Islamophobia has emerged as one of the gravest concerns that have jeopardized the contours of harmony and cooperation. The scourge of Islamophobia, fueled by populism, hate speech, and lack of knowledge and disinformation, is causing unimaginable suffering to Muslim minorities around the world. Islamophobia has taken many forms including inter alia negative profiling, mob lynching’s by cow vigilantes, discriminatory laws, attacks on women for wearing hijabs, ban on minarets, negative propaganda and disinformation campaigns, manifestos of far-right parties, deliberate vandalism of Islamic symbols and holy sites, and attempts to link and equate Islam with terrorism. Such acts imperil our shared aspirations for a peaceful world and a harmonious future for all. Pakistan has always supported and continues to lead international efforts for building bridges between cultures and civilizations. The current government vows to build a better understanding of Islam and Islamic precepts. Furthermore, Pakistan took various diplomatic, measures to bring international solidarity cohesion, and cooperation between the states. It also stood against global evils of fragmentation and societal disharmony and remained determined to promote the values of peaceful co-existence as well as inter-faith and cultural harmony.
In the aftermaths of the 9/11 incident- Muslims around the world are facing the menace of Islamophobia and this widespread jeopardy is seemingly pushing towards enduring hostile configurations based on impediments of religious misinformation, indoctrination and politicization. Over the past few years, this anti-Muslim syndrome has taken dreadful strides, further provoking the fault lines driven by identity contentions. Consequently, with geopolitical intrigues and daunting traditional and non-traditional challenges, the global world is witnessing intensifying Islamophobia trends, further endangering the prospects of inter-faith harmony and shattering the key emblems of the peaceful co-existence between the different ideologies and religions. Given circumstances ought to seek the root cause of such prejudice orienting from communities that are relatively perceived as modern, educated and had connotation of civilized society. In response, various valid justifications are more or less associated with the nature and idiosyncrasies of the general population, irrespective of their environment and social status. For instance, in contemporary times, the outbreak of Islamophobia Vis-a Vis phenomenon’s momentum and outreach is driven by the xenophobic culture, racial slurs, wrong attributions, negative profiling and stereotyping of ideology at large. This particular notion is escalated in the fundamentalist non-Muslim majority states where Muslims are being subjected to hate crimes at the societal level and growing anger against the Muslim ideology resulting in contention and fragmentation.
Several factors have been identified as the main contributors to such a worrisome trend: mounting far-right ideologies, refugee crises, immigration, negative perceptions amid adherents of different faiths, and provocative rhetoric by media with an aim to dente Muslim identity. Notably, the West has become the hub of this noxious anti-Muslim drive. At the community level, there is a drastic surge in hate crimes against Muslims both offline and online, as well as discriminations in education, employment, housing and healthcare, and other sectors that have become an unscrupulous trend with mayhem repercussions. Besides, Islamophobia is also gaining prominence, with girls and women being targeted due to the mode of their dress and the general notion that Muslim women are oppressed and thus must be liberated. This a dismaying factor that Islamophobia continues to find strong reverberation in political proceedings where it has been propagated for the mileages seeking and personal interests persuasion, eventually leading to the institutionalization of Islamophobia through the introduction of heinous legislation and policies in the western world. Furthermore, various academic research studies in Europe and elsewhere entails that Islamophobia has become of the most prominent viewership aspects of media discourse – in the account of this right-wing political parties and groups that tend to exploit and build on the general fear of Islam for electoral gains and maintain the status their status-quo. In various states, particularly in the West (Europe and the US included), anti-immigration and anti-refugee rhetoric have taken an anti-Muslim overtone and have often become the central theme of campaigns by far-right parties to project anti-Muslims sentiments in the masses. It is also noted with grave concern, that several Western media outlets continue to propagate fear and negative stereotypes against the Islamic ideology and its followers, notably by acting as a platform for widespread dissemination of anti-Muslim rhetoric.
Appraisal suggests that Islamophobia is also increasing in some non-western states where Muslim societies and minorities face discrimination, hatred and violence. Muslims in India and Kashmir under the fascist Modi regime structurally marginalized and the projection of Hindutva Ideology through the means of brute force is another simmering ploy to subvert the Muslims. The world has also witnessed the large-scale cross-border forced displacement of religious minorities e.g. Rohingya Muslims. In the context of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there has been a perceivable rise of negative narratives and hate speech in some countries holding the Muslim minorities responsible for the dissemination of the COVID- 19, under misinformation campaign and “fake news,” mainly in the social media by the proponent’s rhetoric. Likewise, countless incidents witnessed such as mosque burning, provocative statements in social media, mail threats, Holy Quran burning and desecration, insults of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), physical assaults, and verbal abuses. Another changing pattern of Islamophobia was witnessed on a Burqa-related issue in the western states. To conclude, despite numerous constraints, Pakistan has emerged as one of the leading actors to raise its voices against Islamophobia and it has taken countless initiatives to bring harmony to the Muslim world by the effective utilization of all the diplomatic platforms. However, the surges in hatred and antipathy against Muslims have been increasing drastically and it requires a collective global effort to overcome such an alarming trend that is pushing the masses towards hostility stemming from the identity.