New narrative needed to counter Islamophobia by Yasmeen Aftab Ali

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Four members of a family were killed in Ontario recently. Their attacker hit them with a pick-up truck. It has been declared a targeted killing. It is “[b]ased on information collected during the course of the investigation, we believe that this was an intentional act,” London Police Chief Steve Williams told the media. “We believe the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith.”

Asena Karipek, in her article, ‘Portrayals of Jihad: A Cause of Islamophobia’, puts forward her theory that “a popular explanation that every American who watches the news probably knows is jihad. Jihad has come to be perceived as ‘holy war’ in American media”. Jihad is largely misunderstood and misrepresentation by certain groups of the very notion of Islam, coupled with taking certain verses from The Holy Quran and Hadiths out of context, has led to a complete misunderstanding of the religion by those who are not Muslims, generally speaking. Instead of targeting the miscreants, this has led to targeting those who follow this faith. Misconceptions about Islam are mainly rooted in skewed perceptions based on lack of study of the religion first-hand.

Looking at Indonesia, the first Bali bomb on October 12, 2002, leading to deaths of 202 citizens including foreigners, terrorism issues started rising. A number of incidents added fuel to fire, holding the religion culprit, not the miscreants twisting the religious beliefs. These included bombing of JW Marriot Hotel in 2003, JW Marriot II and Ritz Carlton (2009), Jimbaran/Bali II (2005) and Sarina (2016) among others. The stage was set for Islamophobia.

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Disclaimer: New narrative needed to counter Islamophobia by Yasmeen Aftab Ali - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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