Arab News on Islamophobia

“The announcement that the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations is to launch a media campaign to create a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the US is welcome, though not before time. The cancer of anti-Muslim feeling in the US had begun to spread well before 9/11. Since then, it has been on the rampage. If anything, the assessment in a recent Cornell University survey that around half of Americans have a negative view of Islam and want the US government to curb the political activities of Muslims in the country is almost certainly a considerable underestimation of the problem.

“Islamophobia is a double poison. If not stopped it will so destructively impact relations between the US and Muslim countries that the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ will become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Not that Islamophobia is purely an American problem; it is active in Europe, India, parts of Africa, and in too many parts of the non-Muslim world. There, in its second venomous outpouring, it is at its most cruel. It is Muslims in non-Muslim societies who feel the effect; traditionally dressed Muslim women screamed at in supermarkets in middle America, spat at in parks in middle England, their veils torn from their faces in France or Australia or Netherlands; it is Muslim homes daubed with offensive slogans, mosques vandalized, a community fed a constant diet on TV and in the press on how backward Muslim society is. This is Islamophobia is action.”

Editorial in Arab News, 23 June 2006