Yes, Hating Muslims For Their Religious Beliefs Does Make You Racist & Here's Why
It’s no surprise that your geography has a heavy influence on your religious beliefs.
If you were born in a certain part of the world in a certain era, you are more likely to have certain beliefs. For example, my grandparents came of age in liberal Pakistan during the late 60s and early 70s. Back when the country used to look like this:
(Karachi’s famous nightclub scene from the early 70s)
(Herald, a magazine that focused on the rising fashion trends among Pakistani youth but later focused on more political issues)
Ergo, they weren’t as religious as my parent’s generation, who were born and raised in the post-Zia Arabized Pakistan that became increasingly non-secular.
So what does it mean when you stereotype ALL the adherents of a religion?
Basically what you are saying is that you hate ALL the people who come from that part of the world.
I am going to focus exclusively on Islam because it’s my own religion, but this can easily apply to all ideologies.
People often attack Muslims under the guise of criticizing Islam. However, instead of attacking the Islamic ideology and providing rational arguments against the religion itself, they resort to using degrading slurs such as “terrorists”, “rag heads”, “towel heads”, “sand niggers” etc. They claim there is nothing racist about these slurs because, hey, Muslims are a very diverse group of people!
They aren’t exactly wrong…
...but they aren’t right either.
You see, because while this statement will help them feel better about themselves (hating people because of their religious beliefs is more politically correct than hating them for their race), there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to prove the opposite is true. Yes, religions can and do have a very diverse group of followers, but what happens when the people you ridicule through media only happen to be of a certain race?
Notice what all of these popular depictions of Muslims have in common?
They all feature brown skinned men with long beards, turbans and big noses.
I wonder what part of the world these people come from…because they sure as hell don’t resemble this Muslim man from Kenya:
…or this Muslim man from Indonesia:
hmm…what about this Muslim Hazara man from Afghanistan??
hmm…nope. I don’t see the resemblance.
I wonder why, then, all the stereotypes of Muslims revolve around bearded brown men in turbans? Racism doesn’t have anything to do with this. Noooope. Neither does the fact that the west has a history of portraying brown people, especially Arabs, as backwards thinking extremists.
These depictions of Muslims as heartless, barbaric monsters out to destroy the wonderful western utopia are harmful. One only needs to look at the recent rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes around the world to see this. The hilarious and sad thing is that the Sikh community also suffers from this hatred. With their brown skin, beards and turbans, they fit the Muslim stereotype perfectly…more perfectly than an actual Hazara Muslim man from Afghanistan.
Why do people tolerate this shit & brush it off as “funny” cartoons criticizing Islam that are not racist? Does this not cross the fine line between freedom of speech and hate speech?
Also, what happens when you yourself are a Muslim? Does that give you the right to criticize and persecute other Muslims (or adherents of other religions) because of their beliefs?
& here’s the biggest reason why:
Going back to my original point, your geography has a HUGE impact on your religious beliefs. Unless if you converted to Islam, you are only a Muslim because your ancestors came from a Muslim nation. This means that your religious beliefs are hugely influenced by your race.
This means that the Hazara genocide is a racial issue. It is an ethnic cleansing issue that deserves more attention than it receives. So does the Shia genocide in Pakistan.
Again, I am not singling out these issues out of all the other ones because I think they matter more. I am doing it because they receive the least amount of attention from our media. I am doing it because the media brushes it off as “sectarian violence” which implies that BOTH sides are killing each other. It also implies that the Shia/Sunni conflict is religious and it doesn’t have its roots in the historical racial conflict between Persians (a predominantly Shia group of people) & Arabs (predominantly Sunni).
I am not condoning violence on either side. I just want people to be aware that hating others for their religious beliefs IS a form of racism that unfortunately society seems to tolerate even when it turns into a full blown genocide (like in Burma).
So stop using the “it’s not racist! [insert name of religion here] has followers from all over the world!” excuse to make yourself look like you’re not a hateful bigot. You aren’t fooling anyone but yourself.