There is no doubt that relation between the Muslim world and the West is often dominated by simmering distrust and antagonistic feelings although they may not always boil over. Tensions and recriminations abound and so do arguments and justifications. The need to find common grounds do not get translated into intentions or sincere efforts to move forward as the past casts a long shadow over the present. Typecasting a billion-plus fellow human beings or their faith as objects of dread or hatred as is being done by the West through fomenting Islamophobia needs to be prevented. Muslims must be able to reassert their true identity and earn their rightful place in a world dominated by Western power and influence. This may begin to happen if Muslims denounce and repudiate all the wrong that is being done in the name of their great religion, speak for themselves, develop religious and community leaders who are well equipped to impart the right knowledge and effectively address contemporary issues that confront Muslim societies and countries, and revive the spirit and unity of the ummah. Only then can they effectively fight not just the menace of Islamophobia, but also the injustices and discrimination in their own countries and those that are perpetrated by the West. The West must also turn their gaze inward and admit their role in creating this 'Great Divide'; they need to realize that their overbearing attitude toward Muslims and relentless depiction of the latter as their common folk devil will inevitably have undesirable, serious, and long-term consequences.
Islamophobia, Islam, Muslims, Terrorism, Freedom of expression, Secularism, Jihad, Integration, Identity, Ummah