Beyond Survival

The 21st century has become blatantly anti-Muslim because the Muslims themselves have retracted into a corner and have allowed the West to take the initiative into its own hands.

By Nikhat Sattar | March 2020

During the last part of the 20th century, when digital communication was transforming the world into a web of human connections in the split of a second, debate focused on domestic politics, cold war between the US and the USSR and the dissolution of the latter. As hostilities between the world powers became diluted, a new global enemy took centre stage and all weapons were aimed at it. The event preceding this was 9/11, when deaths were caused by planes crashing into the twin towers of New York and the Pentagon building in Washington on September 11, 2001.

Almost two decades on, religious divisions, racism, extremist nationalism and Islamophobia is on the rise. Muslims face violations of their rights routinely, especially if they live in or travel to the West. They are often attacked in their places of worship and branded terrorists as a group. Many non-Muslims are wary of Muslims, making them targets of ridicule, abusing them or just ignoring them altogether. Accusations leveled against them include a perceived tendency to be violent towards non-Muslims; discrimination against women and human rights violations. They are also seen as being largely uneducated, uncouth and barbaric. Their actions are distorted, branded and communicated to the world through well-orchestrated propaganda by the West, while the latter’s own fanaticism is viewed as sporadic events.

Muslims, on the other hand, respond usually by arrogance; some still bask in dreams of historical glory; some wonder “what went wrong with us”; others insist that they are on the right track and many continue with apologetic arguments. A small group of fanatics believe that they will gain power by killing non-believers. It is as if the world has split into two: Muslims inhabiting one and the rest of the world the other.

The reasons for such attitudes are many, complex and deep-rooted. They can be traced to societal changes and interactions between Muslims and the West over the centuries. The attack on the World Trade Centre was only a tragedy waiting to happen. The event itself and its aftermath had been under preparation for a long time. It is quite possible that even if 9/11 had not occurred, wholesale Islamophobia would have found other excuses.

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The writer is a development professional, researcher, translator and columnist with an interest in religion and socio-political issues. She has translated various writings including Dr. Khalid Masud’s seminal biography of the Prophet Mohammed (SWS). She can be reached at

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One thought on “Beyond Survival

  • April 3, 2020 at 12:52 am

    It is not that Muslims don’t have resources. Saudi Arabia spent more than one hundred billion dollars to purchase weapons with which she destroyed poor fellow Arab and Muslim Yemen. It is the same story with Libya, Lebanon and Syria. With the amount they blew away in these destructive wars they could have built at least two, if not more state of the art universities in each of the fifty or so Islamic countries.
    When the European powers conquered Muslim lands they ransacked hundreds of their libraries. The books from these are lying in the warehouses of museums in London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow and other places. With only a little bit of effort and a few million dollars, Muslims could have at least copied and translated these. They haven’t even tried to redeem a part of the heritage that they brag about so often.
    What hope can there be in the face of such apathy and indifference?