By: B Goode
You know there’s something wrong when islamophobia is a word but not christianophobia or buddhistophobia or judanophobia. Type all those four words in MSword and you will see which of the words have red underline.
And you know what’s worse? When even that word is being wrongly-used.
When you are afraid of something, you will avoid that thing. For example, if you have botanophobia, you will stay away from bushes. You don’t go beating around the bush like what I am doing now. Similarly, if you have islamophobia, you will avoid anything associated with Islam. You don’t go around beating Madrasah’s students.
And it is not only ‘islamophobia’ that is being abused and misused. People in general have problems in describing things associated with Islam.
If a non-Muslim was to torch a synagogue, that person would be called an anti-semitic or nazi. If a white man was to torch a black church, that person would be called a white supremacist. If a Buddhist was to lynch a Rohingya, that person would be called a racist. But if a Muslim was to do either of those, he would be called a terrorist.
And therein lays the problem. The problem of identifying and understanding the real Islam.
Home Minister Shanmugan said that one way to combat islamophobia was for Singaporeans to reach out to Singapore Muslims. I hate to say this but I think he got it backwards. The Muslims would have to reach out to the others to make them understand what true Islam is. And the government and especially the media would have to do their part.
Muslim scholars have all denounced the ideology and actions by the terrorists. They have gone so far as to say that the terrorists are not Muslims.
So for a start, state media should take the lead by removing the word ‘muslim’ from the phrase `muslim terrorists’ when describing those groups. Or not to use the word ISIS because they are not Muslims and they are not a state. Even the Americans have stopped using that term preferring to use the word `daesh’ instead.
As for the Islamic organisations in Singapore, it is time for them to be more proactive in educating Singaporeans about the true Islam so as to remove whatever misunderstandings. In fact, they should do the same to the Muslims too to combat radicalization amongst their cohort.
Islam is a peaceful religion. It is not a disease. It certainly does not need to be made into one by inventing a non-existent medical term associated with its name.