Does Islamophobia exist? Definitely yes – Islamophobia exists just like any other racist prejudice. It’s a fact as long as enough people believe that Islam is a religion which can fan the flames of hatred within the hearts of its believers up to a point that they will kill in the name of Allah, the prophet or the Islamic states.
So, who is to blame for Islamophobia – those who fear Islamist extremists or the Islamist extremists themselves? Actually, both. Without the horrific acts carried out by Islamist extremists and the people inciting them to do so, Islamophobia would implode on itself and exist only within the minds of radical bigots and fanatic haters of Islam.
So who is to blame? Just ask Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei.
Khamenei Blames the West for Islamophobia
Two weeks ago, Khamenei issued a “Letter to the Youth in Europe and North America”. In it, he requested the Western youth “study and research the incentives behind this widespread tarnishing of the image of Islam” and to “try to gain a direct and firsthand knowledge of this religion”. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Even a hardened Islamophobe should accept Khamenei’s request and question herself as to the legitimacy of such a fear.
Khamenei’s letter places the blame of Islamophobia squarely on the shoulders of the Western leaders and Western media who promote “hatred and illusionary fears” and portrays Islam as a “humane” and “ethical religion” of peace as well as “the greatest scientific and intellectual civilization of the world”.
Maybe…all religions, including Islam, create a bond between their believers and their deities while at the same time create barriers between “us” and “them” depending on the interpretation of the deities at the base of each religion.
As in all prejudices, most of the time, they are far from factual: most Muslims are not blood thirsty terrorists, nor do they condone terrorism. But Islam, like any other religion can be interpreted to incite violence or peace depending on the believers mind-set and too many terrorist acts are carried out by extremist Islamists who believe that their acts make them exemplary Muslims.
Khamenei Creates Islamophobia in the West
One week after issuing his “letter”, an article was published in the daily newspaper Kayhan (a mouth piece of Khamenei) which seemed to justify all the fears of Islamophobes because it called for the “suppression” and “annihilation” of anyone who “threatens the Islamic system” without restrictions to “any time, place and border”.
The message was targeted to Iranian dissenters who “corrupt the earth” and who should be “harshly, severely and humiliatingly punished and killed…even if they have escaped the country”. Oh, and “all people should join in to arrest them”. This is an open call to kill any Iranians who oppose the regime in Tehran, regardless of the fact that they may live on Western soil. It’s an open call for global terrorism in the name of Islam.
And just in case you are not an Iranian dissident and feel safe, you might tune in to another speech of Khamenei himself from just six months ago: “Jihad is endless because evil and its front continue to exist… this battle will only end when the society can get rid of the oppressors’ front with America at the head of it, which has expanded its claws on human mind, body and thought“. Oh yeah, that really helps soothe the phobias of Islamophobes all over the world.
Islamophobia exists and if Khamenei wants it to cease to exist, he had better learn to keep his own racist views to himself and stop selling a vision of a “Global Islamic Awakening“, a “battle of wills” against the “arrogant powers” which will lead to a “century of Islam”- an Islam based on “rationality”, “spirituality” and “jihad” – that is sure to feed the fearful minds of Islamophobes around the world.
So, Khamenei, if you want to get rid of Islamophobia, you might consider shutting up a little…or a lot.