In recent months, the west has seen an alarming increase in the number of hate-crimes against Muslims. Throughout Europe and the US, extreme right-wing political movements are gaining legitimacy with disenfranchised whites, who reminisce for the old days of segregation and white privilege. Many of these people are desperately looking for an outlet for their anger, and Muslims are an easy target. Attacks against Muslims are on the rise, including vandalization of Mosques, horrific verbal abuse, and the ripping of burkas from womens’ heads.
As the justification for their hatred, many Islamaphobes cite terrorism and ISIS, forgetting that the vast majority of Muslims will never commit an act of terror. In many cases, the term ISIS has now become nothing more than code for “I’m an Islamaphobe”. Trump’s call to ban all Muslims on national television, only gave further credence to these hateful segments of society, giving them a platform to promote and spread their bigoted ideas. The hateful rhetoric of the Brexit campaign and similarly vile movements in other European countries has made Islamaphobia mainstream, and undone decades of liberal progress in Europe.
Religious and racial hatred simply cannot be tolerated in a modern, tolerant, left-wing democracy. If we want to see multiculturalism and diversity continue to thrive in the west, then we need to set boundaries for right-wing extremists. Hate speech against Muslims, Arabs, or any non-white race should be outlawed and severely punished. The moment we allow hate speech of this kind, we set ourselves down the slippery slope towards fascism. And for the sake of our children, we cannot allow this to continue.