British non-government organization “Islamic Human Rights Commission” named the three biggest Islamophobes of 2004.
It is easy to guess who were the first two politicians named on the list: US President George Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Bush became the “Islamophobe of the year” for the overall war against terrorism and the military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq in particular (Iraqi war became the crusade against Islam, the Commission believes). Sharon was “awarded” the title for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The Head of Israeli government shared the “success” in the nomination of “the most Islamophobic politician” with French President Jacques Chirac who promoted the bill on the ban for wearing religious attributes in state schools. Not only French Moslems, but also their coreligionists all over the world opposed this bill.
According to the Islamic Human Rights Commission, many people can be called Islamophobes, and there is no sign that the situation will change for the better next year. IHRC Chair Massoud Shadjareh said that “demonizing” Moslems can be compared with the persecution of Jews on the eve of the World War II.
Massoud Shadjareh called the ‘Islamophobia Awards’ a comedy event aimed at highlighting prevailing prejudices and subverting them using humor. However, the Head of the Commission on Racial Tolerance funded by British government Trevor Phillips named the “Islamophobia Awards” the important step in fighting discrimination of Moslems.
We have to think. In the last 2-3 years the public opinion in Western Europe, USA and Russia started linking the idea of “terrorism” and Islam. Of course, nobody says publicly that all Moslems are potential terrorists, but this idea can be traced in the press articles and the statements of experts saying that radical Islamic groups pose the biggest threat nowadays. Getting rid of the formed stereotype can be hard.
The Islamic world also has stereotypes about the West. The biggest one is that the USA and its allies started the Crusade against Moslems, they do not undersand Islamic traditions and do not want to understand them and made destroying Islam their goal. The majority of Moslems have this opinion, and not all of them support bin Laden.
‘Islamophobia Awards’ is one more step increasing the anti-Western outlook of Moslems.