Quote: Is Europe Islamophobic

Quote: Is Europe Islamophobic

The murder and its fallout are indeed disturbing. Three days after the event, the only major western news source that carried reports of the incident was the Associated Press – leaving Egyptian bloggers to carry the torch. Crimes perpetrated by Muslims, and the sensationalist coverage of them, undeniably contributed to a creeping normalisation of language and discourse that may spill over into xenophobic incidents where Islamophobia serves as a vehicle for racism. When some moral/economic/social panic button is pushed, people are looking for someone to blame and, as the European Muslim Union noted, "Muslims are sometimes seen as a viable option".

However, it's a big step from that to the image of comprehensive, conspiratorial, institutional discrimination against Muslims in Europe that is gaining ground in Arab countries and spurring calls for the severance of diplomatic relations and boycotting of products. Muslims (me included) constantly protest that the actions of a few extremists should not be allowed to denigrate Islam and its adherents as a whole – but this is exactly what they are doing themselves in connection with Europeans and the actions of Axel W.

The irony of the outrage against Marwa al-Sherbini is that the assailant was in court appealing against a fine of 750 euros for insulting her in 2008. The authorities were clearly not complacent about the incident and it the court's earlier verdict that provoked the attacker's wrath last week. Despite Marwa's hijab and religion, she was empowered enough to bring a case against Axel W and received official support in doing so, but this has generally been overlooked amidst all the indignation in the Arab countries.

Nesrine Malik in the Guardian: Is Europe really Islamophobic?

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