The significance and valuation for human rights and dignity can be found throughout the Qur’an. In matters of faith, the language is explicit and unequivocal: “There is no compulsion in religion; Truth stands out clear from Error.” (2:256). Thus, the rights of Muslims and non-Muslims alike in expressions of faith is guaranteed, not only in theory but in practice as the Qur’an states: “O you who believe! Be ever Steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity; and never let the hatred of others lead you into the sin of deviating from justice. Be just: This is the closest to being conscious of God.” (5:81) Yet it is hatred and rage that is at the root of anti-Muslim sentiment and violence plaguing Europe today.
The status of Muslims in Europe is precarious, for they represent a group that is viewed as alien, unacknowledged, or threatening throughout the region. In a hard-hitting report, the European Union’s authoritative race watchdog, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia revealed that Europe’s Muslims face deep-seated discrimination in education, housing and jobs. They are also suffering from regular xenophobic behaviour and incidents. Not only this, the report notes also an increasing number of physical attacks and verbal abuse against Muslims in some countries. Jews continue to experience anti-Semitic incidents.
It is a hallmark of the Western civilization to be hypocritical about the standards, laws, morals and values with respect to the oriental civilizations whether it be the ‘war on terror’, human rights violation, freedom of speech or any other matter. For instance, in the aftermath of terrorist attack in London on 7/7 the whole of Europe was vociferous in its demand that the immigrant population should adopt the native culture and dilute its identity but did we ever see the imperial powers adopting the local culture, language, customs, etc. when they colonized the whole world.
The present campaign against Muslims in Europe has startling resemblance with the tradition of anti-Semitism which manifested itself in the genocide of Jews during the World War II. What makes this current paranoia against Muslims even more inflammatory than anti-Semitism is that this time the latest ‘crusade’ has been invented by America which was not the case with the campaign against Jews during World War II.
Muslims now number over 20 million in Europe. It is time the European countries realised the dire necessity of devising a new order based on respect for Muslim’s rights, sentiments and traditions. As a first step, it must introduce legislation that gives Muslims facing hate crimes protection and confidential means to report their fears. At the same time sentiments and traditions of Muslims need to be taken into consideration by the European media. Europe is either for all citizens, regardless of religion or it is for nothing.¨