JNN 11 Nov 2014 New York : As militants of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) commit atrocities in Iraq and Syria, the number of Islamophobic attacks have been increasing across the US and Europe, putting Muslim communities in post 9/11 stigmatization.
“‘Are you one of those people who are beheading people over there?’” Zainab Chaudry recalled the question directed to her by a man loitering outside a grocery store, the Daily News reported.
“He said, ‘You need to go back to where you came from, because you’re not welcome here.’”
The 32-year-old Muslim woman has been confronted by the man who followed her to the car, insulting and asking her to go back to her country.
The racial attack against Chaudry has given an example to surging anti-Muslim discrimination in America.
“I never really was very conscious of my Muslim identity in a negative way as I was after 9/11, but even more so after ISIS and the beheadings,” Chaudry said, using another acronym for ISIL.
Similar anti-Muslim sentiments are also brewing Europe.
“You have lots of Americans who, like Europeans, now see Islam as not a religion — it is simply a terrorist ideology,” said Jocelyne Cesari, senior research fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs at Georgetown University.
But the anti-Muslim sentiment in the US is “not as common or intense as what’s happening in Europe,” Cesari told The News.
Despite European Muslims’ effort to combat Islamophobia through showing the true-face of their faith, the situation has been getting worse in some countries, forcing young Muslims to think about departure.
For many Muslims, European media is the most blamed for the negative image of Muslims who used to live peacefully in the continent for decades.
Concerns about a rise in Islamophobia and racism have been high recently, amid unprecedented escalation of arson attacks targeting German mosques.
Last month, an anti-Salafists rally in German western city of Cologne turned violent after new-Nazis and hooligans attacked police forces cordoning the protest which left thirteen police officers injured and many arrested.
In the Netherlands, four suspects attempted to attack a mosque run by Turks in June, but the Muslim community prevented the attack.
Racist and Islamophobic attacks have also targeted mosques in Denmark and the UK, although there were no casualties.
Being absent during 9/11 era, social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have helped in spreading anti-Muslim sentiment across Europe and America.
“The use of social media has grown exponentially in recent years,” said Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
“Even post-9/11, it wasn’t really there. But nowadays, everybody uses social media.
“When you have this constant stream of anti-Muslim polemics and false information, it has a corrosive effect on our society.”
US Muslims, estimated at between seven to eight million, have been sensing hostility since 9/11 attacks.
Anti-Muslim sentiments have reached an all-time high after the rise of ISIL.
Facing growing attacks on Muslims, CAIR has launched a new website, Islamophobia.org, to monitor and challenge the growing anti-Muslim bigotry.
On Tuesday, November 4, at least five shots targeted the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley, sending a shockwave among the valley’s Muslim community.
Last September, CAIR published “Know Your Rights and Responsibilities” pocket guide that tells American Muslims to report any actual knowledge of criminal activity without being asked by law enforcement authorities.
According to a report by CAIR and the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender, Islamophobia has been on the rise in the US.
Exhausted of being apologetic for ISIL atrocities, US Muslims are bearing the brunt of the militant group crimes despite their frequent condemnations of ISIL.
“They are barbaric,” Chaudry, who also works for CAIR, said.
“There’s nothing Muslim about ISIS. In actuality, the vast majority of their victims are Muslims.
“The kinds of atrocities they’re engaged in in no way reflects the true ideals of Islam.”
Netherland Mosques Attacked
Reflecting a worrying anti-Muslim trend in the Netherlands, a recent research on anti-Muslim violence in the European country has found that approximately 69% of mosques have experienced at least one attack or more during the last ten years.
“I cannot predict a significant growth or decline of attacks against mosques for the near future,” researcher Ineke van der Valk, the author of the book ‘Islamophobia and Discrimination’, told OnIslam.net.
“Many of these attacks appear to be a response to national or international events (like terrorist attacks) and obviously those cannot be predicted by me.”
Focusing on the amount and characteristics of attacks on mosques, the Muslims’ houses of worship, the research closely monitor trends and development in relation to multiculturalism and Islamophobia for many years.
According to the research, the Netherlands has approximately 450-475 buildings that are in use as a mosque.
It lists information of over 70 mosques in the country, indicating that approximately 69% of those mosques had experienced at least one attack or more during the last ten years.
The most common attacks were smashed windows, followed by slurs or anti-Islamic comments sprayed with graffiti and arson.
Other types of attacks include aggression against mosque personnel, amounting to death threats to Muslims in general or to a specific Mosque by email or phone.
For example, a Rotterdam-based mosque received various letters with content like ‘Death to all Muslims’. Other mosques received envelopes containing pornographic content or messages that contain blasphemy.
Other anti-mosque attacks included putting head or different other body parts or blood of either pigs or sheep at the buildings or on the terrain surrounding it.
Released in 2012, Van der Valk’s book, Islamophobia and Discrimination, has since been translated to English, French, German and Italian.
Muslims make up one million of the Netherlands’s 16 million population, mostly from Turkish and Moroccan origin.