aminah Suhail Qureshi


This content-post is archived for backup and to keep archived records of any news Islam Ahmadiyya. The views expressed by the author and source of this news archive do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Times of Ahmad. Times of Ahmad is not an organ of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, nor in any way associated with any of the community's official websites.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments. Any comments irrelevant to the post's subject matter, containing abuses, and/or vulgar language will not be approved.

Top read stories during last 7 days

Disclaimer!

THE TIMES OF AHMAD is not an organ of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, nor in any way associated with any of the community's official websites. Times of Ahmad is an independently run and privately managed news / contents archival website; and does not claim to speak for or represent the official views of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The Times of Ahmad assumes full responsibility for the contents of its web pages. The views expressed by the authors and sources of the news archives do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Times of Ahmad. All rights associated with any contents archived / stored on this website remain the property of the original owners.