Rasmus Paludan and Islamophobia in Europe
By: Onny Firyanti, Head of the Maemuna Center (Mae-C)
A racist Swedish-Danish politician, right-wing extremist and ultranationalist, Rasmus did the wrong thing again by burning the Qur’an, the holy book of Muslims. After last week’s action near the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday (27/1), he carried out his action near a mosque in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Paludan established the right-wing Stram Kurs party in Denmark on March 16, 2017. His party consists of people who hate immigrants and Islam. But in the country’s elections, his party failed to garner the minimum votes (200 votes) in any city, thus they have no seats in parliament.
In his track record, Rasmus Paludan was jailed for two months in Denmark for his provocative actions in 2019. Paludan was charged with 14 counts, including racism, insulting and reckless driving. He was also banned from acting as a lawyer for three years and received a one-year driving ban.
Paludan was banned from entering Sweden for two years since September 2020. He was also banned from entering Germany when he wanted to carry out his action in Berlin. Paludan and his colleagues were also arrested in Brussels, Belgium for the same action. Meanwhile in France, Paludan was also arrested and deported in November 2020.
A report titled European Islamophobia Report 2020 stated that Islamophobia in Europe has worsened over the last two years. The mainstream political movements in the Blue Continent were considered to have contributed by legitimizing and giving permission for acts of insulting and harassing Islam with the excuse of fighting extremism.
The report was compiled by Enes Bayrakli, a professor of international relations at Istanbul-based Turkish-German University, and Farid Hafez, a political scientist from Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative.
Bayrakli revealed that harassment of Muslims in cyberspace has increased significantly. “This is worrying because such narratives can create a climate for physical attacks to occur in the real world,” he said.
Meanwhile Hafez described cases of Islamophobia that occurred in a number of European countries. Germany has documented more than 31,000 cases of hate crimes. A total of 901 of them were cases of hate speech and anti-Muslim actions. Meanwhile, France recorded 1,142 cases of hate crimes. Victims of 235 cases of which are Muslims.
Not only Germany and France, Muslims in Austria also faced difficult years. In that country, cases of Islamophobia have doubled to 812 cases. Meanwhile, the government is seen as being involved in institutionalizing Islamophobia.
Why Islamophobia occurs
In the author’s view, a person/community can experience Islamophobia for at least two reasons, firstly because they receive wrong information, secondly because they have hatred for Muslims in their hearts.
In the case of Islamophobia in the West, the authors tend to choose the first option, which is receiving wrong or incomplete information, so that they have a bad view of Islam. Or it could be that they receive information about Islam from non-Muslims so that they misrepresent the face of Islam.
So, it is the duty of Muslims to convey da’wah politely, peacefully and lovingly to non-Muslims, including to the West. Westerners need to get correct and complete information about Islam and the Quran from people who truly understand Islam and the Quran.
Furthermore, non-Muslims will judge whether Islam is good or bad by looking at the morals and behavior of Muslims. So, we as Muslims must have noble character, as exemplified by Rasulullah Shallallahu alaihi Wasalam.
As for the second option, because of hatred towards Muslims, we don’t need to worry too much. Because since the time of the Prophet Muhammad, there have been people hated Islam and our religion has proven existed, continue growing and developing.
In Al-Qur’an surah As-Shaff  verse 8, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala guarantees that He will perfect the light of Islam, even though infidels, polytheists and hypocrites hate Islam.
“They want to extinguish Allah’s light with their (deceitful) mouths, but Allah (in fact) perfects His light, even though the disbelievers hate it”.
So, let’s unite in da’wah, synergize in brotherhood and advise each other on the path of obedience. Make up our mind, strengthen our faith, and there must be a blessing in disguise that Allah has prepared the best behind the acts of defamation against the Qur’an and Islam in the West.
Our task is to do the best in this da’wah, the rest, we put tawakkal to Allah, because He is the One who rules and takes care of the universe. Human hearts are all in his grasp.
We pray that the one who insult the Qur’an today will one day receive guidance, become devout Muslims. Or his actions will become a witness to society how Islam is humiliated and insulted, this religion will continue to grow like flowers in spring.
Wallaahu a’lam bis shawab.
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)