Why is it always Islamophobia, never Buddhist-phobia or Christian-phobia or Hindu-phobia?

A thing that has been the number 1 for so long that it has become a part of its identity, never goes gently into the night. Before it falls, it will take everything down with it.

Nehru Sathiamoorthy

Yesterday, Hadi Awang was complaining that Islam is being unfairly treated by the media. Prior to that, Anwar Ibrahim also has been speaking regularly about Islamophobia. All of this has got me thinking as to why it is only Islam that suffers from negative news reports when compared to other religions?

Have you noticed that there is no such thing as Buddhist-phobia or Christian-phobia or Hindu-phobia? Even if there are such things, they are not really a thing, in the sense that they are more likely to be an isolated event than they are a significant phenomenon.

Why is this the case?

Well, the simplest and most straightforward answer that I can think of is that Islam is the only religious ideology in the world today that is taken seriously by its adherents. In other words, it is the number 1 religion in the world, and whatever is in the number one position, will always attract attraction and envy.

In its heyday, Manchester United FC was so envied, that there was even anti-MU fan club, or the “Asalkan Bukan Man U” movement, where the combined fandom of rival football clubs, will support any team that was against Man U, even if the team was not their team, solely out of spite against Man U.

The anti-MU movement only existed for as long as Man U was at the top. Now that Man U is no longer at the top, the movement has completely disappeared.

In the same way, Islamophobia will likely only exist for as long as Islam is the top religious ideology in the world. When Islam is no longer the top religious ideology in the world, Islamophobia, like the anti-MU movement, will also probably naturally and completely disappear from the world.

Now at this point, some of you might be thinking that it is actually Christianity, not Islam, that is the number 1 religion in the world, but Christianity, unlike Islam, is not usually the primary identity of its adherent.

If you see an American Baptist or a German Methodist for example, they likely view themselves as an American and German first, before they view themselves a Baptist or Methodist.

Amongst religious ideologies, it is only Muslims that still has a large number of adherents that see themselves as Muslim first, regardless of what other ideology or nationality that they profess or belong to.

Because in terms of primary identity, it is Muslims and only Muslim that see their religion as their primary identity, it is Islam that is by far, the number 1 religious’ ideology in the world, even if it is officially only the second largest religious denomination in the world.

Other than being the number 1 religious’ ideology by far, the fact that Islam is in a state of decline is also likely the reason why Islamophobia is so rife in the world.

Number 1’s that have been at the top for so long that it has become a part of their identity, always have trouble coming to terms with the fact that at some point, they will no longer remain at the top.

This is true whether the number in question is either an individual or a nation or an ideological grouping.

Look at Mahathir. He was generous and magnanimous and inclusive for as long as he was securely at the top. At the first sign that he was about to fall however, he threw Anwar under the bus in a move that will make Machiavelli blush in shame. To prevent his decline after he resigned as PM, he committed all sorts of shenanigans, including bringing down Umno – the party that he himself created, and working with Dap, which is a party that he had continuously maligned from the very beginning of his political career.  Since falling out of power in a definite manner after his second comeback in 2020, he has even turned into rather bitter, mean and petty old man, who lashes out at everything and anything that he can get his hands on.

America as a nation used to be magnanimous, open and generous too when it was securely at the top of the globe. As soon as China looked like it might be seizing America’s top spot and Russia openly declared that it did not see America as the global number 1 by launching an attack on Ukraine, look at how deranged and unhinged America has become. If America continues to fall at the rate it is falling, in a generation or two, I have little doubt that that Americans will be known all over the world as a terrorist organisation, in the same manner that Iran and North Korea are seen as a terrorist state today.

When the mighty Roman empire was on the brink of falling apart, it too became cruel, and threw Christians to the lions as a blood sport. When the medieval Church, which had replaced the Roman empire, entered a phase of decline, it launched bloody crusades, instituted pogroms against the Jews and burned witches at the stake.

A thing that has been the number 1 for so long that it has become a part of its identity, never goes gently into the night. Before it falls, it will take everything down with it.

Despite being in the number 1 position for hundreds if not thousands of years, Islam is now in a state of decline. The height of Islam probably occurred when the Ottomans seized Constantinople and replaced Rome as the greatest power in the west.

Many people do not know this, but the star and crescent moon symbol that is today synonymous  with Islam, was originally not an Islamic symbol. It was actually the symbol of the city of Constantinople, or modern-day Istanbul, which was the seat of the Byzantian Empire, that succeeded the Roman Empire. Islam only adopted the symbol when the Ottoman Muslims conquered the city of Constantinople in the 15th century and became the paramount power of the region.

From the 15th to the 18th century, Islamic empires like the Ottomans and the Mughals were the greatest power in the world. They began to go into decline as the Western colonial powers rose and conquered much of the globe, including territories where the Muslims had held sway, like Indonesia, Egypt and even Malaysia.

The height of Muslim decline probably occurred when the arguably greatest Muslim empires of them all, the Ottoman empire, crumbled in the early 20th century. To make things worse, the fall of the Ottomans also brought about the creation of Jewish state of Israel, which was the first clear, obvious and palpable sign that Islam had entered a phase of decline.

Throughout its history, the Muslims had never been ruled by the Jews, who were its main ideological rival. The formation of Israel showed without any doubt, that the decline of Islam had become so severe, that for the first time in its thousand and half year-old history, Muslims in the form of Palestinians, found themselves ruled by their ideological rival, the Jews.

Since its decline became palpable, the Muslim world has been trying in many ways to restore its former glory, but the chances of it occurring looks increasingly dim, as the Muslim world continues to decline irrevocably.

If before, the Islamic world looked like it was right behind the West and the Communist nations as the most powerful identity-based grouping in the world, today it not only behind the West and China, but is likely also behind rising new powers like Russia and India as well.

To compound its woes, since October last year,  its old ideological foe, the Jews, are now  waging a genocidal war against Palestinians in Gaza, and other than protest vehemently, the Islamic world doesn’t seem like it possesses the strength to do anything significant to prevent the annihilation of the Palestinian people.

Imagine if you have been the boss your entire life, and one day you lose it all and end up having to work for somebody else for the first time in your life. In your mind, you will still see yourself like you are a boss who should be the one calling the shots, but in they eyes of the world, you will just be seen as a worker that should just be silent and follow orders. The discrepancy between how you see yourself in your mind and how the world looks at you, will likely cause you to become disturbed and have a troubled relationship with your world.

At first you will likely rebel against the world,  and attempt to make the world see you as how you see yourself, and until you succeed, you are apt to rail against the world as a place that is cruel and unjust to you.  But if you do not succeed to change the world, then you will likely just change yourself. As time goes by, you will internalize your status as the worker, while forgetting the fact that once you used to be the boss, and this change of identity in you will then allow to accept your current condition, and make your peace with your world.

There are many identity groups that used to be on top once upon a time ago too. When they fell from their top position, they thought the world was going to end because of it too.

Well, the world never did end just because they fell.

The ones that could accept their change of fortune, like the Japanese Empire or the Indian Civilization, changed their perception of themselves and continued to survive, while the ones that couldn’t, like  Carthage or the SriVijayan empire,  ceased to exist from the face of the earth.

“There is nothing new under the sun.”

“Those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it.”