Seminar “Islam on Trial – Islamophobia” Monday, 20 April 2015

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Seminar “Islam on Trial – Islamophobia” Monday, 20 April 2015,

The London Institute of South Asia annual seminar was held on 20 April 2015 at the prestigious venue “Institute of Advance Legal Studies”, University of London. It was a successful event where the participants were proactive with the panel. The seminar was chaired by Kristiane Backer as Alan Hart was unable to attend. 


The proceedings of the seminar opened with Dr Shahid Qureshi giving a welcome address. He also introduced the panel to the participants.

LISA Executive Director Saeed Ismat gave introductory talk on the subject.

Opening address by Executive Director London Institute of South Asia Saeed Ismat

In simplistic terms Islam means submission or surrender. The concept of submission to God is nothing new, many ancient religions subscribed to this concept. The origin of word Islam can be traced to Salam – meaning Peace and Safety. Phobia as defined in Oxford dictionary means irrational fear or aversion to something. So Islamophobia is an’ ‘irrational’ aversion to the concept of submission to God or aversion to peace and Safety

We are hoping that this conference today shall critically analyze Islamophobia and its multiple manifestations in our contemporary moment i.e. historical, political, economic, and cultural phenomenon of Islamophobia

This attempt shall further our collective knowledge about Islamophobia and its various manifestations through academic and community-based research.

We hope this issue will foster further research and engagement in academic institutions and in civil and human rights organizations with the intended goal of ending racism in all its forms, Islamophobia included.

According to a Pew Global survey in 2014, a quarter (26%) of Britons had an ‘unfavourable’ view of Muslims in Britain. Attitudes were slightly harder in France (27% unfavourable), and much harder in Germany (33% unfavourable), Spain (46% unfavourable) and Italy (63% unfavourable).

I should stress that these are all attitudes expressed towards Muslims as a whole, not towards fundamentalist groupings, or to Muslims committed to anti- Muslim or anti-Western violence

The survey results and analysis raise important questions as to the causes of this steady shift, the forces behind it and how best to reverse it in the future. 

Those having unfavourable view of Muslims







(More on this in a minute) Since 2006 the data has shown a steadily increasing percentage of Americans responding unfavourably when asked about Muslims in general.

Many feel that if Islamophobia continues to progress/spread at the current rate continues it shall be dangerous for the mankind as it could possibly lead to a clash of civilisation. Whatever for sure it has already destabilized the entire Muslim world where violence is widespread and prospects not very comforting

Islamophobia in India

Now coming to a subject that is rarely addressed in the West: that is Islamophobia in India. While we are concerned more about Islamophobia in the West we have failed to see the more potent and immediate danger that emanates from India. Whereas it is commonly believed that in the West the governments would like to contain Islamophobia and take appropriate remedial measures in India there is evidence that it is state sponsored. Under Narendra Modi Islamophobia has hit India like a tsunami. The anti-Muslim tirade has permeated the body politic of India. RSS — a right-wing paramilitary party politically allied to Narendra Modi’s BJP is carrying out “Saffron Terror” and forcibly converting Muslims, Christians and Dalits to Hinduism in what is termed as “Ghar Wapsi. India's right wingers demonize Muslims. Remember what Ambedkar (The guru of Dalits) said, “Dalits were never Hindus and will never be Hindus”

Hindutva is on the rise and the principal targets are Muslims and Dalits. Please take note that there are nearly 250,000,000 (a quarter billion) Dalits and nearly 200,000,000 (two hundred million) Muslims in India. Combined they represent over 40 percent of India population. LISA considers that the most urgent cause of concern should be the rise of Hindutva and Islamophobia in India.

The Indian Hindutva network’s inner core is currently comprised of at least 17 groups whose primary purpose is to promote prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims. An additional 32 groups are actively engaged in forcefully converting Muslims, Christians and Dalits in the folds of Hinduism The inner core Indian Islamophobia/Hindutva network enjoyed access billions of rupees in pursuit of their radical mission

For some, rising anti-Muslim sentiments are immediately explained away as a “natural” outcome of the many violent events in the Muslim world and “terrorism” in general. However, we maintain that the rising negative sentiments may have to do with the presence of a well-organized and well-funded Islamophobic industry that has managed to invade and capture civil society and public discourses without serious contestation Both of these events, and many others that I cannot cover due to time constraints continue to remind communities around the world that despite the enduring permanence of Islamophobia, various modes and tactics of organized resistance are available as steps to justice, liberation, and emancipation. Speaking to a summit on countering violent extremism at the White House on Wednesday, Obama said the United States is not fighting the Islamic faith, but rather finds itself at war “with the people who have perverted Islam.” How true! We need to examine as to why the wrath of these people who have perverted Islam mainly targets Muslims only. I am hoping that this conference today shall analyze Islamophobia and its multiple manifestations. We hope this issue will foster further research and engagement in academic institutions and in civil and human rights organizations particularly the rising tsunami of Islamophobia in India with the intended goals to find solutions....Read Full Paper.