‘Worst level of anti-Muslim bigotry ever’ in Europe

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SHAFAQNA- How should Western countries respond to terrorist threats? Are more attacks to be expected anytime soon? Why Brussels became the terrorist target on Tuesday? What can Muslims do to stamp out extremism?

Signs of a renewed backlash against Muslims can already be witnessed in the wake of the Brussels bombings. Internet users have been reacting to the attacks, with the hashtag #Brussels trending on Twitter. However, just hours after the tragic events, another hashtag – #Stop Islam was also among the most popular worldwide on Tuesday.

The political climate in Europe and in the US has taken it to the worst in terms of the level of anti-Muslim bigotry,” said Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies, in an interview with RT. “It has never been this bad. Part of it however can only be attributed to the increase in terrorist activity, such as the one that we saw [on Tuesday in Brussels] and in Paris [last year],” he added.

Underlining this attempt to scapegoat and blame all Muslims, are a set of socio and economic vulnerabilities that are at the root of this rising level of hysteria and paranoia and anti-Muslim sentiment,” he continued.

Hashemi suggests that in order to stamp out extremism in their midst everyone, including Muslim communities, should do whatever they can.

However, he added that the problem with calling on Muslim communities to do more is the “fundamental fallacy that sort of assumes that there is something called a Muslim community that is monolithic” and unchanging. Somehow, he added, whenever a member of that community conducts an act of terror the entire collective is considered responsible for actions of such extremists.

Hashemi argues there are always demands from Europeans that Muslims have to do more to root out extremism within their community, because, as Westerns think, they are always responsible.

I don’t think they are more responsible than white people for ugly things that are done by white people.”

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