Today when we hear the word ‘terrorism’ we think of Muslims, when we hear the word ‘Muslims’ we think of terrorism. People are assuming things that are not genuine enough and give unworthy opinions.
Terrorism comes from the word ‘terror’ which means ‘beyond fear’ or ‘extreme fear’. It doesn’t have any relationship with Islam. Islam propagates things to avoid terror, not to be a part of it. Due to the influence of terrorism, the Muslim culture and society have changed a lot. Their opinions have changed. Islam is not spread through violence or any kind of military means. Countries like Nigeria and Ghana have Muslim population not because they were forced to follow Islam as religion, but it happened because of the traders who went there and won the hearts of the dwellers of Nigeria and Ghana and people of that place liked the culture and accepted it.
Post 9/11, a Canadian author went on a book tour in the US to promote his novel. He was stopped at every American airport, so that authorities could verify that he was not linked to Al-Qaeda or another terrorist group. The Problem? He was wearing a beard as Muslims do to emulate Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). What is interesting is that the author was Rohinton Mistry and he was not even Muslim, but a Zoroastrain. He was held back at every airport because he looked suspicious or more specifically his appearance matched the characteristic of a typical Islamic terrorist. The main focus is that if the appearance of a person is more or less like of Muslim i.e. having a beard, wearing a qurta or a cap then he draws suspicion and have characteristics, which gives an impression of a terrorist. This outfit has also been stereotype.
If we take the example of the movie ‘My name is Khan’, we see that, if a person is somehow related to a Muslim or deals with Arabic-Islamic countries then he is a suspect terrorist. In the movie, Rizwan Khan(Shahrukh Khan), was held back at airport because his name was Khan.In the aftermath of the devastating tragedy of 9/11, the life of the protagonist is completely metamorphasized. His own family rejected him because he was a Muslim, and the thinking of his wife, Mandira Khan (Kajol), was absolutely radical. She blamed the death of her son on Rizwan and because he was a Muslim. The whole story took a different turn and it was the Muslim who was blamed and was the culprit of all the happenings. Even when he (Rizwan) wanted to donate money to see the President of United States, he failed. He was restricted from attending the charity because he was Muslim and the reason they got was that it was a Christian event. Because of the identity of Muslim, he was opposed to attend it. The image of Muslim is always being distorted and presented in a negative manner.
Another movie ‘Kurbaan’ directed by Rensil D’Sliva shows the Islamphobic stereotypes and again Muslim as leading the main role i.e. terrorist. It has become the prominent figure.
After 9/11 attack on US, the American Muslims are living with fear and they are hiding from the world. The growth of stereotypes impression against the Muslims world has increased much more after this dreadful 9/11 attack. People cut their beards, so that they can’t be judged as a Muslim and can’t get into kind of trouble. Muslims try to restrict themselves to their own community and because of the fear they try to avoid others. The trouble face by women living in US is very critical. A woman who wears hijab, which is traditional head-covering, is often taunted at work and on the street and the careers of these women are actually jeopardized- they are discriminated against at work and they are not given jobs. Again taking the example of movie ‘My name is Khan’ where the director, Karan Johar, tried to show how the life of Muslim woman gets jeopardized easily after 9/11 incident. Zakir Khan’s (Jimmy Shergill) wife, Haseena khan (Soniya Jehan), became the target after 9/11 attack. She became the case of eve-teasing and had to face trouble at work place. Women who wear hijab in the US are the obvious targets- they’re obviously Muslims, and because of that they face sexual harassment, and often their physical safety is jeopardized. Due to the trouble faced by Haseena, the response of her husband, Zakir, was typical. She was asked to leave hijab at home, so that no one would recognize her as a Muslim and there will be no bad consequences.
In today’s world, the main target is Muslim. This statement is quite hard to say, but there are facts that support this. They happen to be in news most of the time.
If we take the, moves like ‘Khuda kay Liye’, ‘Kurbaan’, or ‘A Wednesday’, we see terrorism and terrorists are involved. And yes, the terrorists are Muslim. Whenever there is need to portray terrorist, Muslim character is used. Zahir, Ikhlaq in ‘A Wednesday’ or Ehsaan Khan in ‘Kurbaan’, they show Muslim characters to depict the terrorists.
Muslims who are more or less deprived of opportunities get more irrelevant and angry. They get two options; they either go against the norms and protocols of Islam or they become too rigid about it. To achieve what they don’t have, makes them take a wrong path and that leads to further problem. Today when we see a young terrorist who blames himself to be a Muslim and fighting for Islam is totally irrelevant and absurd. E.g. Ajmal Kasab. They really don’t know what they’re doing. Majority of people who are followers of Islam don’t know what Islam is, what it is about and what is that it wants to spread.
Younger people who follow the path of terrorism just by thinking it is for Islam or Jihad, but the word Jihad has different meaning. They don’t know the cultural values and think totally opposite of the topic. They don’t know true Islam. Youngsters of Moderns Islam are changing and are being radical. They are following that is not important. They are ignoring the facts and trying to achieve something different than they’re taught. There are reasons which are affecting the thinking of youngsters. If the education they are getting is incomplete and biased then it will create huge problems and there are number of things that have changed the view of youngsters. Taking the example of the movie ‘Khuda kay liye’, where a cleric with radical ideas tried to change the mentality and opinions. The cleric taught the protagonist that in Islam there is no place for music. He taught him that music destroys the one who listen it. He further explained to the him that to win the hearts of Muslim and to do be a better Muslim, he needs to do some virtuous deeds and those virtuous deeds were blowing up public places, destroying the beauties of the world and creating a mess. This is how the wrong preaching changes the whole vista and affects the community and culture.
Rensil D’Sliva, director of the movie ‘Kurbaan’ said in an interview, “alignment of terrorism with Islam remains unchanged” which is extremely problematic and offensive.
The cultural trends have changed. People (Muslim) have changed their perspectives. Their views are radical and different. There are faults in every religion and everyone commits mistake once in a while, but is not true a fair to blame the whole group or society for what one person has done. Due to the emergence of terrorism, the society is not longer the same. It has impacted the society and changed the views and opinions.
The London mayor human rights advisor, Yasmin Qureshi, said that “As we wouldn’t say the Jewish people they shouldn’t’ wear the skull cap or tell the Christian to hide their crosses or Sikhs to take off their turbans, so a Muslim woman has the right to wear the hijab and this right should be defended”
Every culture should be propagated. People should understand each others culture and make and prosper into a healthy society.