Middle East studies in the News
John Esposito's Deceptions on "Islamophobia"
by Hasan Mahmud
In most cases, a patient won't even realize, let alone resist, when a doctor betrays him.
I am a Muslim. I believe that accepting our (Muslims') share in creating "Islamophobia" in the West will help eliminate it. Dr. John Esposito's recent articlein the Huffington Post, "Islamophobia: A threat to American Values?" puts the entire blame on Western "media commentators, hard-line Christian Zionists and politicians." He even neglects to mention the huge contribution Muslim societies have had on the issue. Esposito ignores that in our global village the West is regularly flooded by violence coming from Muslim societies; violence which is perpetrated in the name of Islam while citing Quranic verses and the Prophet's examples. The list is long. Here are some examples:
1. A Sharia court stoned to death a gang-raped girl, who was a minor at the time.
2. A Sharia court flogged another girl to death for having an affair.
3. Punishing raped girls/women by Sharia courts is continuing.
4. Wife-beating is openly preached.
5. Child-marriage is openly preached.
6. "No rape in marriage" is openly preached.
7. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is supported by many clergics including some of Al Azhar University.
8. Women are instantly divorced – there is no maintenance in such cases.
9. A woman appealed to a Sharia court to order her husband to beat her not every day but once a week.
10. Sharia-police (Hisba) are invading people's lives.
11. The persecution of Muslims with different ideas is reaching a frightening level.
12. Non-Muslims are arrested for carrying their holy books.
13. The persecution of non-Muslims is continuous and reaching a disturbing level.
14. Hate preaching against non-Muslims in media is common.
15. Indoctrination of children with such hate is open and alarming.
16. School syllabi are full of hatred directed at "The Other."
17. Non-Muslim places of worship are destroyed regularly.
18. Lying and deceiving are supported.
19. Civil rights are violently suppressed by "Islamic" governments — often by hanging.
With such phenomena and experience, what else does Dr. Esposito expect from the West except "Islamophobia"? He also blames the West for resisting the Ground Zero Mosque. I wish he knew how many Muslims around the world are opposed to the proposed Islamic center, not because we don't want mosques, but because before its construction, the notion of the center created "fitna" (division) and violently divided the whole nation.
Esposito is also utterly wrong to state: "Today, opposition to mosque construction with claims that all mosques are 'monuments to terrorism' and 'house embedded cells' in locations from NYC and Staten Island, to Tennessee and California, has become not just a local but a national political issue." I wish he knew that only last month a new mosque, Baitul Gaffar, was constructed in New York without a shadow of resistance, or how many euros European governments are pouring into the construct of new mosques. By the way, women were barred from attending the opening ceremony of Baitul Gaffar (House of Creator) in New York.
Throughout his article, Esposito, a respected scholar, uses mini-exceptions as general examples. Despite overwhelming support for Muslims among politicians, he cites a few bad apples. For instance, Esposito says, "Politicians use fear of Islam as a political football." He also states that "Justice Kagan is being accused of being 'Justice Sharia.'" Accused? Knowing about widespread violence sanctioned by Sharia law, as the dean of Harvard Law School, Justice Kagan tried "to promote a deep appreciation of Islamic law" with the blessing of Saudi money. If such a person is not "Justice Sharia," who is? Aren't there Islamists trying to establish Sharia courts in the USA? Yes, the blueprint of American Sharia courts was created as early as 1993 by TAM, The American Muslims. Plus, who is breeding the home grown terrorists? Are they Western media commentators, hard-line Christian Zionists and politicians?
I wish Esposito mentioned the hate-tsunami against Jews and the West that roars in the media and throughout the pulpits of the Muslim world, constantly in Himalayan magnitude. One cartoon against our Prophet (SA) caused chaos to break loose, but during my long years in the Middle East, I saw many dozens of worse cartoons in the media about Jews and their holy book. No government contained that, nor was there a sane Muslim voice against these cartoons.
Esposito also states that "all Muslims have been reduced to stereotypes of Islam against the West, Islam's war with modernity, and Muslim rage, extremism, fanaticism, and terrorism" and "all leaders of that [American] society look at all Muslims with suspicion and prejudice." These are hyperbolic overstatements. I am a Muslim; I live in Canada and often travel to the US – there is a general sense of concern, but in general, Muslims are doing well, living well and are treated well. The overwhelming support and protection of Muslims by common North Americans and churches after 9/11 is on record, but is sadly overlooked.
Yes, "We all [governments, policymakers, the media, educational institutions, religious and corporate leaders] have a critical role to play in countering the voices of hate, the exclusionary theologies and ideologies." Esposito should give the same advice to the leaders of Muslims world.
Once again, in our global village, the West is continuously bombarded by the news of serious violence from the Muslim world against women, non-Muslims and Muslims of different Islamic ideas, in the name of Islam.
This is the main reason for "Islamophobia" — and a logical one.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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