ANKARA (Rahnuma) : Islamophobia is a concept “intentionally” practiced in the West, the head of a Turkish university said Thursday.
In an exclusive interview, Mehmet Barca, rector of the Social Sciences University of Ankara, told Anadolu Agency that the Islamophobia embodied in the recent terrorist attacks in New Zealand was instituted as a policy to prevent the emergence of rival value systems in the West.
“The New Zealand [terror] attacks should be considered within the context of fascism, not religion; it is the result of simple and wrongful thinking in which one regards himself as superior to another, who he then views as a threat,” Barca said.
At least 50 Muslims, including children, were killed in the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in the city of Christchurch in New Zealand in terror attacks on March 15.
Arguing that the main source of violence worldwide was based on a lack of education and cultural values, Barca said: “The world moved away from the reality that it is a part of the family that is humanity.”
“Those who build their worldview on particular contradictions can naturally resort to violence,” he added, referring to the inconsistencies of Western media in reporting violence perpetrated by individuals of different groups.
“Violence doesn’t promote permanent solutions to any problem. On the contrary, it paves the way for new troubles,” he said.
Barca underlined that he had gotten the opportunity to witness British culture first-hand, having lived in the UK for roughly a decade since the early ’90s
During this time, British people were relating more closely with Islam, he added.
“However, it was a completely different story after 2001,” he said, referring to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S.
“Then, Islam was associated with terrorism. I underline that these [various] terror groups do not emanate from the Islamic sociology.
“Associating Islam and terrorism in the same context on the excuse of small-scale marginal groups is hostility towards Islam, and this is called Islamophobia. The is not a matter of Christianity, Buddhism or Islam; it is a matter of respecting religions or not,” he said.
Western media and hypocrisy
When asked about Western media outlets’ attitude towards terrorist attacks, Barca argued that there was hypocrisy, as their coverage of such attacks could differ depending on the identity of the attacker.
Emphasizing that most of the international news stories were produced by the same leading media outlets, he said prejudiced stories were indoctrinating people in a way that could negatively affect their future behavior.
“If you refer to a terrorist as an ‘angelic boy’, others will be motivated in line with this concept, and this means the media is functioning exactly the opposite of how it should. The Western media should radically revise itself, I believe,” he added.
Barca stressed that such attitudes by Western media outlets would inevitably damage their own credibility.
“If we are not informed in a correct manner by the official journalism, then rumors can easily spread and biased views will thrive,” he said.
He pointed out that there was an organic link between the media and power centers.
“That the policy-makers use this [terrorism] as a political tool is upsetting.”
Importance of social sciences
Barca said social sciences had a special purpose — to battle prejudices — as this discipline is specifically focused on building cultural and societal structure.
“You don’t just read in social sciences, you also change. If we are going to introduce someone to an understanding where he will view differences as a value to be preserved, then we need to stick with social sciences,” he said.
“If comparative research in the field of social sciences increases, then people will no longer view others as a threat, and that will contribute to the peace among humanity.”
Barca warned that most social science research was issued from the West, mostly the U.S., and applying a Western perspective in a local context could backfire due to different variables.
“If we become the consumers of the information produced in a single center, then we will fail to achieve a cultural and civilized communication,” he added.