On Friday, Sept. 22, we hosted a 90-minute virtual event to mark the launch of our Islamophobia Reading Resource Packs for the Asia-Pacific region and Europe, which featured the publications' authors. The panelists provided an overview of their research, trends they've observed in different countries based on the literature, what Islamophobia looks like in terms of official policy and many other aspects of this issue. They also fielded some questions from the audience, who wanted to know how to foster interfaith bridging, and what they expect to see in the future in terms of Islamophobia.
The panelists included:
Elsadig Elsheikh, Director of Global Justice, O&B Institute.
Dr. Farid Hafez, Co-founding editor of the European Islamophobia Report.
Dr. Linda Hyökki, Coordinator, Independent Researcher.
Dr. Rhonda Itaoui, Director of the Centre for Western Sydney at Western Sydney University, Australia.
Basima Sisemore, Researcher, O&B Institute (Moderator).
Welcome everyone. Welcome to our audience members and welcome to our panelists. It's wonderful that you could join us. My name is Basima Sisemore and I'm a researcher at the Othering & Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. And I have the great pleasure of moderating today's event, titled Understanding Islamophobia in the Global Context, which will be a facilitated conversation on how to challenge discourses and actions that discriminate against Muslims.
So this vent marks the release of two new reading resource packs on annotated bibliographies that examine Islamophobia from a global perspective. And notably, these Reading resource packs are the culmination of several years of research into the phenomenon of Islamophobia in Europe and the Asia Pacific region. Today, in conversation with the authors, we will unpack and contextualize Islamophobia in Asia Pacific Reading Resource Pack, authored by Elsadig Elsheikh and Rhonda Itaoui, and the Islamophobia in Europe Reading Resource Pack authored by Elsadig Elsheikh, Farid Hafez and Linda Hyokki.
This is the third reading resource pack that we have produced at the Othering & Belonging Institute, the first of which was a 2018 publication, which is a compilation of academic research, including peer reviewed journal articles and books that examines Islamophobia in the context of the United States. Both Elsadig Elsheikh and Dr. Rhonda Itaoui were the authors for that publication. And so the annotated bibliographies that we're going to be engaging with today is part of a larger body of work conducted by the Global Justice Program at the Othering & Belonging Institute to document and counter the structural and root causes of Islamophobia.
Our Islamophobia project at the Othering & Belonging Institute aims to provide cutting edge research and tools for narrative production, awareness raising, community engagement and policy interventions to understand and challenge the social, political and legal mechanisms used to demonize another Muslims in the United States and globally.
And so our projects within this area of work range from consolidating scholarly investigations and research on Islamophobia into Reading Resource Packs, to documenting the legalized othering of Muslims by way of US federal and state policies, as well as to use survey instruments to engage the Muslim-American community to assess how Islamophobia has directly impacted Muslim-Americans.
Our time together today will focus on how the last two decades we have witnessed increased Islamophobic attacks against Muslims and non-Muslim majority countries in nearly every corner of the globe. Such attacks appeared in discriminatory laws, administrative policy, judicial activities, and public actions of state officials and private citizens that single out Muslims and Islam. In response to this phenomenon, we have developed these Reading Resource Packs to understand the origins, motivations and underlying power structures that generate and support global Islamophobia.
On that note, I welcome everyone to this rich discussion, and the authors and panelists who I will now introduce will engage in conversation on how to challenge global discourses and actions that discriminate against Muslims and how to ultimately foster a world of belonging. I'll first introduce Elsadig Elsheikh, joining us from Berkeley, California, who is the director of the Global Justice Program at the Othering & Belonging Institute. Elsadig's research focuses on global north, global south inequity as it relates to sociopolitical dynamics, nation state and citizenship, and structural mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion.
Next, I'd like to introduce Dr. Rhonda Itaoui, joining from Sydney, Australia, who is a former research fellow with the Othering & Belonging Institute, working with the Global Justice Program to produce research on Islamophobia and the exclusion of Muslims in the West. She's currently the director of the Center for Western Sydney at Western Sydney University Australia. Her research examines geographies of diversity, multiculturalism and belonging in urban spaces and advocates for place-based approaches to policymaking. Rhonda has a PhD and first-class honors in social sciences, otherwise known as human geography from Western Sydney University.
I'd now like to welcome Dr. Farid Hafez, joining from Williamstown, Massachusetts, who is currently the distinguished visiting professor of international studies at Williams College, Massachusetts. Since 2017, he is also a non-resident researcher at Georgetown University's The Bridge Initiative. He is the co-founding editor of the European Islamophobia report and his research focuses on anti-Muslim racism, the far right, and decoloniality.
I'd like to wrap us up in introductions by giving a warm welcome to Dr. Linda Hyokki, joining from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, who works as a freelance consultant for research and policy work in national and transnational projects related to Muslim minorities in Europe, anti-Muslim racism and non-discrimination. She is also the coordinator of the working group anti-Muslim racism at the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism. She has previously worked as a research associate with the Center for Islam and Global Affairs as a project officer with the Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum.
I extend a warm welcome to all of you, our panelists. It's a pleasure to have you here with us and thank you for being available to engage in this conversation and to speak to your insight and contributions to this important work. Before we begin, I want to briefly mention that this event will run for 90 minutes, ending at 2:30 Pacific Standard Time. And I invite our audience members to share any questions you have for the panelists in the chat box and we'll be monitoring and collecting those questions to share with the authors at the end of the event, where we'll have roughly 20 minutes for Q&A. So we look forward to receiving your questions.
With that, I welcome the panelists to share their open remarks to this discussion. And I'd like to invite Dr. Rhonda Itaoui to start us off. The floor is yours.
Thank you, Basima. Thank you for your warm welcome and thank you to the Othering & Belonging Institute for hosting this event. As Basima has introduced me, I am currently working at the Center for Western Sydney at Western Sydney University. I did have the great pleasure to work at the Othering & Belonging Institute as a research fellow for around a year and a half I believe, if I've calculated correctly. So my involvement in the reading pack that I'll cover today for the Asia Pacific kind of came as a sequel to the annotated bibliography that I worked on for the United States with Elsadig Elsheikh, he's on this panel. And we were really interested in documenting the scholarly works on Islamophobia and creating a more accessible kind of shorthand resource that practitioners, teachers, policymakers, or researchers could then utilize in their studies around Islamophobia. And it was quite an exercise trying to figure out how to best organize this or the most accessible way we could consolidate such a large body of work.
When it was one country in the United States, I think it was a lot more simple, but when we did expand this to the Asia Pacific, we had to prioritize the countries that we would focus on based on where there was a large body of work being produced, but also trying to bridge the connections between quite distinct context but also very connected context as well, and drawing those connections across those various nations and in the ways that Islamophobia manifests. So within this resource pack, we collected just under 1500 citations across 10 countries in the Asia Pacific. And I'll go through the list and what you can see is some of these nations may have some similar attributes or more similar context as it relates to Islamophobia, but they are quite distinct as well as I've emphasized. So we covered in alphabetical order, Australia, China, India, Myanmar, New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
And our publication in looking at these countries tries to provide an overall summary of some of the main themes, some of the main issues and the trends that relate to Islamophobia in each of the listed country. And we do adopt a similar framework to what we had adopted in the 2018 version of the United States Reading Pack, looking thematically at how Islamophobia manifests across these nations according to the scholarly works in this field. But we did have a dual purpose as well in trying to highlight the countries where there may be significant issues of Islamophobia, but gaps in the current research and where they may need to be some more scholarly attention being paid to the research in those respective contexts. So we really do try to provide this thematically organized work. It was a very complex issue to cover across the Asia Pacific and especially over the last few years the research became more and more current and relevant, and unfortunately in some contexts covered extremely violent across the Asia Pacific.
So I think this is a really timely piece of work. It does consolidate quite large. Again, it's just under 1,500 pieces of work across the region that we do try to draw attention to the connections across the region and across the globe. So within the reading pack, I just want to flag one last thing before I close my opening remarks is we do have a theme around counter narratives and strategies. So based on the scholarly works, what are the current ways that Islamophobia is being challenged in each of those contexts? And what you'll find within our reading pack is in particular context, this has been more developed.
However, in some contexts there are very minimal counter narratives and strategies being adopted. And clearly a key point of action in terms of research, but also practitioners trying to tackle the issue that it is an area in need in the Asia Pacific, especially, as I've said, noting that Islamophobia has become quite a violent and critical issue to cover in the area. I'll stop there and I'll provide some time for questions and be able to engage a little more deeply in the rest of the themes.
Thank you, Rhonda. Thank you for setting the stage and sharing the thought process behind the research and thought process behind this significant and Herculean, like this giant body of work. I'm very excited to dig into it deeper. I would like to invite Elsadig to share some opening remarks as well.
Thank you, Basima. Thank you everybody. I would like just to say a couple of thoughts that I'm really privileged to have been in a work journey with those outstanding, phenomenal scholar and researchers you see in the screen, just to produce those two annotated bibliographies in Islamophobia in Asia Pacific and Europe. It was an very informative for me and pleasant journey despite unpleasant topic that we are investigating. So thank you Farid, Rhonda, Linda for your wisdom and for your scholarship in this.
So let me put my timer because I often go over time. So for me, the whole endeavor of looking at to consolidate our understanding of Islamophobia, because it seems to me it pops in different places, but we start as researcher to see there is a commonality. There is even the motivation could be different, but it seems the end result or the processes of the violent expression of it became so similar despite different cultural, linguistic and geographic locations.
But that also coincide with current, this global political climate that reflect new reality influenced by demagoguery and populist political forces. That at many times was present at the echelon of power in many countries, including ours when we start to dig into Islamophobia. So these forces conspire with the reemerging of supremacy and ethnonationalism ideology, for example either European or White supremacy in many of the western world, Hindutva supremacy in India, Buddhist supremacy in Myanmar, or even ideas like national cohesions as in the case of China. But the list could go on and on.
So that being this kind of demagoguery or nationalistic ethnonationalism being used and reused as a tool to drive wedge between mainstream society and minorities in general or minoritized group, whether that racial, ethnic or religious group on one hand. And also to mask political corruption and to avoid accountability by way of increasing fragmentation, fear-mongering and xenophobic tendencies in many society across the globe on the other hand.
We all know that Islamophobia is not a new phenomena. However, the current political climate that I mentioned, of governance collapse led to increased racial, ethnic and/or xenophobic prejudice and animosity to unprecedented level and has give rise to weaponize Islamophobia as a proxy to anti-Black, anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, grassroot movements in many countries across the globe. As such, Islamophobia emerged and re-emerged in the context of colonial legacy, structural racism and globalized neoliberal economic relations. So in that sense, for us Islamophobia moved away from an individual attitude or act to a more systematic and well-organized phenomena through robust globalized financial networks at times, whether within national legal or administrative mechanism to discriminate against Muslim in a wider spaces.
So as such, global contemporary Islamophobia movements, plural, operate with the sheer ambitious to scrutinize and dehumanize, undermine other Muslims, citizenry and agency as a form of othering group based on their religious identities or national origins. And also to seek to single out and exploit those minorities in general, including Muslim of course, as a political scapegoat and utility to mask failed economic and political projects and to function as anti-democratic tendencies as a proxy for racial anxiety within societies as they experience that.
So I would like just to close by how we at Othering & Belonging Institute this type of work. At OBI, we long believe that the frame of othering and belonging provides a critical perspective to examine and remedy the processes of exclusion, marginalization and structural and equality, and also the framework will help us to build a more inclusive and equitable society.
So in response to the experience of Muslims community here at home and globally, we sought to counteract all form of discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and to expose the poor structures that generate them. And ultimately by doing so, you could foster pathways towards more inclusive world. Additionally, as a part of a larger body of our work that exposes and challenges Islamophobia, those annotated bibliographies or reading resource packs identify academic publication, the document critique, provide counter narrative and suggest even solution to Islamophobia in this wider region, Asia Pacific and Europe. And also sometimes it's beyond because the phenomena and the relationship extend beyond the scholarly work itself.
So for me, this work has been undertaken to provide this critical and analytical lens in our research, advocacy and policymaking effort to build the society that we aspire to with equity at the heart of it. And in doing so, we seek really to counter all the form of discrimination, xenophobic related intolerance that I mentioned, because all of them, even though it seems Islamophobia directed toward Muslims, but at many times used as a whip against other minority groups and especially in the context of new arrivals. So I hope that this work would be a good utility to foster the world that we all want to live in. I'll stop here and we'll come back to our conversation later on. Thank you.
Thank you, Elsadig. I appreciate how you touched on the larger themes and threads and drivers of Islamophobia that we can see manifest across the world and how Islamophobia is being weaponized to undermine Muslims as well as other vulnerable groups and communities. Looking forward to continuing into that conversation. I'd now like to invite Dr. Linda Hyokki to share some opening remarks.
Thank you very much, Basima. So I got involved in this project a couple of years ago when I was still a PhD student. And back then when I was asked by my colleague, Dr. Farid Hafez if I would like to do the bibliography, annotated bibliography with him, I thought that, yeah, why not? Because actually as a PhD student back then, I was always kind of, especially in the beginning, I was struggling to find something exactly like this, something similar, some kind of a resource that would have helped me back then to have that first entrance into the literature on Islamophobia. And I thought that it was a very good idea, and I still do think so because throughout the years I have gotten some requests. Some students, they have always come to us or come to me asking, "Can you direct me to this or that readings? And I'm trying to figure out my MA thesis, my seminar paper, I don't have any literature."
And I was just hoping that our reading resource pack would've been already done. But thank God now it is, and I'm very happy that we will be able to share it. And especially also I'm happy to have Dr. Rhonda today with us talking about the Asia Pacific context as well because oftentimes I am involved in conversations on Islamophobia in Europe, and somehow we always try to or we tend to imagine that Islamophobia is just a problem of the west, so to say. So I really think that this is very helpful. It's balancing out the conversation and showing that Islamophobia indeed manifests itself around the globe, though in different variations, of course.
And just like Elsadig mentioned, in the European context as well, Islamophobia is not just about people's personal perceptions or opinions or prejudices or this sort of a thing. It also has this structural aspect. And I think that in the reading resource pack on Europe, we do have lots of literature listed and annotated also, they do go into the Muslim citizens and those perceived as Muslim, everyday experiences on Islamophobia. But definitely also it tackles the structural aspect. And I think that it's very important that this is being addressed because now more and more measures are brought up to push Muslims away from the civic space, sending them the message that you do not belong.
So if the Othering & Belonging Institute is publishing this reading resource pack, then I think that it's very fitting because I think fundamentally speaking, it is about belonging when we're talking about Islamophobia and other forms of racism. And it is indeed something that I think we, in our compilation of the literature that we selected, we tried to be fair to the different national contexts. Of course, we couldn't include publications in other languages than English. But we try to cover Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, just to show that it does also, within the European context, vary. But at the same time, there is this issue of European level institutional Islamophobia. And that is of course something that is largely connected to big, big political conversations. I mean, it goes so far now in our context that campaign materials that have been produced in workshops on capacity building for civil society to tackle hate speech, they have been censored from publication because they contain the hijab or they are addressing Muslim women's freedom to choose either to wear or not to wear the hijab. And these kinds of materials have been now censored from publication by the European Union itself. So yes, in Europe the situation is very interesting and I'm sure that we will be coming back to more in depth into that throughout this event. So that was my opening remark from my side, and I'm sure that my colleague will have much more to say.
Thank you, Dr. Hyokki. And I appreciated your points of balancing out the conversation and looking into Islamophobia beyond the Western context and expanding our understanding of Islamophobia beyond Europe and the United States. So thank you for all of your contributions to this work, this amazing product that we have here. And next I'd like to invite Dr. Farid Hafez to share some opening remarks.
All right, thank you everybody. And especially the Othering & Belonging Institute team that is behind and was behind this project from the beginning on, and especially in the last phases in terms of the layout and everything that was done by people who are unknown to me. So my gratitude and my thanks goes to everybody who was involved in this project. I can only second what Linda just said in terms of how important I think this Reading Resource Package is because it gives an orientation for a lot of students, a lot of people outside, maybe also of academia who are interested in that field.
And I would say there is one aspect I think that is especially crucial, like one thing to remind us all of. We all remember that this year the United Nations during the General Assembly has introduced the international day to combat Islamophobia for 15th of March, right? But there was, and some of you might know, that there were two countries that were two countries and one institution without voting right that were kind of questioning this whole day. And those were India, France, and the one without voting right, was the European Union.
Now we have here an Islamophobia Reading Package on Europe dedicated to how Islamophobia is working in Europe. The political background at which is at the background of what this is happening is that there are stakeholders, there are power circles that do basically not want to recognize still in the year 2023 and who are kind of ridiculing the idea that Islamophobia is a major problem. We see that also in an institutionalized form, right? We have the EU coordinator against anti-Muslim hatred and discrimination, basically not trying to tackle Islamophobia as a structural thing. So I think even beyond the academic endeavor that we have undertook here, there is an important political dimension to this whole project. So I'm very grateful that OIB embraced this idea and continued to work on that beyond the United States, expanding it not only to Europe, but also Asia and the Pacific.
Now, one of the things that I would also like to remind us of is if we go back into the more near future, we see that Islamophobia as a terminology actually, though it has a longer history, but the current use of the world originated from Britain, right? So it was, at the beginning, a very European focused discussion coming from the United Kingdom. I remember that I had a good colleague back in Austria who did in 2016, did an international bibliography on Islamophobia that back then included 1,100 titles alone, which is huge. And I think the fact that we have been able now to give some orientation in terms of this annotated bibliography is really helpful for a lot of people.
So one of the things that I would like to touch upon here is also the idea of what is Islamophobia in the first place. Everybody who has ditched into this whole theme knows that Islamophobia has... There are different connotations and different scholarly works, and people and authors do understand Islamophobia also in different ways when they use it. I think one of the interesting aspects here is obviously the Runnymede Trust original use in 1997 was very much coined by this idea of prejudice studies, right? So there is this idea of Islam and Muslim being an ontological category and looking at Islamophobia as a form of prejudice, basically saying that this is something that determines interpersonal relationships. So it was less about the structural, more about the personal.
One of the themes that you can often hear in this context was that this is an issue of minority-majority, right? So Islamophobia basically is regarded as an expression of mentalities and actions, a form of prejudice, an approach which is coming from social psychology and attempts to explain basically prejudices as the result of social psychological behavior patterns. So the focus is indeed individual patterns of thought and individual patterns of action.
And we can see very clearly that at the beginning of the emergence of the discussion of Islamophobia, this was a very dominant form of the discussion. While there was an article that was written in 2010 by Brian Klug, an Oxford University professor and a good colleague, who was arguing that Islamophobia came of its age, it has become something that has become a subfield of studies. And more important, what he was also hinting towards was a different way of approaching the question of Islamophobia. And this is what I would call the whole racism studies informed approach to understanding Islamophobia, which was that Islamophobia or anti-Muslim racism is not only a prejudice, something psychological, but a form of cultural racism in which religion is culturalized and transformed into the essential components of cultural conceptions of self and other, which is isn't. This is the most important aspect. It is about the hegemonic and the dominant discourse, which serves the stabilization of power structures.
So some authors also then started synthesizing the individual and the structural to include various dimensions here. I think these are really the two dominant literatures that you find in academia. Obviously, the European Union alone, depending on how you count it, has at least 24 official languages, right? So one of the questions we were discussing at the beginning was like, "How do we want to structure this? Do we want to do it similar to how Rhonda and Elsadig did the Asia piece looking at countries?" And we decided not to do that, but to follow the structure which you guys had used already for the American piece.
And on the one hand, because we have the European Islamophobia report, which is like an annual publication that anyway looks at all these European countries. But also one of the themes that we added, which was not there in the American piece, was antisemitism and Islamophobia. And I think that, and this is the last aspect I'm going to touch upon here, I think this is really important not only because antisemitism is obviously the prevalent form of racism that has haunted the European memory up until today since the end of the Nazi regime, but it is also something that is very unconvenient for European debates, right? Nobody really wants to have this conversation of Islamophobia and antisemitism because it brings the past into the present, right? It reminds us of patterns that existed in the past that they are reoccurring in the present.
So it is something that in the scholarship we have that. A lot of folks have been writing about that academics, and even more interestingly at the very beginning, some reports that were drafted by European Union institutions. But it is something that is more and more suppressed, because again it is something that implies the possibility of history to repeat itself, right? And therefore having the holocaust, especially in mind and often reducing the antisemitism to the Holocaust alone, while antisemitism is a 2,000 year old history in Europe, this is something, I think another conversation that we have to have.
All right. I see the sun is overtaking my picture. I'm going to fix this, but this is already everything that I wanted to say for the entry statement. Thank you.
Thank you, Dr. Hafez. And thank you for your comments and naming the significance and necessity of this work and the interventions we can make. So thank you all for your opening remarks. I'm going to transition us now to talk more specifically about the importance of doing this work to develop a greater understanding of Islamophobia and how to challenge Islamophobia as well as to discuss the key takeaways from this body of research and what is intersecting and influencing the proliferation of Islamophobia in different regions of the world.
So let's start with the work of the Asia Pacific Reading Resource Pack. And my first question is for Dr. Itaoui, and my question is, what are the key themes or attributes of Islamophobia in the Asia Pacific region that you've identified based on your work in this Reading Resource Pack, and how is it distinct or similar to other regional contexts?
Thank you, Basima. Thank you for the question. And thank you for everyone who's called in today. It was really great to hear also the opening remarks of my colleagues and reflecting on the European context.
Within the Asia Pacific context, again, as Sadig also pointed out we are actually over 1,500 citations, not just under. So it's quite an exercise to try to consolidate this, but I'll try my absolute best in terms of the complexity.
Within the Reading Pack, as I listed earlier, we did cover quite unique contexts within the region that included countries like Australia and New Zealand, but then also countries like China, Myanmar, Japan, looking at Thailand, India. So the diversity across those countries, of course, would produce very different forms of Islamophobia in some instances. And as I said earlier, some quite similar manifestations as well.
So what I would say is reflecting on the Reading Pack and all the work across these different countries is always probably three key forms of Islamophobia overall. And then I'll dive a little deeper into how some of these sub themes also organized within the Reading Pack.
So broadly, there were some similarities in the types of Islamophobia and how that manifested in the more kind of western context such as Australia and New Zealand. So some of the key themes and issues within those contexts were around issues of hyper securitization, really the influence of the war on terror and how that manifested and really shaped Islamophobia within those two contexts, kind of importing the US brand, I'd say, of Islamophobia within those two contexts. And within that, the ways in which xenophobia and exclusion from official policies and multiculturalism in those countries became quite undermined by Islamophobia.
So the forms, so how this manifested institutionally and at an individual level were quite subtle, but very harmful forms of Islamophobia that resulted in individual cases of Islamophobia and violence towards Muslim communities in both countries and then bubbled up to a very momentous and kind of key event that's somewhat shifted what Islamophobia looks like in both Australia and New Zealand. And that was the Christchurch attacks that took place in New Zealand. Those attacks in particular really connect the two contexts of Australian New Zealand because the perpetrator of those attacks was an Australian who, being unable to acquire the weapons used in those attacks in Australia, carried out the attacks in New Zealand where gun laws weren't as heavily regulated. So it's quite interesting to firstly see those connections across the two contexts. But overall, even prior to these attacks, some of the features that were documented in the scholarly works really brought attention to those similarities.
So in terms of the other contexts, I'll then shift over to a key theme that has really manifested across some contexts such as China, India, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka is this issue around rising ethnonationalism and ethno religious conflict in these key contexts. So what this has resulted in key contexts, again, like Myanmar and in India, really violent and deadly forms of Islamophobia where Muslims are facing increasing violent persecution. And this is only intensifying over the last few years.
And then I'd say the third kind of key trend that was observed within the scholarly works was around a uniquely Asian politicized version of Islamophobia in contexts like South Korea and Japan and Thailand. So these forms of Islamophobia really heavily relied on some of the historical context within these nations around the Muslim presence that really predate some of the more critical contexts of western nations.
So within the Reading Packs, what we do highlight is one of the key themes is the way in which it's really essential to ground our discussions of Islamophobia in the Asia-Pacific around the history and the context of each country and the way that the prejudice is really shaped by each nation's unique history of Islam, the colonial encounters across those contexts, and then the internal religious dynamics that emerge from those contexts. And that, again, is very distinct from contexts like settler colonial nations like Australia and New Zealand where the Muslim presence is a much more recent phenomena and therefore more heavily influenced by the global war on terror.
So I don't want to go on for too long, but I do want to quickly just dive into some of the key themes that we captured in the Reading Pack and just give you a very brief summary of what these key attributes looked like in each of the contexts. So we thematically organized all of the countries according to the scaffolding and the framework we had used in our US version of the annotated bibliography. So we really look at theorizing the field. And this again is looking at uniquely within each context how a scholars theorizing Islamophobia and what are the key attributes. So we really cover the complex sociopolitical histories in each of these nations and then also how global influences converge with those unique histories to produce the modern forms of Islamophobia that we're witnessing in each of these countries.
We then also cover a key theme that we title National Security and Foreign Policy. So this looks at firstly how the global war and terror might be shaping and influencing national security and foreign policy measures in each of the countries, but then also how these forms of national security policies are again uniquely shaped by each of the national contexts.
I want to quickly just highlight a key kind of contradiction I'd say that we tracked in some of this work is how some countries, despite having quite institutionalized forms of Islamophobia and also everyday forms against Muslims, there are also foreign policy movements within each countries to foster more positive relations with Muslim nations. So for example, Halal tourism, it is quite a substantial part of Japan's current foreign policy connections with the Muslim world. And it's as well a similar kind of dichotomy occurs in China where there's a widespread persecution of the Uyghur population, but then also politically the nation is trying to leverage its connections with Muslim countries for economic purposes.
So it's quite an interesting theme that we've seen across some of the key contexts, is again this contradiction of national security policies that other and discriminating against Muslims. But then on the flip side, politically trying to forge connections with the Muslim world, again, for economic purposes.
We then also cover citizenship and national identity. And just a very quick breakdown around some of the key attributes. So we track a rise in ultra white-wing nationalism, so similar to the European context in nations like Australia and New Zealand where white nationalism is excluding Muslims. But then on the flip side, across Asia, we also track more intense forms of ethno religious conflict that I had just mentioned. And then finally across other contexts like in the Philippines and in China, really institutionalized exclusion of Muslims from citizenship. And we see how that manifests across different countries in different ways.
We also cover xenophobia and how xenophobia and Islamophobia intertwine. We see that this particularly manifests in Australia, in New Zealand and Korea as well. We cover how this theme manifests across all the different countries. Again, too much to probably cover now. We look at themes across our mainstream and digital media. So really two key areas here where across most of the countries, how the media perpetuates and intensifies Islamophobia, but then also how digital forms, especially social media, have really perpetuated Islamophobia into a widespread violent form across countries like Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and India, and being used to spread misinformation and really contributing to a really intensified marginalization of Muslims.
And finally, how these digital platforms are being used to counter Islamophobia or challenge Islamophobia across Muslims in these countries. We also then look at how othering and discrimination is unique in each of the contexts. And again, we see some similarities with the global North in contexts like Australia and New Zealand, but then also more unique forms across some of the countries that we've profiled.
We also look at the gendered forms of Islamophobia, especially around the demonization of Muslim men in particular contexts. And interestingly, the import of the "Love jihad" in India around this notion that Muslim men are forcing Muslim women into marriage is being imported into other parts of Asia, like Myanmar, also Korea. So some connections across those more gendered forms. And then on the flip side, how Muslim women are unfairly targeted because of being readily identified across some of these countries.
We then also look at how Islamophobia is affecting social mobility across education, across the workplace and the labor market in these different countries. We look at geography and public space, so how Islamophobia affecting the way Muslims are engaging in different spaces and how the spatial politics of Islamophobia makes it difficult for Muslims to establish religious sites across these different countries. And then finally, the limited work around counter narratives and strategies. And one of the key, I think, similarities across all these countries is the role of the digital space in being able to challenge and work against and provide counter narratives to Islamophobia in each of these countries, and how multi-faith networks and education are being used to counter Islamophobia across these contexts. It's quite difficult to cover all of it. That is a brief summary of what I believe is 170 page document across these contexts.
But overall, what I'd like to say is in interrogating these unique, really interesting contexts, is firstly the importance of the historical kind of backdrop within each of these countries, because it does result in quite a unique form of Islamophobia, especially in the Asia Pacific, because of those deeper historical roots with Islam. And however, I don't want to underestimate or undermine really the immense impact that the global war on terror has had on these contexts as well, and therefore the connections that manifest across the countries.
Thank you so much Rhonda, and thank you for summarizing that immense amount of research into just a couple minutes summary. So thank you for that. And we'll have more time to engage in Q&A hopefully, to dive further. I would like to invite Elsadig to respond next. And my question for you is, why is this work on Islamophobia important and what purpose does it serve?
Thank you Basima. Let me start by this. I think because of those issues that Rhonda tried to map out for us is, I think that's the reason why Islamophobia... This type of work and Islamophobia is so important because the more and more Islamophobia became weaponized, it tell us something else about those contexts across the globe, but particularly, let me stick with Asia Pacific, because this kind of... We work as an ideological organizing principles, especially when we look at the collapse of governance. By that I mean we can divorce Islamophobia from the rise of neoliberalism project of the 1980s onward and how that type of project led to complete collapse of governance across the world. And especially so far in, you can see it manifested widely in the global south. So Islamophobia became handy, very handy, and you could substitute Muslim with any other groups.
The important key point that Rhonda mentioned that you cannot forget the unrealistic notion of the war in terror itself. Try to reorganize the whole entire world. So this type of poor struggle and global hierarchy and dominance between global north and global south, it's all fit into this idea of trying to structurally silencing the collective global south or the global other. So Islamophobia work in very interesting whip in two different directions. We've seen for the first time, surprisingly in the last year or so, the openness of China for example, into the more traditional conservative Muslims, majority countries like Saudi Arabia and others. But at the same times, they hammer and persecute the Muslim minorities in their own context. So it's very hard to figure out how you understand this without actually see Islamophobia as really weaponizing a couple of things.
Maybe also, I hope we all as a group, we will do one work maybe in the future in Islamophobia in majority Muslim countries and how that actually appeared and how it works, because it became more than just dehumanizing those aspects, that more is saving grace of the failing political and economic project within these nations. So for me, this work important because of that organizations that try to erode citizen rights. And also, we can democratic institution at the same times, because you can't survive. For neoliberalism to survive, two things has to happen simultaneously. Citizen rights has to be eroded, and a democratic institution has to be weakened to the extent that to became just tokenism. And we see that obviously in the European context, in American context, but now in the last...
Since the beginning of the 21st century, we see it traveling across the world. So firstly, let me say just three ways in which I see Islamophobia weaponized to erode democracy. First, I hope that time will help me here, but I'll go very quickly to stick to five minutes. So firstly, we see that administrative policy, judicial activities, and discriminatory laws that are now became... It seems natural in their face, like if you take the case of India, like the Citizenship Act for example, or the argument of the Chinese government that say we want to bring about the social cohesions of the country, or in case of Sri Lanka, to fight terrorism, or in the case of the Philippines to say something very similar that to create more autonomous area for Muslim, which is, at the face of it, you say, this sounds like all nice and dandy, but at the end of the day, there is one particular group being targeted with us.
So it became very easy for most of those lawmakers to target just Muslim populations and minority group and to try to push for legislation rather than actually tackling the collapse of the governance itself, their political economic projects. And I cannot mention United States here, United States also, we should be consider United States of the part of the Pacific as well, is the leadership of United States doing that in a legal framework like how the proliferation of anti-Sharia for example. Legislation in United States have nothing to do with anything actually what is being discussed. But it gives a very nice way to escape responsibility and that's what I mean by political corruption and collapse of governance. So allow those lawmakers and legislators actually to wash their hand from their responsibility of providing to the citizen across the board, even than Muslim citizens. So it's easy to pick up a fight that you assume it's much easier and you can distract the public and you engage in non-meaningful work.
So if that led to violent attack against Muslim, let be it, because the othering process that they already inquire, it helps them in that way. But this not to undermine that there is a concerted organized effort at the bottom pushing for what we see at the top. So it worked like accordion for both sides, from the administrative side, legislative side, into weaponized grassroots political movement that being taken hostage by the right wing. So when that all happened at this time of the vacuum of political project is detrimental to democratic, to protecting a democratic institution. But it's also Islamophobia manifested in policing regime, and providing and all that.
And that's also the surveillance torture and all the bad stuff. On that scene across Asia Pacific, it takes different shapes and it depends about which contacts we're talking about. But it's all trickle as Rhonda mentioned. The war in terror provide the blueprint for that. And even if you move outside of the Asia Pacific, you can see it for example in some African countries. So it became that's how being weaponized and in doing so, all the wonderful talk about expanding democratic north of civil society, it became less and less actually available to citizen who are not Muslims. For all non-Muslim citizens in those nations, their own rights became in question, and don't want me to remind you of the Filipino journalist or the Indiana scholars that they face tremendous scrutiny just because of they speak of against certain violence. They will be taken to court, they will be threatened, and that's across the board.
So you can't touch anything but not touching those issues. And for me, that's how Islamophobia really became a right weapon for anti-democratic forces for the right wing. They can work actually across even locations. And that's the reason why winning of one Islamophobes in this particular part of the world, helping others. And you see that concerted effort and relationships. But for me as a researcher, I always wonder, bug me the questions that around the buzz to us, like these are contradictions. What's the role of Muslim majority countries, what is it that in the name of economic relationships or economic interest, you are willing to sacrifice the extension of those populations, or just to stand up for equity and equal treatment across the board, if you're going to protect other religious minority within Muslim majority countries. So how that will play out. So it is very interesting and it shows that the global politics actually being crippled by the war in terror, being crippled by the collapse of governance, being crippled by the larger failure of neoliberal economic relationships. I'll stop here. Thank you.
Thank you Elsadig and Dr. Itaoui For your comments and for sharing the high level findings and analysis on Islamophobia in the Asia Pacific region. I'd now like to turn to Europe to bring our attention to contextualize the phenomenon of Islamophobia in Europe, and to hear from the authors of the European Reading Resource Pack. And I'm going to ask that we keep our responses to five minutes just so we can manage our time for our remaining time together. And my first question is for Dr. Hyökki, and I'd like for you to walk us through how is race and whiteness connected to Islamophobia in the European context?
Very difficult question to answer of course in five minutes, but I will try to give a couple of insights. Readers will notice when they are looking at the Reading Resource Pack that these keywords, race and racism, of course also they pop up every now and then throughout the different categories that we have also covered just as Rhonda just listed, the categories. We actually have quite similar ones I think, if not all the same. And whiteness in general of course is something very sensitive to the European identity. Islam generally in Europe, most probably also in other parts of the world, is perceived as the religion of any anybody else but not ours. So it's perceived as an immigrant religion, it's not perceived as something that belongs to Europe or it's not perceived as a white religion because Europe generally, it has been relying heavily on this narrative, of course Christian identity.
Then there is this connection that has been brought up with the Judeo-Christian heritage, of course in the aftermath of the Holocaust also kind of like reconciliating the damage that was done by those atrocities. But the thing is this, that you can approach the whiteness or race and Islamophobia, all of these things and their intersections, you can approach it from different perspectives. One would be white supremacy for instance, which also was mentioned by Rhonda in the example of the Christchurch massacre. The shooter actually, he had also ideological connections to European history where Bosniak Muslims were slaughtered by Serbs, local Serbs, but also others, and solely based on the fact that they were Muslims. I mean, here where I am currently residing in Bosnia and Herzegovina obviously, the thing is that there was the phenotype, whiteness as a phenotype would not have made any difference. It was just about the fact that once religious affiliation literally made the other person the other that had to be dealt with and it was problematized and so on and so forth.
So this, let's say second shame of the European recent history after the Holocaust, I would say, was also connected to... It is largely connected to worldwide white supremacy. Just like Elsadig also mentioned that these right wing politics, the groups, the movements, they are already operating trans-nationally and they have these connections, right? So whiteness and race and Islamophobia, or if you want to call it anti-Muslim racism, which is also very much acceptable. And myself, I actually prefer it rather more like that. It is connected to this national belonging, national identity. And myself, I have studied Muslim converts, and here it's very interesting how for instance, they upon becoming Muslims, they are set to lose their whiteness so to say. We do also have these articles in the Reading Resource Pack by other researchers as well who are tackling this issue of how it is that a person can become so much racialized only because of this change of religion and identity and especially when it's visible.
Because at the same time when a person, let's say for instance myself, if I wouldn't be wearing the headscarf, many people wouldn't be able to even assume that I am a Muslim. But with the headscarf, I make my religious affiliation very visible, and then I become vulnerable and I am victimized and I'm otherized. So I think that it is fundamentally, we are talking about this kind of like an attempt of... Sort of like a struggle for, let's say survival in terms of ethnic survival, which is absolutely of course something that cannot be justified on. It's not even, let's say reasonable. I think in terms of theories such as the great replacement and such, immigrants and Muslims replacing the European Native Nations, it is just fear-mongering and at the end of the day, the question is only, "What is all fuss about?"
Of course for us as researchers and people orienting towards diversity and inclusion, for us, it's of course very unreasonable. But for many others, it just seems to be that it is easy to always blame the other and look for the scapegoats somewhere else than in your own team, so to say. I hope I was keeping within the time for this one.
Thank you Dr. Hyökki. I'm going to jump into my final question for this round for Dr. Hafez. And I'll ask you two questions, but if we need to spill over into the Q&A or closing remarks, we can accommodate that. So the first part is, what are the specificities of Islamophobia in various European countries? And you mentioned in your previous comments the reluctance of European institutions to recognize Islamophobia. And so I'm curious, what are the current challenges of fighting Islamophobia in Europe today? And you have five minutes.
All right, I'll try to keep it short and spicy. All right. First of all, I think one interesting aspect is obviously, and you will see that in the literature, that there is more focus rather on Western Europe, because this is unfortunately also where you have much, much more quantitatively speaking, much more research in English language. But if you look at the east of Europe, obviously when we had the influx of a lot of refugees coming from Syria and Iraq back in 2014, 2015, there was an enormous increase of Islamophobia in the political stage, which it can be contrasted to the fact that there are nearly no Muslims living there. I mean, we have in a lot of Eastern European countries like let's say Hungary, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, et cetera, those are countries with some of them 0.0 something percentage of the whole population is Muslim. So we have this idea of strong Islamophobia though some of the countries with most Islamophobia because it was so much pushed in the public arena by the politicians who are in power, not the opposition, not the far right opposition, but often authoritarian-like politicians in power.
Also, what Elsadig spoke about, we should never forget that we have countries in Europe that have not only Muslim minorities but large minorities, like native minorities. If we speak about Bosnia, where Linda is residing, or if we speak about other countries like France or Austria, where nearly a bit less than 10% of the whole population meanwhile has been become Muslim. So especially in those interesting contexts where you have native Muslim populations like Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia, or even the Pomaks in Bulgaria and minorities in Romania, the whole dynamics of how Islamophobia works and plays out is quite different to what we see in Western Europe. So we also tried to our utmost, with that scholarship that is available in English, to include that.
And then there are some good works here. The other thing is in terms of your second question, so just to come to my end, the reluctance that we see on behalf of a lot of European institutions to recognize has grown much worse. I would say Europe is not Europe. So we have different countries who have different strategies. Even those 27 countries who are united in the European Union, they may differ a lot when it comes to the treatment of their Muslim minorities. But, and this is a big but, the issue and the challenge at the moment is that you have very strong countries who are at the forefront of those who are institutionalizing Islamophobia, like for instance France. And they're doing everything to not only have these institutionalized forms of Islamophobia materializing in France, but really to export it to the rest of Europe.
So I would say there is currently really a struggle on the European supranational level of how different nation states try to convince the others what to do. And unfortunately, I would argue there is a tendency of those who are very hostile to export their understanding of how they should treat Muslims. And in the last, I mean, some of you who might have been following what is going on in France, and this is getting more attention, especially in the U.S. media like the New York Times and others, there is this idea of Islamophobia that I would say plays out in three different ways. First of all, it is basically the attempt to extinguish any kind of Muslim visibility. To give one example, this recent abaya ban for students in schools, in public schools in France. The other aspect of Islamophobia is the attempt to basically withdraw the rights for Muslims to organize themselves in associations similar to other citizens and to other people of the population. We have seen that in the huge crackdown that happened with the Macron government a couple of times, also in Austria and other countries.
The third aspect is, and I think that speaks very much to ... and the first two aspects too. But the third aspect speaks especially to what Elsadig has been saying, the shrinking of civil society, even to the extent that every sort of resistance to that attempt to shrink civil society space and to implement more and more authoritarian measures, even that sort of resistance is being criminalized.
We had the largest watchdog in France, the Collective of Islamophobia in France, being closed because the Ministry of Interior was saying whoever speaks about Islamophobia is supporting terrorism. Then they came with anti-terrorism legislation, speaking again to what Rhonda has mentioned in terms of how the global war on terror is part and parcel of our understanding of contemporary Islamophobia.
So there are challenges, there are pushbacks, but I would not say that the current state of the art and the future that we see in the next couple of years might be too bright for Muslim people.
Thank you, Dr. Hafez. Thank you all for sharing your insight and critical analysis on Islamophobia in the global context and for drawing out how Islamophobia is being instrumentalized around the globe and for giving us a peek into this rich and much needed body of work.
I want to invite each of you to share some final thoughts, and maybe for this, two to three minutes so we can have time for hopefully one or two questions in the Q&A. I'd like to invite Dr. Hafez to start us off. So if you have any connecting thoughts, feel free to jump in.
Okay. Are we already with the questions or ...
This is closing comments, and then we'll have time for hopefully one or two questions from the audience.
Okay. Well, I'm going to make it very short in order just to secure some time for the debate.
But yeah, I think altogether I'm very happy that beyond the US reading package on Islamophobia, we have now the one in Europe and the one in Asia and the Pacific because I really think it will show and amplify more and more to interested audience and the wider readership that first of all, this is a global question. As Linda said at the very beginning, some people assume that this is a majority-minority issue in the Western Hemisphere. No, it is not. It is global. It has implications on all of these different levels into which we structured our reading resource package. So I hope that this will really be a huge contribution in that sense. Thank you.
Thank you. Dr. Hyökki, I'd like to invite you to share any closing remarks.
Well, I mean obviously I second, of course, that what Farid also said about the hopes for this publication to be beneficial for as many stakeholders as possible. But finally, I feel that it is time that this ... I hope for a time where we don't have a job anymore, where we don't have to research Islamophobia anymore. I'm sorry, my colleagues, but that would be great and we can maybe do something else like maybe mathematics or physics, I don't know.
But I really do hope that there would be such a time because it's really getting frustrating just to trying to always, as Muslims especially, when you're trying to explain to people that you are constantly pushed to justify yourself. You're constantly being pushed to explain yourself, et cetera, and fight for your own right to exist the way how you are, especially this conversation about race and racism and whiteness. Even though I also said that it's always easier to seek for blame in others than in your own team, but it is time that we consider ourselves, all of us, as part of one team. So this is actually the gist of belonging that everybody can belong the way how they just are and contribute to the society with their specifics and attributes and wonderfulness. So that's my closing.
Thank you. Elsadig, I invite you to share any closing remarks you might have.
Yeah, being threatened by the timeframe. But yeah, no, I definitely I see, and I agree with Linda. I'm already sharpen my tools to move beyond Islamophobia, and I wish we never had to research that topic. But unfortunately, I will report back to say this is impossible because the structural conditions for weaponizing Islamophobia is going to exist. If we win the fight against Islamophobia, will be another form of others. That's my closing remark.
I think just a couple of thoughts. We need to think if we radically imagine the world we want to live in in our future, we should ask the question what it takes to get there. What is it it takes to get there? I think one of the thing that we learn within the context of the United States is we have to build coalition across the board, across all marginalized group.
Second, and thus it could be very prevalent in the context of Asia Pacific. But it's also unfortunately in Europe, how Muslim being in a slaughter and nobody actually come to the rescue. What that will tell us, necessitate that Muslims' communities, they need to learn from each other. So we need to foster a way in which to create global containers for a scholarship, but also for civil society mobilizations. That's to do the bridging between Muslims' community and non-Muslim majority countries, but is also to strengthen the self-confidence of fighting back. Like how the French Republic with all its arrogance of secularism is actually just attacking Muslim to appear to the wider right wing potential voters.
So I can't imagine what the future for France is. Whether Macron or Le Pen win, what is the future by going down this rabbit hole and what implications that will have, for example, in the Francophone world? We've seen it already. People in certain Muslim majority or minority African countries that are francophone, they despise the French because of what they do, because it's connected. They see that.
So for me, as a person who try to work in expanding belonging as a global currency, how I'll constantly think about how we bridge ... not we bridge to the enemy, but how we bridge across our own even affiliation but not understanding each other as a Muslim community across the globe.
One too, how to strengthen our civic engagement with each other, but it's also to assert our position as Muslims, that we are proud of who we are regardless of what type of Islam is. I think those kind of features are very important in the fight against Islamophobia in the context like very vicious like in Myanmar, for example. Can we try to break through to Myanmar or China? But always the signals come out of the West, with the leadership of United States and the European Union. It's so relentlessly and repackaged in a very neutral face value. But that's how the West is being encouraged to do so in the name of national security, national cohesion, or protecting theirself from terrorism.
So I think it's a call for all of us to rethink a formation of the global mobilization against Islamophobia, with the caveat that we need to be in that work with others, nullified, marginalized groups. We can't just pick and choose. If I want other people to be in solidarity with me, I have first to show up. Thank you.
Thank you. To close us out for this part, I invite Dr. Itaoui.
Thank you, and thank you Elsadig, Linda, and Farid. I think I'll keep this very brief. I think you've covered most of what I might have mentioned as well. What I'd like to say is, I do hope that these reading packs provide a synthesis and an evidence base to propel some of that positive movement and work. What we have highlighted are the key interconnections. We've highlighted the unique context of each nation, and we've also, I think, within our work really demonstrated how there are some particular ways of moving forward and how there are counter narratives and strategies that are being adopted and the ways that we can continue to build on that. So I do hope that we've provided collectively through these annotated bibliographies and a lot of work that went into that synthesis, the groundwork for some of that positive movement and a way to start the conversation in how to best take action moving forward.
Thank you. Thank you all so much for sharing your closing remarks. I believe we have some time for one or two questions from the audience to the panelists. The first one that I believe we have is, "What are some ways that Muslims and non-Muslims can build bridges and understanding?" It's open to whoever wants to jump in. I know Elsadig touched on some of that in your closing remarks, but if anyone else wants to comment, feel free. Yes.
I think that a very good way is to just open an honest dialogue, where it's not just about comparing, for instance, religious beliefs, but also actually seeking for a common ground. I'm always a big fan of forming alliances for anything that we do, especially when it's in the fight for social justice. I believe that when we find a common ground that we can stand on and we can work towards for, we can also at the same time appreciate the differences that we bring into the conversation as different individuals coming from different backgrounds and see that diversity actually is something that enriches us and doesn't bring us down.
Thank you. Yes, Dr. Itaoui.
Yeah. I'd like to just quickly add as well, based on my reading and an engagement with the literature, I think the power of digital platforms like social media as a counter narrative to mainstream media that usually perpetuates Islamophobia. So I think it's a double-edged sword in some ways because social media has had a very powerful effect in building, I think, understanding and insight into the Muslim experience, especially for example TikTok with Ramadan and how it's provided people around the world with insight into what it might be like for Muslims to fast Ramadan and building understanding around some of the Muslim practices and really humanizing the faith based on the lived experience of Muslims.
But then on the flip side, social media has been used as well to reinforce division and especially in particular context of Asia, incite violence against Muslims. So I would signal with caution that I think social media and alternative digital platforms have quite a powerful potential to contribute to building bridges and understanding, with the caveat that it might also be used to really produce the opposite effect.
Thank you. Any other comments? Otherwise, we can go to our second question. Oh, I saw you unmute, Dr. Hafez. Would you like to comment?
No, I would jump on another question. That's fine.
Okay, let's do our second one, which is, "Do you think in the future, India could be the main exporter of Islamophobia globally thanks to the large Indian diaspora worldwide, its increased influence, and social media's role in it all?" Anyone is welcome to jump in.
Yeah, a very short take, although I have not written the Asian part, but I would rather like to touch upon this issue from the perspective of geopolitics because looking at the Islamophobia studies literature, you will see that within the first maybe 15 years, there was a huge amount of especially reports from US think tanks, but also other work that has highlighted the big money for the Islamophobia industry coming basically from those foundations and interest groups that are aligned by the radical right in Israel, presuming that any kind of Muslim agency would pose a long time threat for them if Muslims become stronger in the US. So there has been a very strong concentration on this aspect.
Now, with the more recent developments, that it has been now a strong focus on the United Arab Emirates as one of the sponsors of many of these Islamophobic policies in Europe and elsewhere.
Obviously, India has also become one of these big global players, not only mingling in issues like in Washington DC, where they're trying to emphasize their position in regards also to some of the critics from journalism and academia who are questioning many of the things that the Modi government is currently doing, but also some of you might be aware of the statistics that argues that most Islamophobic tweets emerge from India. I think there is a geopolitical dimension to how Islamophobia plays out and especially in regards to the question of who finances all of that.
So yeah, I think this is something in general that we should keep in mind, and we should also not exclude other countries that might not be so much at the focus currently, like let's say for instance, China, which also has a very clear agenda when it comes to its more western territories in Xinjiang, and even regional powers like Russia, for instance, in their attempt to stabilize their power, especially in the more southern regions where you have a lot of Muslim populations.
So I think that the geopolitical dimension to this question is a very, very crucial one that we should never overlook. The more research we have there, the more information is out there, the better.
Thank you so much. Thank you audience for your questions for the panelists. Oh, Elsadig, would you ... Yes, very quickly, would you like to jump in?
Yeah, I just want to add to that. I really would love for us to separate between India diaspora and the State. I'm really not comfortable lump sum both of them as a barrel of Islamophobia. It could be individual because Islamophobia is really structural from what we've been seeing and doing. So the structure of elite class in India wishing for that for obvious political reasons. I hope and I think and I believe, and I want to believe that diaspora could actually oppose the expansion of Islamophobia in the diaspora.
So to answer the question, I do not think that because of the large India diaspora around the world, we will have an expansion of Islamophobia. I think the other way around. Maybe this diaspora could work as a whip against the national egoistic, neofascist leadership in India, and to double that, all the discriminatory aspect, including Islamophobia.
Thank you. Thank you everyone for your comments and taking those questions. Thank you audience for posing those questions to our panelists. Thank you everyone for this rich and thought-provoking conversation and discussion. I also want to extend appreciation to my colleague at the Othering & Belonging Institute, Marc Abizeid, for running the show behind the scenes. Thank you all in the audience for joining us today. If you'd like to re-watch or share this event, we will have it posted on the Othering & Belonging Institute website shortly. So thank you everyone again for joining.
Thank you, everybody.