International Day To Combat Islamophobia

International Day To Combat Islamophobia

Al-Okaz, Saudi Arabia, March 22

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the decision of the United Nations General Assembly to designate March 15 of each year as an international event to combat Islamophobia, with the unanimous consensus of all member states of the United Nations. This decision is very important at the present time, as it perpetuates the civilized world’s stance against the wave of hostility to Islam that has spread so much in recent years. But what do we mean by Islamophobia? The phrase, according to its direct linguistic connotation, means fear of Islam, and technically it means the hostile view of Islam, which takes three forms. The first: removing Islam from the monotheistic tradition to which Judaism and Christianity belong and considering it a religion alien to this common Abrahamic family. This idea has ancient theological backgrounds dating back to the era of the Crusades, when Islam was seen as a perverted religion. Although the ecclesiastical reforms that took place in the middle of the last century established the unity of the source and the relationship between Judaism and Christianity, they abolished Islam from this common root with flimsy pretexts. The second: linking Islam to violence, radicalism, and bloodshed, based on the activity of isolated extremist groups that subscribe to a fundamentalist and radical interpretation of religious texts. We see this trend among a wide range of Western politicians and media professionals, a prominent example of which is Éric Zemmour, a candidate for the upcoming French presidential elections. In addition to the fact that these radical groups are rejected by most Muslims of all sects and denominations, these armed groups mainly target Muslim governments and societies. The third: saying that Islam is not an ordinary religion or system of belief, but rather a political project and a legal system, which means that it contradicts modernity, civility, and freedom. Political Islam groups and anti-Islam orientalists share this false perception. But why has this new form of Islamophobia escalated? The answer is that the violent actions of extremist terrorist groups distorted the perception of Islam and Muslims. Further, this perception has been further damaged by ideological movements that raise the slogan of Islam to gain power and confront Muslim governments and societies. Finally, radical Western voices have been fighting Islam on the pretext of confronting illegal immigration and terrorism and have destroyed the image of Islam and Muslims. There is no doubt that the best way to confront Islamophobia is to present a tolerant and open image of Islam, which is the true image of this religion. Islam is a religion of moderation and tolerance that stands against extremism of any kind. That’s what non-Muslims should understand. –Wafa Al-Rasheed (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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