“Greater steps needed to reduce Islamophobia” – Dr. Anas

By Iylia Marsya Iskandar

GOMBAK, 2 November 2019: In efforts to reduce Islamophobia, Dr. Anas Shaikh Ali has called on institutions, independent organisations and academics to recognise their responsibility and take appropriate measures.

Highlighting his views on the topic “Bias and Islamophobia in Popular Culture” in an intellectual discourse session with academics on Friday (1 November), Dr. Anas emphasised that the term “Islamophobia” denotes the irrational fear and hate towards Muslims that was introduced in 1994.

Dr. Anas said that there were conflicting opinions on calling this expression of hate as “anti-Muslims” but added that the term Islamophobia has been widely used by the international media.

As the Director of Publications, International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), East and South Asia, Dr. Anas Shaikh Ali, had carried out extensive research on Islamophobia as portrayed in popular culture.

He said, “The popular culture ranging from the electronic medium such as movies, cartoons and television series to print media including newspapers and magazines, have largely portrayed Islamophobia up to this date.”

Dr. Anas, who is also the Chairman of Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) UK, further said, “American universities have courses on Orientalism and Islamic studies. This is the reason why they are progressing, and it is time for the academia to start teaching these subjects.”

“The whole education system have to start taking the initiative to educate the students on worldly matters,” he stressed.

As an international Islamic university, Dr. Anas said, IIUM was on the spotlight to address this issue and be the first to take the initiative in efforts to reduce the issue of Islamophobia.

The attendees at Al-Tabari Conference Room

In response to a statement from Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ishtiaq Hossain, a lecturer in Media and Politics, Department of Political Science, who claimed two movies found to be deeply Islamophobic were “The Kingdom” and “24”, Dr. Anas said, “It is the movies that will impact the audience. We can’t change the movie industry but we have to take the initiative for people to have a positive outlook and not produce these movies.”

Amongst the contents shared by Dr. Anas on Islamophobia include hundreds of cartoon strips and a poster that said, “Everything I ever need to know about Islam, I learned in 9/11.”

Adding to the list, a misleading newspaper headline by The Sunday Times, “Muslim anger, a school massacre” when both “Muslim anger” and “A school massacre” are two disparate stories that also displayed apparent signs of Islamophobia.

Organised by the Department of Communication and the Department of Political Science, Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences (KIRKHS), in collaboration with the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), East and South Asia, the intellectual discourse, held at the Al-Tabari Conference Room, was attended by the academics and post-graduate students. ***

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