World Bulletin / News Desk
Islamophobia is becoming a way of changing the relationship between citizens and their governments, according to a leading scholar on the issue.
Salman Sayyid of the University of Leeds told Anadolu Agency that for a long time people thought that Islamophobia only meant mistreatment of Muslim minorities.
“Therefore if you aren’t a Muslim minority, you didn’t really care that much. It didn’t affect anything,” Sayyid said.
“What we are seeing in Europe and North America but I would say throughout the world now is Islamophobia is becoming a means of changing the relationship between citizens and their governments,” he added.
Sayyid is in Istanbul to take part in a three-day conference on Islamophobia at Istanbul’s Sabahattin Zaim University.
A rising wave of Islamophobia has taken hold in Europe, according to a report released this month by Ankara-based Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA).
The European Islamophobia Report (EIR) revealed 908 crimes, ranging from verbal and physical attacks to murder attempts, targeting Muslims in Germany, as well as 664 in Poland, 364 in the Netherlands, 256 in Austria, 121 in France, 56 in Denmark, and 36 in Belgium.
According to Sayyid, Islamophobia no longer affects minorities alone.
“It is actually changing how the state thinks of itself,” he said, citing U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban on Muslims.
“What Trump has done is based on legislation which was already implemented by [his predecessor Barack] Obama,” he said.
Sayyid said that a lot of people are seeing Islamophobia “more like the falling of the masks rather than a new reality.”
“The more kind of worrying aspect is Islamophobia is no longer restricted to where there are Muslim minorities. It is a global discourse, a global phenomenon,” he said.
“So you have countries like for example Angola, where there are hardly any Muslims, trying to close down mosques,” he added.
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