Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dealing with Islamophobia

It is by acquiring the conviction that they can be faithful to their principles while being totally involved in the life of their society that Muslims will find the means to social discriminations and phobias and act to resolve them.

It is an established and unacceptable fact that the governments of the United States (particularly after the outrages of 11 September 2001) and Europe maintain relations that are sometimes disrespectful of and even clearly discriminatory against citizens and residents of their countries who are of the Muslim faith. It is no less true that they apply a security policy including constant surveillance: distrust is maintained and the image of the "Muslim"often remains suspect. The general picture conceived by the Western population in general is so negative that one would call it Islamophobia, and this is a fact that many Muslims have lived with on a daily basis. One could extend the list of difficulties, complaints and criticisms at will.

My response to all these phenomena is to insist to Muslims that they stay in higher reaches, in awareness of their principles, values and responsibilities. By developing a global vision of their points of reference and their objectives, by studying their situation and being reconciled with themselves, they have the responsibility to become engaged in all areas.

Muslims will get what they deserve: if, as watchful and participating citizens, they study the machinery of their society, demands their rights to equality with others, struggle against all kinds of discrimination and injustice, establish real partnerships beyond their own community and what concerns themselves alone, it will be an achievement that will make political security measures, discrimination, Islamophobic behavior and so on drift away downstream. In the end, the ball is in their court...unless they are determined to remain forever on the margins.

(Tariq Ramadan. Western Muslims and the Future of Islam.Preface. Oxford University Press, 2004. p.6-7)

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