In early 90’s the world was abuzz with jihad and with US being the chief sponsor of the movement, who could have been able to put brakes on it.
Afghanistan was liberated from the Godless USSR and with USSR being shattered into pieces the objective was achieved, after this Jihad was left to sponsor itself. With the new found freedom to operate, it targeted almost everyone, including self and it’s hitherto sponsor as well. With the ever increasing spectrum of targets and attacks the definition of Jihad started to overlap with that of terrorism. Through most of the nineties the Jihadist seemed to be overwhelmed with the idea of killing the Kafir no matter where one could be found. The term Kafir which in Arabic means a lot of things suddenly seemed to mean only one thing, the infidel.
After this early phase was overwhelmed by Jihad, west started to question the teachings of Islam itself. People started to quote Quran out of context to prove that Islam promoted violence and Killings of non-Muslims. This was the beginning of Islamophobia and it reached to its pinnacle with the 9/11. People with turbans and beards were being attacked and discriminated against (even now they are). New York Police Department (NYPD) started to monitor (Spy on) the Muslim community, this only alienated the Muslim community more rather than yielding any fruitful results.
The Muslims have taken it upon themselves to represent their faith in a better way and assert themselves in a very positive way in the society. People who seemed to have nothing to do with the faith suddenly started the journey of self-discovery, tried to know and understand their faith better. These people now have transformed into better ambassadors of their faith.
With news channels, in their quest to present Islam in bad light, refer Muslim terrorists as Islamic terrorists and attacks carried by them as Islamic Terrorism but when it comes to reporting the terror attacks by people of other religions they simply are referred as “insane people”. This over exposure of the word Islam in the media has and continues to make people curious to more about Islam. After 9/11 attacks the conversion rate of non-Muslims has raised many folds and currently Islam is the fastest growing religion in US at the rate of 6.7%!
The young Muslims who were fascinated by the Hollywood and hip-hop culture are now supporting long beards, with skull caps, wearing khan-dress. While girls have suddenly taken a liking to nikabs and abayaas. These physical and appearance changes have made the presence of Muslims more prominent. To curb this prominence, different governments are coming forth with laws which ban or discourage wearing of Abayaa or nikaabs or growing beards or wearing skull caps in public places, while some have restricted the restrictions to educational institutes only. What these governments fail to understand is that by trying to restrict the spread and rise of Islam they are only promoting it.
Also Appeared in The Kashmir Monitor