Muslim Community Organizations’ Perceptions of Islamophobia: Towards an Informed Countering Response
2. Islamophobia: Australia and MCOs Agency
3. Theoretical Approach
5. Anti-Muslim Racism: Racialization of Muslims and the Problematizing Discourse
“So, we try to present ourselves as decent, civilized individuals who shared the same hopes and aspirations as you do, to our Christian friends, and we want the same for this country as you do because we embrace this country as much as you. This was our way of trying to help. Firstly, calm them down to think that there was no threat coming from us. Secondly, we are in the same boat as them. We are also concerned about the current and future well-being of this nation and its general population irrespective of what faith, ethnicity, color. And that we are also working to build this nation so that it’s more advanced, more inclusive and socially cohesive. All those buzz words that people are talking about”.
6. A Disruption to an Idealistic Multicultural Context
“The government only sees us through the lens of security. Every interaction the government has with Muslim organizations, the Muslim community now is filtered through a CVE lens. So even programs which are purely social programs are funded out of CVE funding. That is not a good thing. As a community we should not accept it. Why should we only be seen from a security perspective?”
“It’s not my responsibility to make it run nice for Muslims. It’s my government’s responsibility, whom I pay taxes, to keep me safe…. I don’t think it’s the organization’s responsibility to do it. I think it’s the responsibility of the state to stop propping up institutions that feed it, to stop giving license and legitimacy to racist and right-wing Islamophobes, politicians, pundits, business leaders, enterprises, media. As long as they feed the beast, that creates the problem. Take away the funding for the support and legitimacy of the beast; we don’t have a problem. We will still never have 100% harmony, but you won’t have the extent of division that we have now”.
“We are the minority, but we have the full rights. Yes, we came from whatever background, but we are fully Australian citizens. No less no more... In front of the law, we are equal, and this is what’s important”.
7. Imposed Positional Practices: Obligations, Restrictions and Assigned Narratives
“You should want to be a fully participating member of the Australian society. And you have as much right to call for change as anybody else. No one should take that right away from you…. It [Islamophobia] seeks to take that right away from Muslims to actually advocate for certain positions, and it marginalizes Islam and Muslims and it seeks to erase the identity of Islam and Muslims. And that’s one of the reasons it’s really, really damaging”.
“Somebody is attacking in Indonesia, then we have to justify. Somebody is attacking a church, that is beyond our control! The Muslim community is asked to defend… every other day there is a major article against Islam in this country, and we are asked to respond to everything. Every other day”.
“If we don’t invite these people, these people will think that we are closed, that we have something to hide. But we don’t have anything to hide. We are open to everyone, even to people who are afraid of us as Muslims”.
“Rarely will you find a Muslim organization making a public statement about some action of a Muslim majority government. Because we feel so under siege, we don’t want to add to that…. If you look at the way the Muslim community is being attacked through media, through the right-wing politics…. There are so many people who are just looking to attack the community. So, there is a reluctance to add fuel to that fire.”
“You’ve got the establishment that paints the strokes and dictates the scripts that we all have to follow. When you step outside the script and you question who wrote it, people feel very uncomfortable. Because they always like to be in control of how I behave and how I speak and how I fit into society…. We have so much capacity as an organization, as a community. We have so much capacity as a community and what we do. We’re artistic. We’re entrepreneurial. We’re successful. We’re high achievers. We work hard. I guess we have problems, as well. But we’re only ever sought out for our opinion after a crisis”.
“Why do you think they labelled us a terrorist sympathizer, and this sort of stuff? Because people are uncomfortable with that shift in what they consider to be mainstream organizations that are meant to toe the line, that are meant to build bridges”.
8. Islamophobia Embedded within the System: White Privilege
“The Western society, this country particularly is built on a racist foundation from day one. It has, from the very beginning, always, sought to create an ‘other’ that it could then define its identity around. ‘They are the bad guys, they are the barbarians’ and they started with the indigenous communities. It’s continued right through. Because of global issues, we are now the ‘other’ and that’s what it is… it’s the same phenomenon. It’s this idea that white culture is somehow inherently better than other cultures. This is myopic. This is a tunnel vision where there is a complete refusal to acknowledge history and the role colonialism had, and imperialism had”.
“Islamophobia in Australia is not just in Australia. It is part of thoroughly globalized processes that incorporate this nation into empire. These processes, from an earlier empire, predate the existence of the Australian nation state”.
“I wish I could say, government. I wish I could say those with power and privilege. They are certainly responsible, but the reality is they will never give over. If it’s at their discretion that society changes, society will never change. Unfortunately, and sadly, but equally importantly the onus is on those who have been marginalized and vilified to re-organize and organize as coalitions and build on movements in solidarity to then tip across into the mainstream”.
“No, I’ll put it for the Muslim community first. The Black Americans, nobody stood up for them. They had to die; that lady in the bus who ignited, and they triggered all the revolution. Somebody has to stand up. We have to stand up. It’s all”.
“I think it’s civil society. Absolutely. Just like civil society fought against racism. And if you think about it, the majority of the civil society is the main cultural group which is the Anglo-Celtic group. Many of them have been at the forefront of fighting racism against Aboriginal people or against people of color. They’ve been fighting against discriminations against LGTB as well. This is a social justice issue. This is a human rights issue. And so they absolutely should be advocating on behalf of the Muslim community. No, it’s not just Muslims”.
- Social Islamophobia takes the form of anti-Muslim racism and discriminations.
- Islamophobia’s power emanates from the problematizing discourse around Islam and Muslims and constructs a perceived public “knowledge” about Islam and Muslims.
- Islamophobia racializes Muslims as migrants, outsiders and security and cultural problems.
- Islamophobia is a disruption to an idealistic multicultural context whereby Muslims’ citizenship is delegitimized and misrecognized.
- Islamophobia assigns institutional positional practices to Muslims’ civic–political engagements and undermines their ability to advocate openly.
- Islamophobia is another form of the systematic racism embedded within the nation due to colonialism and white privilege.
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|Kind of MCO.||Name of MCO|
|Religious organizations, centers and associations|
|University Islamic associations|
|Professional networking organizations|
|Civil community organizations|
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Cheikh Husain, S. Muslim Community Organizations’ Perceptions of Islamophobia: Towards an Informed Countering Response. Religions 2020, 11, 485. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100485
Cheikh Husain S. Muslim Community Organizations’ Perceptions of Islamophobia: Towards an Informed Countering Response. Religions. 2020; 11(10):485. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100485Chicago/Turabian Style
Cheikh Husain, Sara. 2020. "Muslim Community Organizations’ Perceptions of Islamophobia: Towards an Informed Countering Response" Religions 11, no. 10: 485. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100485