Identity Crisis of Muslims in Non-Muslim societies

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There have been many convergences and divergences between the West and Islam since the dawn of Islam. The West, already rife with anti-Islamic and Islamophobic biases, is not prepared for Islam’s positive image. The very life and future of Muslim minorities living in the West is threatened by the exclusion of Muslim minorities and by the label of a terrorist. Islam is a total code of conduct for Muslims; it is the foundation of their beliefs, emotions, and acts. The teachings that Muslims follow are fundamental beliefs that represent true values. Cases of terrorism have occurred, notably the 9/11 attack, after which a surge of Islamic terrorism and extremism was highlighted.

These extremists weren’t following Islam, but merely used it as a shield, raising conundrums for Muslim minorities. Extremists simply seek to condemn the notion of society that has ignited animosity for Muslims and the social standards of their faith that have been wrongfully constructed. Since extremists want drastic change they turn to more aggressive ways of spreading their notions. They want to alter, by violent means, the monopolization of the existing political status, which is called terrorism. These actions do not rely on or stem from a particular religion. Rather, they derive from the particular society and the historical circumstances in which the extremists were born and raised. This underlines that their conduct is ultimately dictated by the social rule of the region in which they initially lived.

Western societies have been experiencing a very intense phobia about Islam, or Islamophobia, over the past decades. It can be described somewhat as exaggerated terror and intense hostility towards Muslims, especially those who living in societies as minorities. Negative prejudice and bigotry are leading Muslims to an identity crisis. The identity crisis is basically the outcome of exploitation and disdain of respect, rights, and liberty, which is what most Muslim minorities experience in secular and repressive states. The key causes of the loss of true identity are the feelings of oppression, backlash, and extreme massacres that go unreported. Muslim minorities try to adhere to their resident states’ socio-cultural demands in order to be treated and granted the same rights as the rest of the population. Such transition causes their own identities as Muslims to be misaligned.

In 2009, the largest party in Switzerland submitted a referendum to ban the building of a minaret, and in November 2019, a local assaulted a pregnant woman in Australia wearing a headscarf; such is the extent of intense hatred developed by the West around the world. There is a large faction of the Muslim minority living in the United States; however anti-Muslim and anti-Islam propaganda was created in the media after the 9/11 attack. According to a survey 36 percent of Americans believe that Islam is a religion that promotes violence among its adherents. Many Americans see Muslims and Americans as two opposite poles. As per them both identities contradict the other, and one cannot hold both, which is why many young American Muslims feel more confident when they identify themselves as Americans alone, causing a severe identity crisis among the young generation. This affects the younger generation’s perception, causing a question as to ‘which one’ to adopt.

Farther to the East, viewed as untouchables, there is a certain sense of despondency and continuous apprehension that Muslims face in India. This is the religious majority’s strategic conduct, as many political parties and media groups support them. As per the Indians, Muslims pose a threat to their secular, democratic nation. The reelection of Narendra Modi brought forth the emergence of a new kind of fascism. The BJP has an ideology similar to the ideologies of the past, such as Nazism, which created havoc and humanitarian crises. BJP calls it Hindutva, which uses the banner of patriotism and nationalism, and the concept of Akhand Bharat, a greater nation for all Hindu, a contrast to its secular framework. The crisis of identity is that phase of ambiguity in which a person is unsure of his or her identity. The identity crisis is developing as a process of embracing traditional values for survival.

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