Executive Director Schwartz quoted
UN's feeble concern for Islamophobia
Pakistan Observer [Islamabad]
September 16, 2007
Pakistan Observer website, Islamabad, 16 September 2007
The United Nations investigator on racism has condemned a rising trend of Islamophobia, especially in Europe, where he said, it was being exploited by some right-wing political parties. Doudou Diene also accused Switzerland's most popular party, the right-wing Swiss People's Party, of inciting hatred.
The UN special rapporteur has made correct assessment of the situation. Islamophobia is a neologism used to refer to an irrational fear or prejudice towards Muslims and the religion of Islam. This prejudice against Islam has increased tremendously in the United States and Europe since the 11 September 2001 attacks.
Apart from police harassment, Muslims are discriminated at the societal level as well, mostly because of the anti-Islam policies of some of the Western governments and their biased media. Statements about bombing of Islam's holiest places, publication of blasphemous cartoons, demands for ban on the Holy Koran, stiff opposition to construction of mosques in Europe, directing the war on terror against Muslims and the headscarf issue are some of the examples that ignite hatred against Muslims and their religion. Such is the state of affairs that an American journalist Stephen Schwartz has defined Islamophobia as the condemnation of the entirety of Islam and its history as extremist, denying the existence of a moderate Muslim majority, regarding Islam as a problem for the world, treating conflicts involving Muslims as necessarily their own fault, insisting that Muslims make changes to their religion, and inciting war against Islam as a whole.
Under these circumstances, it would not be enough to make statements and the UN will have to play an effective and bigger role in eliminating misunderstandings between civilizations. The issue should be debated in the relevant UN bodies especially Geneva-based Human Rights Commission to bring relief for Muslims.
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