There is a strong need to improve perception about Muslims across the globe as Islamophobia is making lives of the followers of Islam difficult.
People need to unitedly stamp out rising chauvinism, white supremacism, xenophobia and bigotry in the world. Muslims in Europe are specially the victims of Islamophobia. Islam is the second largest religion in Europe. It roots back its existence in the continent since 7th century when the religion expanded through Persia conquests in Eastern Europe. According to the Pew Research Centre, the total number of Muslims in Europe (excluding Turkey) in 2010 was about 44 million (six percent of the population), including 19 million (3.8 percent of the population) in the European Union. The number has grown since recent migration from predominantly Muslim countries and higher fertility rate among Muslims. The PEW Forum has projected that the population of Muslims will climb to 14 percent in Europe by 2050. The Muslim population is often targeted in intense debate and discussion for their dress and culture. Since 9/11 and the the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)’s invasion of Muslim countries led by the United States, whenever there is a terrorist incident Muslims are always linked to it in a most detestable manner possible. New terminologies are concocted to smear the religion and its devotees.
In March 2004, several bombs hit passenger trains in Madrid, Spain, leaving over 190 dead and about 2,000 injured. This mishap was the first terrorist attack among many others in recent years. The others took place in London, Paris, Brussels, Nice, Manchester, Barcelona and Berlin, but in every attack Muslims also lost lives. Since these attacks were claimed to be carried out in the name of Islam, so all the Muslims were victimized and ostracized.
Al Jazeera reported Spanish Muslim Mohamed Azahaf as saying that prior to the Madrid blasts, they were singled out for different religion and food and after the tragic incident they would be labelled as terrorists.
A French-Moroccan writer and daughter of one victim of the 2016 Nice truck attack, Hanane Charrihi said her mother was wearing hijab when the attack took place which clearly indicated that the terrorists had no regard for religion. Talking to Al Jazeera, she said, “…the difference between the van driver and my mother (is) … One was a true Muslim and the other talked about Islam, but that’s not it.”
Charrihi said she did not see her religion and the country at odds. She said both were part of her identity.
In a statement in March the following year, Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry had said the unceasing use of the term Islamic terrorism had created Islamophobia in Europe. He had said that no religion could be linked with terrorism but Europe blundered by affiliating terrorism with Muslims.
Talking to Radio Pakistan following the Christchurch attack, Dr Huma Baqai had said the West had failed to curb Islamophobia. White supremacists were propagating racism all over, which should be stopped, she added. She highlighted biasness of Western media saying that it often termed violent acts committed by white as an act of violence only while if it was committed by a Muslim it was an act of terrorism.
Muslims of Europe were a victim from both sides — they were target of violent attacks and people would also blame them for all the wrong.