What is Islamophobia and how do we cure it?

Whereas Islamophobia has strong social and political ramifications, like other phobias, or irrational fears it can be cured. As Muslims we have an obligation to learn about and understand Islamophobia from scientific and spiritual perspectives and not only from an emotional perspective. Once we achieve understanding  of this malady we must do what we can to cure our country of what is a mental and spiritual disease. The cure for irrational hate and fear is not more hate and fear. The cure is love. 

Love and Understanding is the Cure!

When the media, politicians and others convey negative messages about Islam and Muslims, they are creating an illusion in the minds of their listeners. It is the listeners imagination that then creates and reacts to the mental imagery of negative stereotypes that have been created. In respect to Islamophobia the illusion being created is that Islam is a violent religion that inspires terrorism and hatred of non Muslims. They create the illusion  that all Muslims are either actually terrorists, or potential terrorists.  For people to react to such imagery and illusion with fear and loathing  is not actually irrational. What is irrational is what the mind and imagination are doing, which is to except such negative information without proof, critical thinking,  or objectivity and then to fear what we have created in our minds. 

To understand this means we understand people who suffer from Islamophobia and can empathize with them. We understand that it is a mental illness that has a cure. The prophet Muhammad (sa) said for every disease Allah has created a cure. The cure for Islamophobia is love.  

We can work collectively to help cure our society of this disease by responding to the fear and loathing of others with empathy and sympathy.  We must also seek and take advantage of opportunities to personally interact with non Muslims in a way that allows them to see for themselves that the illusions they have created in their minds are not true.  The Quran has provided us with all of the tools and encouragement we need to help our fellow citizens and neighbors overcome Islamophobia. Smiles, kind speech even when people are not smiling at us, or talking kindly.  Remaining calm and rational even when people become rude and  threatening are strengths. Giving in charity, whether it be our time, our money, or anything that is needed is another way to touch people's hearts and to allow them to see that we are people of good will. The prophet Muhammad (sa) taught us that one of the unique qualitues of the Muslim is that people feel secure and safe with us, rather than suspicious, frightened or scared. 

Once we begin to think and respond this way to Islamophobia, with time, insha Allah, the people of hate will not be able to create negative and frightening  illusions in the hearts and minds of people about Muslims and Islam. We cannot isolate ourselves in the mosques, or limit ourselves to our communitues only. We must engage our neighbors and share with them the challenges of daily life and work together with them towards the common good. Insha Allah, Allah will make this easy for us and grant us the patience we will need to succeed. 

 "People will often refer to their emotions or fears as irrational. But if we learn how emotions are created, we can see that they are not irrational. They are actually the practical result of what the mind and imagination are doing. It is what the mind and imagination are doing that are completely irrational. Or I should say fabricated in a virtual reality of illusions."