by Khadijah Ali (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 50, No. 12, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1443)
Gun shots fired at a mosque in the central German city of Halle on January 24 revived horrific memories of the terrorist attacks on the Quebec City Mosque on January 29, 2017 and on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15, 2019. The Quebec City mosque attack left six dead and 19 injured while in Christchurch 51 people were murdered and 40 injured.
The mosque attack in Germany once again brought to the fore the risks that Muslims face in the West. German police arrested a 55-year-old man for firing three shots at the mosque. This, however, was not an isolated incident. Islamophobic attacks have escalated alarmingly throughout Europe and North America. It would be simplistic to assume that only right-wing zealots are to blame. Many politicians also actively promote Islamophobia.
There was swift condemnation from the Central Council of Muslims, a leading Islamic organization in Germany, of the mosque attack in Halle. “Thankfully nobody was injured. Police are still investigating and interrogating. Anti-Muslim hatred and racism are not just in words,” it said in a statement on January 24, noting that the mosque had faced similar attacks in the past.
The German attack occurred a day after the British Sunday Times reported that Nusrat Ghani, a member of the ruling Conservative Party, was sacked as deputy transport minister in 2020. She told the Sunday paper that a whip said her “Muslimness was raised as an issue” at a meeting in Downing Street. She was also told her “Muslim woman minister status was making colleagues feel uncomfortable.” Imagine!
British cabinet ministers are emboldened to indulge in such blatant Islamophobia because Prime Minister Boris Johnson has in the past uttered equally racist remarks. He referred to Muslim women in niqab as “letterboxes” and looking like “bank robbers” in a Daily Telegraph column he wrote in May 2018. When an inquiry led by British lawyer and professor Swaran Singh into racism and Islamophobia found Johnson had indulged in racism against Muslims, the British prime minister offered a tepid defence without retracting his offensive remarks. “Would I use some of the offending language from my past writings today? Now that I am Prime Minister, I would not,” according to Professor Singh’s critical report into the Conservative Party conduct.
Professor Singh found that the party had not been active enough in challenging discrimination, its complaints procedure needed to be overhauled and its sanctions system for those who breached the rules was unclear. “Judging by the extent of complaints and findings of misconduct by the Party itself that relate to anti-Muslim words and conduct, anti-Muslim sentiment remains a problem within the Party,” the report’s conclusions said.
Germany and Britain are not the only Islamophobes and hate-peddlers in Europe. There has been a steady surge of hate crimes against Muslims in France, Austria and even Switzerland, whose banks welcome stolen loot from Third World countries, no questions asked. Switzerland has banned minarets on mosques. What possible threat do minarets pose to the Swiss, or is it because Muslims do not consume enough Swiss cheese?
In Germany, at least 1,026 crimes against Muslims were recorded in 2020, compared to 950 in 2019, and 910 in 2018, the TRT World said in an Instagram post. In a report published on December 30, 2021, the TRT World cited a new report on Islamophobia in Europe. Titled ‘Islamophobia report’, it warned that hate crimes against Muslims in the continent have “worsened, if not reached a tipping point,” over the last two years.
It is in France that the government has launched a frontal assault on Islam, Islamic associations and imams. In February 2021, the French Assembly passed the ‘Separatism Bill’ that gives the state vast powers to shut down any mosque, ban any organization or suspend any imam for a variety of alleged activities.
At least 17 mosques have been shut down under the new law that Amnesty International said in a statement had “many problematic provisions”. The latest shut down of a mosque occurred on December 28, 2021 after surveillance by security agencies. This is happening in a country whose national motto is Liberté, égalité, fraternité (liberty, equality, fraternity).
The notions of liberty, equality and fraternity clearly do not extend to Muslims. They face discrimination in education, employment and housing. As a consequence, their job prospects are considerably reduced. Thus, the vast majority of Muslims are forced to live in the most rundown areas of France.
While Muslims as a community are targeted generally, Muslim girls and their headscarf are targeted specifically. In April 2021, the French regime passed a law banning girls from wearing the hijab before the age of 18. This prompted a Twitter retort:
“Age to consent to sex in France: 15 Age to consent to hijab: 18 Let that sink in. It isn’t a law against the hijab. It’s a law against Islam. #Handsoffmyhijab #FranceHijabBan.”
What is the reason for the latest Western crusade against its own Muslim citizens? The flood of refugees, the vast majority being Muslims, has been cited as one reason but the refugee problem is a recent phenomenon. There are two other reasons: first, the refusal of most Muslims to accept the West’s hedonistic culture in which sex plays a very large part. Second, Western militaries are involved in wars against Muslim countries—Afghanistan (just ended), Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Mali and Iran.
In order to justify these illegal and vicious wars on Muslim-majority countries, Muslim citizens at home must be demonized. After all, if the vast majority of citizens of France, Germany, Britain, Austria etc., see their fellow Muslim citizens as law-abiding, the regimes would find it difficult to justify their wars.
This is the new crusade based on exactly the same false allegations on which the first crusades were launched. They are likely to end up with the same disastrous consequences.