Anti-Islamist efforts hampered by ‘Islamophobic’ tag

Anti-Islamist efforts hampered by ‘Islamophobic’ tag

Short Url

It has been more than a week since a British lawmaker was stabbed to death at Belfairs Methodist Church in Essex during one of his regular meetings with constituents.

London’s Metropolitan Police Service last week announced that a 25-year-old UK national of Somali heritage, Ali Harbi Ali, had been charged with murdering Conservative MP Sir David Amess.

The British and global media continue to cover the repercussions of the crime, the attacker’s background and any possible motives. They present the opinions of security officials and experts on how to combat Islamist extremism and how to address such attacks without fear of being accused of being anti-Islam or a promoter of Islamophobia.

Extremist Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary, who in 2016 was sentenced to prison for more than five years for preaching in support of Daesh, attributed Amess’ assassination to his support for the state of Israel. “Many people do believe that it (Israel) is a terrorist state, and who would possibly be a friend of Israel after you see the carnage that they carried out against Muslims in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and continue to do with the appropriation of properties?” Choudary told the Daily Mail.

The deadliest year for Islamist terrorist attacks in England was 2017, when about 40 people died in three separate incidents in London and Manchester. In France, more than 300 people have lost their lives in radical Islamist attacks since 2012. Such recurrent atrocities make it logical to analyze the radical Islamist ideology and prevent it from infiltrating the Western world without infringing on civil liberties, which is the core of the concept of a democracy.

Meanwhile, in the US, the major news networks all moved on at the end of the news cycle, as if Islamist extremism had no presence on American soil and that Europe in general and Britain in particular have to deal with their own local security scares.

Nowadays, when a person discusses the danger of radical Islamism and how Islamists, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, have been infiltrating the US, they are hit with a ready-made accusation of being an Islamophobe — putting all American Muslims in one category and successfully hijacking the voices of the moderate Muslims in the country.

These despicable slurs are led by personalities and organizations that have placed themselves as the guardians of every Muslim in America.

Dalia Al-Aqidi

These despicable efforts are led by personalities and organizations that have placed themselves as the guardians of every Muslim in America, such as progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar and Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who is known for his close ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, aka the Muslim Brotherhood’s “godfather.”

Omar, along with her colleague Rep. Jan Schakowsky, last week introduced legislation aimed at creating a high-level government office to monitor “Islamophobic” US citizens and any anti-Muslim narrative or “bigotry,” as she described it.

According to the lawmaker’s office, the bill requires the State Department to create a special envoy for monitoring and combating Islamophobia, including state-sponsored Islamophobic violence and impunity in the department’s annual human rights reports. It is claimed the creation of the special envoy role would help policymakers better understand the interconnected, global problem of anti-Muslim bigotry. It would also establish a comprehensive strategy for establishing US leadership in combating Islamophobia worldwide.

“We are seeing a rise in Islamophobia in nearly every corner of the globe. In my home state of Minnesota, vandals spray-painted hate messages and a Nazi swastika on and near the Moorhead Fargo Islamic Center. These types of incidents are all too common for Muslims in the United States and beyond. As part of our commitment to international religious freedom and human rights, we must recognize Islamophobia and do all we can to eradicate it. That’s why I’m proud to partner with Rep. Jan Schakowsky to create a special envoy to put an end to this bigotry,” Omar said.

To make the charade perfect, Awad hurried to welcome the introduction of the Combating International Islamophobia Act, urging the Biden administration to act promptly and support the efforts. “While global Islamophobia, anti-Muslim state policies, and hate incidents have increased for the past two decades, the American Muslim community has consistently called for the creation of a special envoy position to monitor and combat this rising tide of hate,” he said in a statement.

This position could be the price for grooming Omar for public office in Minnesota. After all, who would be more fit to fill the position than Awad himself? It is worth mentioning that neither Omar nor Awad condemned the terrorist attack that took the life of the British lawmaker.

However, if such an office were to be created, I as a secular Muslim author should find a new country to live in if I want to continue my efforts to combat radical Islamism and fix the damage caused by our Islamist politicians.

• Dalia Al-Aqidi is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy. Twitter: @DaliaAlAqidi

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point-of-view