ISLAMABAD – In the world politics today, especially for the West, Muslims were too many to be ignored and too weak to be accommodated. As Islamophobia was on the rise, the only solution to the problem was that Muslims regain their strength, intellectual as well as institutional and work towards positive engagement in the society.
These views emanated from a rich intellectual discussion following a lecture of renowned American scholar of religion and international affairs, Professor John L. Esposito at Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Islamabad.
The scholar is currently the president of the American Academy of Religion and a member of the E.C. European Network of Experts on De-Radicalisation and the board of C-1 World Dialogue and an ambassador for the UN Alliance of Civilizations, also founded the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and is its current director.
The topic of his ‘Dr Mumtaz Ahmad Memorial Lecture’ was ‘Islamophobia, Islam & Politics’.
He said, Islamophobia was real and a serious issue. Although it has always existed but there has been an exponential rise of Islamophobia during US presidential election campaign and it seems to have been legalized now. The situation was grave not only in the United Stated but there was a wave of populism and xenophobia across the world, including Europe and Australia, he added.
Islamophobia was systematic. ISIS in their beheading videos use words like bismillah and Allahu Akbar deliberately to terrorize people of the language and the faith.
On the occasion Dr. Salman Sayyid, Research Fellow at University of Leeds, also addressed the audience which included Christian and Jewish religious delegates from the US, researchers and students of different universities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
He stated that the cause of Islamophobia was weakness of Muslim institutions and lack of leadership.
The event was chaired by Professor Dr Anis Ahmad, vice chancellor, Riphah International University and was also addressed by Khalid Rahman, executive president of IPS and Abdul Malik Mujahid, an Imam and Muslim community leader based in Chicago.
The speakers and audience also agreed on the appalling role of US and European media to make Islamophobia worse.