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Islamophobia? How about morbid fear of Islam?

Reader comment on item: Islamophobia?

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Apr 9, 2016 at 17:04

Dear Dr Pipes,

Some times we, the people, collectively miss the entire point. While looking for trees -- as they say-- we miss the entire forest. Take the case of Islamophobia. We wonder is Islamophobia real or unreal? Is it justified or unjustified? Should it be there or not be there? While we discuss merits or demerits of Islamophobia we completely and strangely miss the morbid fear of Islam that is as prevalent in the world as air or water. I will cite many examples but let me begin with the first.

India has a strange relationship with one of its states. Jammu and Kashmir is a Muslim majority state in a diverse India. A strange article in the Indian constitution guarantees that no non-Kashmiri Indian can buy property in Kashmir. So it will be illegal if I, as an Indian, go to Kashmir and build a small hut or a big villa for myself. But in this day and age, who cares for articles of constitution. Latin American illegal immigrants routinely enter United States and become undocumented residents. Bangladeshi Muslims come and work in India with just about as little inconvenience as a resident of Pennsylvania will bear in moving to Ohio. And, of course, our Syrian friends enter Europe as refugees or migrants with sufficient support. The bottom line that we all know is that articles of laws miserably fail in stopping movement of people. But --here is the dense forest that we miss-- not one Indian -- Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist or otherwise-- goes and settles in Kashmir. There are no slums, no shantytowns, no 'low-income neighborhoods', no nothing where "illegal" Indians will go and settle in Kashmir. One weird article of Indian constitution somehow protects the territorial integrity of the state of Jammu & Kashmir as if that border is a wall of molten lava. No sane Indian will go to J&K to work, settle, or entertain. Syrians ca cross into Europe but Indians cannot cross into India. Such is the fear of Islamic "freedom fighters of Kashmir" that no one wants to mess with them. And, millions of native Hindus of Kashmir, have left the state for where ever than can find a home.

I do not think India is alone. Are there regions of Israel and/or or Palestine where non-Muslims will rather not venture? How about the no-go zones in Europe, where even Police does not dare to go?

And, the fear of Islam does not stop just there. Have we not all criticized the Hindu caste system, hegemony of Christian church, or the evangelicals at some time or the other? Don't half of us make a living by criticizing the Jews and Israel? But who can criticize the Quran? Who can question that painting the prophet (for either a good or bad reason) ought to be harmless? Who can say that in the modern times all theocracies including Islamic make no sense? Who among us has objectively discussed Islam with a Muslim friend and has not lost a friend?

Such are the contradictions of our times. We wonder if Islamophobia exists but do not notice the morbid fear of Islam that surrounds us all continuously.


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