Islamophobia What to know and do about it

Navaid Aziz


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aka Julian barakallahu, calm, melodic minor him al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil alameen wa sallahu wa Sallim wa barik ala nabina Muhammad in LA early he was off big Marian and my bad. My dear brothers and sisters, I'm going to start off just straightforward right away. Yesterday we received the horrendous news that Alexander Bissonnette was going to have his sentence reduced from 40 years to 25 years, and allow him parole after 25 years. Now, when you look at this incident, it often gets overshadowed by Christ Church, and after Christ Church, there was a big uproar across the world, in terms of how we need to tackle right wing extremism and online hate speech because it directly

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played into that. And while that global uproar, it did a lot for creating awareness on Islamophobia. What it did, that had an adverse effect was overshadow the incident at the Quebec mosque. And I know we're going to be having our beloved brother, Mohammed RBD. Speaking later on in this, but I believe it ties directly in to this. Now, our responsibility towards this, and this is some that we keep on seeing is that the lives of Muslims are often perceived, not as valuable as the lives of non Muslims. And you will often see that the rights of Muslims are often perceived as not as valuable as the rights of non Muslims. And this is going to be this has been a recurring theme. And it continues

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to be a recurring theme, and we have an obligation to fight it. And that is why when this event came about, I was honored to that the MS Society and much of mine in Ottawa, invited me to speak about this, because it's something that is very near and dear to my heart, and something that I believe we as Muslims, and specifically, Muslim Canadians, across Canada, need to be participating in and advocating for in fighting Islamophobia, in our country and across the world. So let us start off, firstly, by when we talk about Islamophobia, what exactly are we speaking about, and I referred, or I rather research multiple sources, but one of the best sources that I came across, and I'll be

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sharing this later on as well, is a book called The fear of Islam, by Todd H. Green. And this was published in 2019. I believe it's a second edition that was published in 2019. And he had the most comprehensive definition that I would like to expand upon. He says it is the fear of and hostility towards Muslims and Islam, that is rooted in racism. And that results in individual and systemic discrimination, exclusion, and violence targeting Muslims and those perceived as Muslims. It's a lot to take in. Now, the fear and hostility towards Muslims, and Islam. So now, when we think of public perception of Islam, how do we believe or what do we think the world and Canadians across Canada

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perceive Muslims? Is it favorable? Is it non favorable? We're going to be going into statistics a bit later on. But that's what the first part of the definition is referring to that are people actually afraid of Muslims? And does that fear lead to hostility towards Muslims? Now this fear and hatred towards Muslims? Is it rooted in racism, if it is rooted in racism, meaning it leads to discriminatory actions on an individual level or systemic level, then that is, by essence, Islamophobia, and that will further leads to exclusion and violence, targeting Muslims and those perceived as Muslims. Now, why does it talk about those perceived as Muslims, because if you look at

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it, historically, the very first person that died, post 911, as an Islamophobic attack was actually a Sikh Muslim. So it was it was actually a Sikh individual, they perceived him to be Muslim, and this they attacked him and killed him. And this was right after 911. So that's what it says those perceived as Muslims is included in this definition. So now it is this fear and hostility towards Muslims and Islam. Is it founded, not founded, obviously, that is something academics, I've discussed a lot. Some of the problems that academics face when discussing Islamophobia is where is that fine line that the West, you know, finds itself promoting in criticizing religion, particularly

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Islam, versus, you know, attacking Muslims and discriminating against them? This is something that academics are struggling with right now. And the Muslim community has a very big burden on its shoulders, to disseminate what is actually mainstream, real Islam versus that which is perceived to be Islam, by the actions of a few criminals or even actions that are done culturally but are are attributed to Islam. Now, what are the aims and objectives of Islamophobia if you would agree

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breaking them down. What are some of the objectives, there was a report that was done by running meat in 1997. And this was presented to the British government, in hopes of, you know, having more of an inclusive society, more of a multicultural society. And he talked about Islamophobia. And perhaps this was the first one of the first reports, or at least one of the first reports, I was able to find, that talked about Islamophobia as a real discriminatory movement prior to that it was just inclusive in the general form of racism against colored people. Now, the aim of Islamophobia is several, but four of the main aims and objectives of Islamophobia is to prove that Islam is

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monolithic and static. Number two, that Islam is separate and other number three, that Islam is inferior. And number four, Islam is the enemy. These are some of the main objectives, or four of the main objectives that I came across of Islamophobia. Now, this leads to a very important conversation is Islamophobia an intentional movement or an unintentional movement. And I think we need to recognize that there are parts of the Islamophobia movement that are unintentional, people literally just don't know any better. They've just been watching too much Fox News, they've been exposed to too much propaganda, and thus, they have a negative perception of Islam. But then there's another

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component to the Islamophobia movement, that actually is intentional, that in deliberately, in Milan, maligns, Muslims and Islam in a very negative Limelight, to make it perceived as these things that we spoke about. And you're there is one of the books that I'll be recommending the Islamophobia industry later on in the presentation, and this books, but this book basically proves how you have these movements, and a lot of them in the United States of America, some of them from the Middle East itself, as well, that does a lot of damage in funding these groups that basically just focused on targeting the Muslim community. So now let's get back to the aims that I was speaking about. So

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the first aim is that Islam is monolithic and static. What is it trying to prove over here? What does this actually mean? When you say Islam is a is as monolithic and static, it's referring to that Islam is just one movement, and it is just one denomination, and just one group of people and all Muslims are exactly the same. Now, fundamentally, in terms of a creed system, yes, I would say 99.9% of Muslims will have the same creedal values. But that still does not mean that Islam is a monolith. And the objective behind this aim is to prove that if we can say that, that I should represent in slam, then therefore, all of a sudden is like dash, and that is the aim behind this Islamophobic.

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The behind the sun for the behind this point, that Islam is a monolith, all of it is like that. Number two, Islam is separate and other meaning that when we view Canadians, can Muslims actually be Canadians? Can Muslims actually be Americans? Can Muslims actually be British, European, Australian, or citizens of any other country, and then Islamophobia, it tries this, this deliberate movement, it tries to prove that, in reality, Islam is separate and other, and therefore Muslims can not be citizens that value, the same values as the countries that they are part of. And this is a very important point, that if you look from a psychological and sociological perspective, before people

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can harm someone, they have to otherwise them, they have to be able to say that this person is not from me or not from people that I cherish, and value, and therefore it is okay to harm them. And that is one of the first processes that needs to take place. If you're able to prove that these people's values are different than yours, and they don't cherish the same things that you do, you've already begun the other ideation process, which is one of the first steps towards violence taking place towards them. And that is the second day. Number three, the Islamophobia movement tries to prove that Islam is inferior, and they will often take cultural practices, and say that this is what

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Islam actually promotes. So one of the biggest things that, you know, up until 2016 2017, that used to be said was that Muslim women aren't allowed to drive. And obviously, this isn't they aren't the one country. It might have been down to some other countries, but it was mainly just inherent to one country, and Islam. And the Muslim community was maligned by that saying that Muslim women were oppressed. If you look throughout history, and the rights that Muslims had, and this is on a tangent by itself, you've seen sisters that have done great work in this sisters like Dahlia Mujahid and others that talk about the liberation of women through Islam, and how over time, it wasn't that

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Muslim women became more

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First, it was at the definition of freedom changed. And when the definition of freedom changed, then comparing the, you know, our morals and values that are grounded in our faith to Western New, you know, Neo liberal secular values, obviously, there is going to be some sort of conflict over there. So you can refer to those talks by by didyma, Jade and others. So when they talk about Islam being inferior, it is about our values, and our ethics. And when they tried to do that, it basically promotes a second class citizenship that not all people are equal, because Islam is inferior, therefore, they do not deserve equality. And last but not least, Islam as the enemy, meaning that

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Islam is at war with the West. And it's that there's a clash of civilizations that is taking place, this is something that for those of you that have engaged with the academic field will come across on a regular basis. But this is a directed divide promoted by the Islamophobia, industry, and those that deliberately promote Islamophobia, that Islam is the enemy. And the US act like 911, the US acts like, you know, the seven, seven bombings, the nice attacks, and all of these attacks that have taken place, that the perpetrators were Muslim, and they attribute this they attribute to this to Islam, what they don't want to look at is all of these movements that have come about in the name of

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anti Western, you know, feeling and sentiment, where were these movements, let's just say 100 years ago, if you look at it, historically, Muslims migrated to Canada, in the 1870s. This is one of the first migrants that we have documented to Alberta, to London, Ontario, and to some of these areas, like labiche, you know, the first major migrant communities where Muslims migrated to. If Islam was really at war with the West, then why is it that we have no documented terrorist attacks? Up until that point, we only see the beginning of terrorist attacks done by Muslims and those that attributed themselves to Islam very, very late on, you know, as early as the 1990, or sorry, as late and or as

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early, you're going to view it as the 1990s. Right 1990s onwards, that's when you first start seeing these things. How about 120 years prior to that, that we have documented evidence that Muslims were living in the West, and I was doing all Canada and North America, obviously, they migrated to England and to France and other places much, much earlier on. But speaking in the North American context, and this is what often gets ignored, that foreign policy has a huge role to play in this invasion of Muslim countries has a huge role to play in this, you know, not helping Muslim countries that are being persecuted by their own governments has a huge role to play in this overthrowing

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governments and leaving a vacuum there has a huge role to play in this. And all of this needs to be looked at, as to why there are problems within the Muslim countries, and why there have been attacks against the West in the in the quote unquote, name of Islam, even though it has something to do in Islam with them itself. These are the acts of a few Muslims that claim to act with the name of Islam, but in reality, Islam is free from their actions. So these are some of the main goals and objectives of the deliberate Islamophobia movement. Now, what I want to look at is actually some of the statistics that talk about what happens in Canada, what actually happens in Canada, and what the

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perception of

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of non Muslims is towards Canadians. So there have been multiple studies that have been done. The one of the most famous ones that I was able to come across was by CJ PME, which is Canadians for justice and peace in the Middle East. They did a 2018 survey on Islamophobia in Canada, where they surveyed 1079 different individuals from November 24, to December 4 of 2017. And they found some very alarming statistics that I wanted to share with you. So there are five main things that I'll share from this survey, number one that Canadians are least comfortable with a figure of authority, who wears hijab as opposed to any other religious garb. So this shows us that Canadians were very,

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very uncomfortable if they had a prime minister that wears hijab at 44%. Whereas if the Prime Minister wore a cross, it was only a 21% level of discomfort. Canadians are more likely to harbor negative status.

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Types against Muslim Canadians, then they are to Christians or Jewish Canadians. For example, more Canadians consider Muslims, less tolerant, less adoptable, less open minded, more violent, and more oppressive a women, then fellow Christians or Jews, they also found in the study, Canadians are less comfortable welcoming a Muslim into their family versus people of other religious faiths. Whereas only 12% of respondents were uncomfortable with a family member getting engaged to someone of a different religious faith 31% were uncomfortable with a family member getting engaged to a Muslim, so almost three times as bad. So the general sentiment and this understand this statistic, that if

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you were to get married to someone of faith,

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only 12% of people felt uncomfortable if the person was from a different faith. But as soon as that person is identified as a Muslim, that jumps up to 31% 31%. So just under, you know, three times more just under three times more level of comfort. Canadians believe in the protection of religious values generally, but are less concerned for the religious rights of their Muslim co citizens. So for example, 82% of respondents give importance to religious freedom generally, but only 68% of Canadians give importance to the protection of the rights of Muslims to practice their religion. So this shows us that Canadians in general, are very inclusive of religious practices, and they don't

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have a problem with faith being practiced

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by people. But as soon as it became the right of protecting individuals to practice their faith, particularly Muslims, only 68%. We're okay with this. And then last, but not least, their fifth main point was a surprising number of people 17% perceive the Canadian Muslim community as a monolith with uniform views only. And this goes back to the point that I was making earlier on, that if you can successfully identify Islam as a monolith, and therefore identify Islam as being sympathetic towards the isotype movements, then therefore, all of Islam is evil, and wants to spread evil, and so on and so forth. 17% of Muslims actually believed that Islam was a monolith, they did not know of

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any diversity of opinion amongst the Muslim community, which is very alarming. So this is one of the main source of statistics that they found, again, was Canadian justice for peace in the Middle East. And this is 2018. Angus Reed also did a study in 2015. And he found that 46% of Canadians have an unfavorable view of Islam, more than any other religious tradition, fewer than half of Canadians would find it acceptable for one of their children to marry a Muslim, lower than any other group. 56% of Canadians believe that Islam suppresses woman's rights, more than half of people living in Ontario, feel mainstream Muslim doctrines promote violence. And for me, this was just absurd, like

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coming from Ontario, when you have major cities like Ottawa, like Toronto, and then you have big Muslim populations, like you do in London, Ontario, and other parts of like Mississauga, Scarborough and all these things. It was, you know, as they say, gobsmacking, to see that 52 that more than half of people living in Ontario, felt that mainstream Western doctrines promote violence, which, you know, boggles my mind. And this is going to lead to my point, when we talk about actions that Muslims need to partake in to counter this, again, there's a very heavy burden upon us. 51% support government surveillance of mosques. 31% Canadians approve American President Donald Trump's

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restrictions on travelers from Muslim majority countries. So these are some other statistics by Angus Reed as well. And there are other statistics that can be shared, as well. Now, what is the point of these statistics? The reason why I want to share these statistics is to show what people actually believe. And when people actually have a belief system. There's a small minority of people that will actually go on and act upon their invalid belief systems, and in this case, Islamophobic belief systems. So these belief systems have led to assaults on the Muslim community. So we see that in September of 2014, six Muslim students were attacked at Queen's University, may 2016, another

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student was attacked at Western University. It's led to violence against women. In 2011. A Muslim woman wearing Hijab was with her children when she was attacked in Mississauga. In 2013, a 17 year old was attacked in St. catharines. She was punched in the nose and had her hijab pulled off in 2015, a pregnant woman

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By wearing the hijab was attacked by teenagers in Toronto where they tried to pull off her hijab. It is also alleged attacks on multiple massages like this these past couple of months. What we've seen in Quebec, in particular has been horrendous. But let's just look at a timeline. On December 31 2013. A bomb threat was made against a mosque in Vancouver. On May 2014, a man tried to throw a molotov cocktail through a mosque in Montreal on November 2014. On Nova on November 14 of 2015, a day after the Paris attacks, the only mosque in Peterborough was set on fire in October 12 of 2020, which is of this year, Toronto Police confirmed they are investigating threats made against a local

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mosque. The messages received by the most include the threat to do a Christ Church all over again, to do a Christchurch all over again, this was October 2020, just a bit over a month ago. So it's led to attacks on mosques as well. And obviously the biggest incident in Quebec history. As of recent was the Quebec City mosque shooting were in January 2017, a gunman opened fire upon worshippers at Islamic cultural center of Quebec, killing six and wounding 19 others and wounding 19 others. And then, most recently, with another heinous crime that took place was on September 12, where Mohammed Aslam is the face, who was a volunteer at the IMO was stabbed in the neck while he was just sitting

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outside the mustard. So those belief systems, it's very important to understand these statistics, because then you can also see the proportion proportionate violence that will result from these belief systems, whereas had Muslims when viewed in a positive light, then obviously, this would not be taking place, and obviously this would not be taking place. Now, let me get to my conclusion, let me get to my conclusion. Number one is increasing our own literacy on Islamophobia. I believe that as Muslims, we are not as literate, as we should be about Islam or phobia. And what I want to share with you are four resources, there are two books, one project, and then one academic article. So the

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two books and these are probably you know, if you want to prioritize what you should start with these two books in general, I think, if you're interested in this field, or you want to get interested in this field, there must haves. Number one is the fear of Islam, by Todd H. Greene is a very valuable book to get second edition, as I mentioned, was published in 2019. So the fear of Islam by Todd H. Green. then number two is the Islamophobia industry how the right manufacturers fear of Muslims, this is by Nathan Chapman lean, Nathan Chapman lean, it also has two editions, originally published in 2012, and then republished in 2017, try to get the 2017 version as you can.

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So those are the two books that I would recommend. Then there's a project called Project someone. So Project, if you go to this website, and search for Islamophobia, they actually have a discussion on Islamophobia in Canada, in particular, very, very thorough, talks about a lot of research that has been done particularly online as well, which is huge. And then last, but not least, the academic paper that I wanted to share with you is Islamophobia in Canada, measuring the realities of negative attitudes. And this was by Sarah Wilkins laflamme at University of Waterloo, University of Waterloo. So these are some great resources that you can refer back to and increase

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your own literacy. Number two, is the importance of reporting hate crimes and Islamophobic attacks. If you are a victim of an Islamophobic attack, and you have been threatened, by all means you need to reach out to the nccn National Council of Canadian Muslims, you have to reach out to them and report it. I know it is tedious, but there is the only way they can advocate for our rights, their lobbying group that advocates for the rights of Muslims in Canada, you have to report your hate crimes to them. And you have to report your hair your Islamophobic attack or how you are a victim of Islamophobia phobic attack to your local police. These two groups in particular Yes, I know it's

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tedious. Yes, I know. It takes a long time. And yes, the fruits of our labor may not be seen in you you may not get the justice that you deserve deserve in this life. And I'm not going to say that's okay. But it's something we have to deal with for the greater good your award with Allah subhanho wa Taala for your patients and helping them with some humanity will be there. But please, please take the time to report to them. That is the only way the rights of Muslims can be advocated for by the nccm and by your local police service. Number three, take time to talk to

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Researchers, one of the biggest complaints that researchers have is that when they look for Muslim community members to talk about their experiences in places like Canada and United States, and in Europe, there aren't people available that will take the time. I know sometimes they want one to three hours of your time. But my dear brothers and sisters, if you can take that time, and perhaps save someone's life in the future, would it not be worth it. So therefore, when we take time to share our experiences, and to share our stories, and to help them get documented in academic research papers, it goes a long way, when governments are trying to develop policy, and they use the

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research of these academics, and they use the research of these academics. Number four, and this is mentioned as number four, not to show that it is the least, but it is usually something that is talked about the most. And that is why put it as point number four. But in reality, it is the most important, continue to seek the help of Allah subhanho wa Taala continue to make dua for your community, for your society, for the country that you live in, for guidance, for protection. And for all, for all say, this is something that we see is something that is often neglected that we do not make enough dough for protection and for guidance for our societies and for the countries that we

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live in. And the Muslim community is a part of that. And the more we make dua for this, then inshallah, the more our communities Stay safe, and the more that our communities are guided, then inshallah less than this guidance is spread through Islamophobia and through other tactics, so it's not to say that is the least important, it is the most important, I just shared it last, because it is something that is often referred to the most it thought I would be under time when they started my presentation. But Alhamdulilah polihale, we were able to cover all of this information. So I know it's a lot of information that I shared. If any of you have any follow up questions, by all means,

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you can hit me up on Twitter, if you're using social media. If you want to email me about this topic, please do email me, you can email me at [email protected] that's nav [email protected]. And we can discuss Islamophobia further, I can share the resources and bounce ideas off of you as well. Last but not least, get involved with the nccm Please, they're always looking for volunteers, and it's a great growing experience as well for yourself and for the Muslim community. I pray that Allah subhanaw taala protects our Muslim community in Canada and the Muslim Ummah all across the globe that Allah subhanaw taala guides us and our non Muslim counterparts that Allah subhana wa tada

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gribbs is the tofield to represent Islam as it truly is, and that Allah subhanho wa Taala makes us of those that live up to the example of the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam in spreading Islam, not only through their statements, but through their actions as well. I mean, what Afro Dhawan and 100 Allahabad mean sallalahu Southern botica in Vienna Mohammed winder earlier he was talking to Jemaine Xochimilco and for your attention or Salaam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh