There seems to be a spike in islamophobia because Muslim and Arab scholars have been writing books about it. Non-Muslim so-called scholars have also published their share of books that add to the concept of islamophobia, but Tariq Ramadan, on the faculty at Oxford University in Islamic Studies makes some things clear about the phenomenon by viewing it not only as a religious and cultural discussion, but also as a social and political discussion. He is well versed to do so, since he is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt back in the early 1900's after WWI; that of Hassan Al Banna. So he has more than a stake in curiosity involved, but a family connection as well since his mother is the daughter of Al Banna.
That is probably a good thing when it comes to writing a book about Islam because he makes a profession of studying it from many different angles. He talks about the binary good and bad perception about Muslims in the West and the origins of that perception; which goes back further than the attacks on the Twin Towers on 911, although he does analyze the idea of islamophobia in the more recent context.
Global concepts about Muslim's have been formed since 911 and he discusses why with regard to issues like national security, and how national security has increased, but also has been responsible for why the U.S. government is increasingly in debt, with the constant concern about the debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff juxtaposed with the recent Arab Spring and the uprisings occuring in the Middle East and North Africa.
He has a "cautious optimism" about the future of Islam globally and exhorts that the Arab Spring was brought about with a virtual peaceful resistance to the oppressive regime in Egypt and elsewhere like Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen. The revolt in Syria cannot be described as peaceful, and he does make a clear distinction between the difference between the definitions of revolt and revolution.
Syria, no doubt was sparked by the previous protest movements in Egypt and elsewhere, and Egypt had the most dramatic events from Tahrir Square with the ouster of Mubarak after decades of oppression. He also discusses the West's relationship with those Muslim majority countries and how the West keeps Islamic states divided to their own best financial and economic interests.
The media plays a big part in public perceptions and Ramadan asserts that Barack Obama, who he says is an excellent communicator, is extremely savvy about media messages and had other motives for the timing of killing Osama bin Laden. When people were questioning about the excess spending to the detriment of the taxpayer for security and the decrease in overall civil liberties, Ramadan asserts that "getting bin Laden" when he did and how he did was good for his presidential ratings. When fact checking the polls and statistics, that assertion is true.
He defines Islam, Islamist, and Secularist in a social and political context, which is good because it does take away from the islamophobia tendency in America clearly after all the constant media coverage of the Park 51 mosque at the Ground Zero site and the threats of calling for a "burning the Quran" day by those who are more negatively influenced by the media about "evil Islam."
He points out that although President Obama is clear, as in his June, 2009 speech about a new respect and attitude toward Muslims and the Middle East, the same negative attitudes and non-action with regard to Guantanamo Bay, deportations and arrests of innocent Muslims, criticism about Abu Ghairab, especially by China, who is constantly criticized by the Human Rights groups about human and civil rights violations is a dichotomy and ambiguous practice despite the theory of change and peaceful co-existence.
Tariq Ramadan is a Muslim and a smart scholar. He is multilingual in English, French and Arabic and he discusses many details about Arabic and Islamic history that are not mentioned by the mainstreamed media. He even talks about Al Jazeera, which recently bought U.S. Current TV channel from Al Gore for $500 million and will be more mainstreamed as a result. Apparently Hillary Clinton said that Al Jazeera was better at reporting "real" news in the Huffington Post in March of 2011. He doesn't leave out the frightening detail that the Bush administration and Tony Blair had plans to bomb Al Jazeera's main station based in Qatar in 2005 in response to their "War on Terror" campaign.
Islam, the Arab Spring and the media's perception of them continue to be controversial, but reading Ramadan's book dispels misconceptions about the topic as a whole.
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