Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Hatred! Who Wants to Face It? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Muslim Americans stand together against hate crimes

It is very difficult to stand in the face of the growing hatred against Arabs and Muslims around the world since no government or party contemplates tackling this issue directly despite the damage inflicted on Arabs and Muslims, including governments and groups.

What about popular and official Islamic organizations?

They do not take up the challenge because they follow multiple governments or are in a situation that may not allow them to do so. So is the case with the non-governmental organizations that neither implement awareness projects nor confront racism.

The problem is similar to those African descendants and Latinos are facing in the United States.

Some NGOs might be striving to defend their cases and rights and encourage them to pay more attention to the legal political work in order to serve their communities and express their needs; however, these efforts go in vain.

As for the Jews in the West, and specifically in the United States, and despite their small number, their awareness on the importance of teamwork is really progressive. Israel considers itself a partner that is responsible for defending their rights and in return some of them defend Israel’s needs.

Yet, in the face of the growing hatred towards Arabs and Muslims, only few are those who work to confront haters with limited and provisional legal support using media and with no a position to deal with it on a larger scale. The situation may become more difficult due to the presence of defective associations and centers, especially Islamic ones that are engaged in political acts. For instance, organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood is not only seen with suspicion in the West, but is also rejected by a number of Islamic governments.

Hatred against Arabs and Muslims arises from the acts of terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaeda and ISIS. It is the outcome of a long series of acts attributed to Arabs and Muslims, who believe in extremist ideology and express their stances through the media and social networking websites.

Furthermore, there are no institutions that reject extremism and respond to organizations and individuals who promote hate speech against Arabs and Muslims

Due to the lack of political and general awareness, it is common for verbal confrontation and intellectual debate to widen between extremists from both sides.

The victims of these divisions are usually peaceful Arabs and Muslims who believe in coexistence and respect.

In addition, the resulting damage does not only lie in distorting the images or mere public insulting for the Arabs and Muslims, but also in harming the governments, individuals, tourism and tourists, exports, political stances, students, and public relations in general.

We can see how violence is increasing in Europe and the United States. I do not know much about the size of the damage done to the image and reputation of Arabs and Muslims in countries such as South Korea, China, Japan, and South America, but I can imagine that the situation is similar because the problem is still prevalent and the wide reach of social networking means it can reach almost each and every house.

This is the major problem and solving it wouldn’t be easy unless specific initiatives are taken by governments and institutions to work on embellishing the Arabs and Muslims’ reputation abroad. This also includes Arabs and Muslims in Western countries who can play a positive role in enhancing bilateral and multilateral relations on issues of mutual concern.

Work can be focused first on the Arabs and Muslims living in Europe then on those living in the United States and the other countries. Efforts should be exerted to raise their awareness regarding the importance of co-existence and respect for different cultures and to cooperate with them in order to end extremism.

Then, the focus can shift toward spreading the true image of Islam that has given birth to a wonderful ancient civilization known for its tolerant ideology, diverse cultures, architecture, arts and sciences.