Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, November 24th, 2017

Escalation in Hate Crime

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Escalation in Hate Crime

Hate crime has increased to a great extent in democratic countries, mainly the UK, and Muslim men and women are targeted on the grounds of their beliefs and Islamic covering. Women’s headscarf, face veil, or robe are not tolerated by those who allege that Muslims lack tolerance. This act, which will curtail Muslims’ freedom and spread fear and hatred, is against democratic principles and human rights discourse.
According to a recent report, anti-Muslim attacks in the UK rose 47 percent in 2016 compared with the previous year. The attacks were largely levelled at Muslim women – 56 percent of victims of 642 incidents were female. Sixty-six percent of perpetrators were male, and 69 percent were white men. Victims came from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.
Following a spate of terrorist attacks in European countries, hate crime escalated in many parts of the world as a result of Islamophobia which was spread by religious fundamentalists. Muslim men and women were frequently insulted in public places and even harsh rhetoric was said against them by officials. They stereotyped all Muslims in the wake of some practices by radical groups.
It should be noted that Muslims bear the brunt of radical ideology and Islamic countries are beset by the issue of terrorism. Currently, Muslims in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma Iraq, Syria, etc. suffer in the worst possible way on the grounds of their beliefs as a result of radicalism practiced by fundamental groups – which shed the blood of Muslims and non-Muslims indiscriminately. But they represent their radical ideology rather than Islamic beliefs.
To view the global history, religious wars inflicted heavy casualties upon nations in Europe. For example, the European wars of religion were a series of religious wars waged in Central, Western and Northern Europe from 1524 to 1648, following the onset of the Protestant Reformation in Europe. Similarly, the Thirty Years’ War, which was fought between 1618 and 1648, and Crusades led to countless fatalities. But it will not be right to pigeonhole a certain religion or followers for being involved in such deadly attacks. This further suggests that there are radicals in any religion and radicalism will lead to war and destruction. The same is the case with those who misconstrue Islamic Sharia and justify their acts of terror on the basis of their own ideology. In short, the practices of religious fundamentalists are not only against Islamic tenets but also against the mainstream of Muslims.
In his popular speech titled “A New Beginning”, the US former President Barack Obama said in Cairo, Egypt, “None of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries…more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace.”
Although terrorism is colored by religion and terrorists operate under the cloak of faith and beliefs, it has been changed into political issue and mercenaries are believed to form the larger number of militants. Terrorists fight proxy war rather than ideological one. They value neither religion nor code of ethics.
Violating one’s rights or dignity on the grounds of their race, color, gender, etc. is against human rights and moral values. We live in the global village and have to feel the pain and suffering of an individual regardless of their background. For example, if a man or woman of color fall victim to violence in Las Vegas, if a Muslim’s right is violated in Rohingya, and if a child’s blood is shed in Palestine, it is a stain on public conscience. We have to respect the rights and dignity of one another irrespective of backgrounds. But if we do not tolerate one’s beliefs or color or simply the way of their dressing, we are also called radicals. That is to say, radical does not necessarily mean to kill one but to insult one on the basis of their racial or religious grounds is also radicalism.
In the current sensitive time, human societies need to strengthen unity and accept the way one thinks, says, writes, and dresses. Justifying our own acts of violence is tantamount to radicalism. We are not supposed to add to violence. To live a peaceful life, we need practice tolerance and treat one another with the spirit of brotherhood. If religious fundamentalist be able to sow the seeds of discord in human societies, their dream for a dystopia will come true. Hence, targeting people based on actions of some fundamentalists who happened to be Muslims is unacceptable and against democratic principles and moral values.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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