The Straits Times says

Islamophobia as big a threat to society

The terrorist attacks on worshippers in two New Zealand mosques last week, carried out by a white supremacist, reveal the often overlooked but nevertheless lethal dangers of Islamophobia in a world where acts of terror have tended to be narrowcasted as emanating from those who are misguided and profess to act in the defence of Islam. While it may be the case that misguided, fringe and radicalised elements have committed atrocities in the name of the religion, that is no excuse nor does it provide justification for innocents to come under attack from Islamophobes.

The Christchurch attacks provided dismal and worrying proof of this. The rambling manifesto produced by Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the alleged Christchurch shooter, proclaimed a defiant desire to defend against "invaders", to reduce immigration, and to deepen division and start a civil war in the United States. Identifying himself as a white supremacist and a fascist, he claimed he wanted to avenge attacks in Europe perpetrated by Islamist militants. Such sentiments are common among those from the violent right wing in Europe, America and elsewhere. Immigrants, Muslims, Jews and religious converts feature prominently on this fascist geography of hatred.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 20, 2019, with the headline 'Islamophobia as big a threat to society'. Print Edition | Subscribe