Stop this spread of hatred against Muslims and Islam

Reuters pic.

Citizens International strongly condemns the barbaric killing of 49 Muslims in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, by white supremacist terrorists.

We express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims of these ghastly murders and pray that God showers his blessings on their departed souls. We also pray for the early recovery of those wounded in the attack.

Islamophobic political leaders like United States President Donald Trump and Britain’s former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, and the Western media — purveyors of a hate campaign against Muslims and Islam — must be held responsible for this cowardly killing of worshippers.

The hypocritical condemnation by these leaders of the vile act, and their expression of condolences, will not wash away the blood on their hands of these innocent victims.

White supremacists see Trump as their leader and inspiration. The Australian-born murderer published a 74-page dossier hailing Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose”.

Islamophobia is not on the fringes but in the centre of several Western governments. Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton was once the chairman of Gatestone Institute that, according to an NBC report, “promotes misleading and false anti-Muslim news”.

During his chairmanship of the institute, it warned of a looming “jihadist takeover” of Europe leading to a “Great White Death”.

Trump’s administration has pursued an anti-Muslim policy. During his election campaign, Trump appealed to white supremacists by saying: “I think Islam hates us.”

He has banned immigration from Muslim countries and sharply cut the entry of Muslim refugees into the US. White supremacists have an informal international network to carry out an anti-Muslim campaign.

A Guardian investigation last year revealed that the British founder of the fascist English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, an anti-Muslim campaigner, has been receiving financial, political and moral support from a broad array of non-British groups and individuals, including US think-tanks, rightwing Australians and Russian trolls.

Among them are the Middle East Forum, the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the Gatestone Institute, all of them preaching lies and hatred against Muslims and Islam.

Western governments have taken no action against individuals, think- tanks and media that are inciting hatred against Muslims. They consider the incitement to hatred, which could lead to violence against Muslims, as exercising freedom of expression, but criminalise any peaceful boycott against Israel and any criticism of Zionism.

Their failure to take action against these merchants of hatred amounts to encouraging hostility to Islam and Muslims, resulting in violence against them.

With the exception of one or two Muslim governments, the others have not come out condemning those responsible for encouraging white supremacist campaigns against Muslims.

The supine leaders from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Emirates, except for verbal condemnation of the crime, have not said anything about the responsibility of the US and Islamophobic European governments for allowing a climate of hatred against Muslims and Islam to flourish in their countries.

We call on the Malaysian government to:

  1. Issue a strong statement against those responsible for the culture of hatred against Muslims and Islam prevailing in the world today which has produced this large-scale murder of people praying in the mosques;
  2. Call for an urgent meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to discuss the killings and the underlying causes, and to formulate a plan to counter the propagation of hatred against Muslims and Islam; and,
  3. Initiate action in the United Nations to stop the propagation of Islamophobia.

SM Mohamed Idris is chairman of Citizens International.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.