Is Islamophobia a political tool?

Backed with nationalism and populism, Islam has become the scapegoat of the Western internal crisis.

Islamophobia is the "unfounded hostility towards Muslims, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims," according to a 1991 Runnymede Trust Report. It was based on the context of Muslims in the UK and Europe in general.

According to Roberto Savio, founder of IPS, it has become the scapegoat for the western crisis. He suggests this crisis is fueled by greed and fear, both which have been catalyzed by this hatred.

Uncontrolled capitalism after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 has seen greed as a positive, but reality shows otherwise. Inequality has risen, 200 people have the equivalent wealth of 2.2 billion people. Middle classes are declining with 3% less in Europe and 7% in the US, according to the World Bank.

In Brazil, Savio says, 40 million people who rose to the middle class are taking the streets because the fear slipping back to poverty.

The creation of the Islamic State in 2014 and the refugee crisis are adding to the crisis of democracy, but they are not the cause right wing parties, nationalism and populism are taking over western governments.

They are an easy target because the effects they're having on Europe are obvious. Terrorists attacks in Brussels and Paris set fear in society, and avalanches of people reaching European coasts, seeking for protection and better opportunities as seen as potential threats.

Saying Muslims and Islam are a threat gives a face to all there is to fear for an unknown future, but it doesn't explain nor its to blame for the social, political and economic crisis suffered by Europe in the last decades.

This is also happening in the US with Donald Trump's  Republican Nomination. His proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US is the clearest prove of Islamophobia.

Savio says fear of losing the world they know and are comfortable with is fueling people to support unconventional leaders. A call for a better yesterday is the tool right wing parties have use to justify and fund their proposals. Nationalism and populism have helped this tide as well.

People forget the causes of this problems and focus on a future that seems unlikely. Many of the refugees come from wars started by the west, and Europe can't go back to its past. More so, this crisis is causing governments to abandon its proclaimed identity and reach deals that keep refugees out of their countries.

But, what's the price? Europe is exchanging 1 million Syrians for 6 billion dollars and opening doors to 70 million Turks, remarks Savio.

"The West is playing an ISIS game. To create a war of religions is the dream. To oblige Muslims living in Europe and the US to make a choice: or become apostate by siding with the West in spite of its rejection, or to join the fight for the rebirth of Islam and the war against the crusaders. "

"This is their strategy. And the rising tide of nationalism, populism and now Islamophobia, which has paralyzed the traditional political system, is not only the decline of democracy. It is also a path to insecurity, and the return to the strong men of the past," concludes Savio.

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