Essay by cenafranchise January 2008

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Why is it that every time one hears the word "Muslim" or "Islam" one suddenly has the connotation of violence, fear and terror? Islamophobia. What is it? Where did it come from? Can we get rid of it? These are just some of the questions that baffle me concerning prejudice against Islam.

This prejudice affects Muslims in most parts o the world. An example is if an individual needs to travel to England, he/she has to wait to be interrogated before entering the country; such as being subjected to an "interview taking up four hours of one's valuable time. At other times a person's personal space is invaded (e.g. guards search and touch you everywhere) and some people are called derogatory names (e.g. terrorists) which diminishes a person's dignity.

All this is a result of the bad publicity the Islamic world has been receiving over the past few years. The fact that the media, especially journalist, create and promote such stereotype in their broadcasts and writing, plays a major role in fostering negative views of Islam- Which is why it is imperative that Muslims should reveal to the world that Islam is not what they think it is but that it is a way of embracing peace and tolerance.

However, when one observes the way some Muslims go about fighting these stereotypes- for example, by burning flags and engaging in violent protests- makes me ask the question, "Are these the only ways of fighting prejudice about Islam?" The answer is no. I think by burning flags and making threats of violence more people are being pushed away from Islam, rather then getting closer to an understanding of it.

The cartoon of the Prophet (S.A.W) was the first attack which enraged Muslims around the world. Some non-Muslims of course did not...