review by Judy Hanazawa
On February 2, 2016 at SFU Harbour Centre, Ron Nishimura and Judy Hanazawa of the GVJCCA Human Rights Committee, attended a lecture called “Muslims in an age of Islamophobia and ISIS: towards a holistic stance of Justice,” presented by Omid Safi, a leading American Muslim intellectual and director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center. Professor Safi was also in Vancouver as expert witness at a Supreme Court proceeding regarding John Nuttall and Amanda Korody, a couple described as radical followers of Islam, who were found guilty last summer of plotting to set bombs off at the BC Legislature.
Safi noted the onus has been placed upon Muslims by the media and politicians alike, to publicly condemn acts of terror. He concludes all are responsible for what is happening and for engaging in creating necessary change despite Muslims obligingly asserting their hate and condemnation of ISIS. In today’s world, Islamophobia is a growing social reality, promoted within the media by so called experts on “Islamic inspired terrorism.” He referred to industry pioneers Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington, whose work has been used and quoted verbatim in US policy.
But in order to effectively combat Islamophobia, Safi asserts all issues of social injustice need to be collectively addressed. “Justice has to be holistic, and a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We have to remember that the conversation about Islamophobia is inseparable from the conversation on racism, sexism, militarism, xenophobia, and others.”