How best to fight Islamophobia

How best to fight Islamophobia

About seven years after the Danish cartoon crisis, Turkey’s top Muslim cleric, Mehmet Görmez, is visiting the “infidel land of blasphemy” soon. In official language, Mr. Görmez, head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, is going to Denmark to “cooperate against Islamophobia and call for (interfaith) dialogue.” Good.

Denmark is the country where the native cartoonist Kurt Westergaard lives under police protection because he drew “blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.” He thus contributed to global warming, as he provoked thousands of Muslims to set fire to anything in sight deemed “infidel.” Few Muslims chose to simply disapprove and ignore, which is how the Koran tells them to confront blasphemy. 

Less than a month before Mr. Görmez exchanges all sorts of pleasantries with his Danish hosts and utters all sorts of nice words on fighting Islamophobia and interfaith dialogue, an Islamist extremist committed an act of terrorism in the name of Islam when he killed two Jewish boys, their father and another Jewish child in France.

More recently, Suryadharma Ali, the religious affairs minister of the world’s most populous Muslim country, Indonesia, proposed making miniskirts a porn crime. Before that, Indonesia’s House of Representatives speaker, Marzuki Alie, suggested that women who wore miniskirts could encourage men to rape them. He said: “[Rape and other immoral acts] happened because women don’t dress decently, prompting men to do things.”

Such is the background against which Mr. Görmez and his Danish partners will fight Islamophobia. A 21st century in which fanatic adherents of a faith kill minor adherents of another faith because the minors belong to that faith; in which state dignitaries blame rape on women’s attire. I am sure the Indonesian statesmen also think it was the fault of the Jewish children that they were killed. Simple: had they not been Jewish they would not have been killed. So the best way to prevent rape and murder is to ban miniskirts and Judaism.

Muslims should sit down and ponder why is there no such need to fight “Hinduism-phobia” or “Shintoism-phobia.” 

Mr. Görmez, you are a man of wisdom and knowledge, no doubt. I am sure you will have a nice time in Denmark. But you did not have to waste your precious time by going all the way to Denmark to fight Islamophobia. Your most strategic partners in the fight against Islamophobia are not the Christians, but your fellow Muslims. 

If Muslims stopped killing other Muslims because they belong to a different sect; stopped forcing their chosen practices on other Muslims; tolerated less pious Muslims; did not feel enraged if other Muslims did not abstain from alcohol or pork, or did not attend the mosque; did not kill men, women and children because they adhered to other faiths; did not blame rape on the length of a woman’s skirt; did not murder their own wives because they spoke to strangers, or their daughters because they flirted with boys or because they were raped by rascals; did not wish to start the World War III because some maverick cartoonist drew blasphemous caricatures; did not issue death fatwas because an author wrote a blasphemous book; or did not aim to spread their religion to the entire world, by the sword if necessary, then fighting Islamophobia would be much easier.

Mr. Görmez, since you are visiting Denmark with the purpose of fighting Islamophobia, perhaps you can do a great service for your objective. Denmark is a small country, and Arhus is not too far away from Copenhagen. So, Mr. Görmez, you can always go to Arhus and visit Mr. Westergaard and start your interfaith dialogue. I am sure Mr. Westergaard and his heavy police protection would welcome you. 

That would be the real fight against Islamophobia, and a perfect example of interfaith dialogue. But can you do it, Mr. Görmez?

Turkey, islam, islamophobia