Unfortunately at a time in our world’s evolution when globalization is forcing our cultures together in new and intense ways, the xenophobia of the west seems to be reaching new heights. I am referring to the mass hysteria and paranoia over Islam and Muslims that is now permeating our social structures. Notably the reawakening and reimagining of McCarthyism by Peter King in America, the creation of anti Islam militias in Europe and even debates over the banning of minarets and sharia law all over the world, among hundreds of other examples. Islam now comes under massive scrutiny, and is accused of a wide range of things; from consisting of up to 10% terrorists, being a political ideology instead of a religion, and even inspiring and validating terrorism. What’s more, thanks to heavy pressure from the media, Muslims have now been all but evicted from our collective identities, and must actively work to simply gain our trust and acceptance.
Normally I would counteract such claims by simply pointing out that essentially anything that Islam can be accused of, Christianity is also guilty of (or is even currently still doing). However the problem has gone beyond the point of simply being fixed by pointing out hypocrisy. Islam now holds a place that only Communism has held in modern memory, that of the world’s bogeyman. The only way to fix such a problem is through more moderate discourse and thinking. People need to start believing again that moderate Muslims exist. People need to realize that converting to Islam does not require the abandonment of conscience or morals, and that any idea can be perverted by radicals, especially one where the vast majority of proponents are un/undereducated or have no public voice. People must realize that the Koran – like the bible – is not read literally by moderate Muslims. Moderate Muslims are as likely to stone a person to death, as a moderate Christian is to kill someone for working on the Sabbath. For too long has the argument over whether Islam is good or evil hung on the balance of what is written in its Holy Book or what its most vocal (usually fanatical) proponents say. Instead we should look to the way moderate Muslims act. Perhaps the reason we don’t do so, is precisely because they do act moderate. They fly under the radar, they are exactly like you and me.