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The Rise of Islamophobia in the Aftermath of Paris Attacks

Islamophobia and its worrying implications in light of the recent terror attacks in Paris.

Updated
World
4 min read
A cartoon published after the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/search?vertical=default&amp;q=%40nxrrydivxs&amp;src=typd">@nxrrydivxs</a>)

Increasingly, Islamophobia has become a popular social response among the angry masses of people, and after the Paris Attacks of 13 November, Muslims in Europe have felt the repercussions of the unprecedented attack. They find themselves cornered and victimised for views they may not have subscribed to and attacks they never participated in, simply because they are Muslims.

The word Islamophobia was introduced in the early ‘90s in connection with the bigotry and fear that Muslims from all over the world have had to face in the UK and US.

The 9/11 attacks had already popularised this unhealthy phenomenon, and the Paris attacks gave it an added impetus. People on social media have been downright vocal about their distrust towards Muslims. However, there were also rare voices of sanity sympathising with the terrifying racism levelled at Muslims.

(Photo: Twitter/@HateHatemuslims)
(Photo: Twitter/@HateHatemuslims)
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(Photo: Twitter/@SovereignGuy)
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Outpouring of Hate Online

A quick search of Facebook and Twitter lead one to hate-groups or messages about Muslims and Islam. Reader discretion advised.

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(Photo: Twitter/@GoBucksMike14)
(Photo: Twitter/@GoBucksMike14)
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Contrary to the notion that Muslims themselves cannot be victims of terrorist attacks, an Iraq Body Count report (a British initiative for passive surveillance) shows that between 2003 and 2011, around 1,08,000 civilians died due to war-related incidents in Iraq alone. In Afghanistan 17,774 civilians died, while 29,971 were left injured between 2009 and 2014 according to a UNAMA report.
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(Photo: Twitter/@Eskuid)
(Photo: Twitter/@Eskuid)
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(Photo: Twitter/@DamienCross66)
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While immigrant Muslims are facing a terrifying backlash in European countries, particularly after the Paris attack, the same Muslims from Iran, Iraq, Syria and other conflicted regions have been fleeing their homelands to escape the atrocities of terror organisations that orchestrated the Paris attacks.

Further, UNHCR’s Global Trends Report: World at War, which was released on June 18, 2015 stated that worldwide displacement is currently at the highest level ever recorded. Around 3.88 million Syrian Muslims found themselves uprooted from their lands and among the refugees at least 51% are children.

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Equally troubling, people in powerful positions, are increasingly strident. An example is US Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s promise to Americans that he would consider shutting down some Mosques and promised to deport every immigrant if he’s elected president. “I would hate to do it, but it’s something that you’re going to have to strongly consider,” Trump told MSNBC in a phone interview.

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Translation: It is essential that France regained control of its borders, permanently.

Leader of the National Front, Marine Le Pen’s concerns about France’s open borders, immigrants and France’s weak security has attracted a lot of people’s attentions after the Paris attacks.

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Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana, USA along with several other people had the same opinion about the issue of immigration.

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The picture is getting increasingly bleak. There’s been an accumulation of anti-Islamic rhetoric in our lives and that I think has triggered these overt acts of violence and vandalism.
Ibrahim Hooper, Spokesperson, Washington DC Council on American-Islamic Relations

Other than simple messages of contempt, there have been several reported instances of physical violence towards Muslims after the Paris attacks.

  • The Omaha Islamic Center in Nebraska reported that someone spray-painted a rough outline of the Eiffel Tower on an outside wall. According to Nasir Husain, general secretary of the centre, Muslims in the central U.S. city are afraid.
  • In a suburb of Austin, Texas, leaders of the Islamic Center of Pflugerville on Monday discovered faeces and torn pages of the Quran that had been thrown at the door of the mosque.
  • An 81-year-old man in London pushed a Muslim woman into an oncoming train at the Piccadilly Circus tube station at 4 pm English time last Tuesday
  • In a suburb of Houston, Texas, authorities on Tuesday arrested a man accused of threatening on social media to “shoot up a mosque.”
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Sympathisers

Blatant Islamophobia has also been seriously questioned and criticised keeping in mind the mental and social trauma of racism. People have been urging those who blame Muslim refugees to reconsider their hatred. A trending tweet reports the story of a Muslim cab driver who broke down because none of his passengers felt comfortable riding in his cab after the ISIS attacks in Paris.

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A woman reports an offensive page on Facebook and criticizes Facebook’s response. (Photo: Twitter/@LaFemmeDeNY)
A woman reports an offensive page on Facebook and criticizes Facebook’s response. (Photo: Twitter/@LaFemmeDeNY)
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The internet has been flooded with posts and tweets and memes that compare Muslims to terrorists as a direct reaction to terror attacks. And this growing dissatisfaction towards the Muslims as a community is treading on dangerous territories. It is radical behaviour that poses a potential threat to the well-being of the dislocated, traumatised Muslim population scattered in the different areas of the world who have managed to escape the clutches of terrorist groups.

(With inputs from AP)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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