Fedwa Wazwaz

Fedwa Wazwaz is a Palestinian- American born in Jerusalem, Palestine and raised in the US. By profession, she is a senior data warehouse programmer with the University of Minnesota. Read more about Fedwa Wazwaz.

Islamophobia Driven by Guroor, not Fear of Terrorism

Posted by: Fedwa Wazwaz under Violence, Education and literacy, Politics Updated: July 25, 2011 - 6:30 AM
I love to follow the teachings of Habib Ali, a phenomenal teacher on Islamic spirituality.  In a beautiful lesson, he once said that the more guroor a person has, the more harm comes out of this person.
 
What is guroor? 
While reading my Facebook news feed, I ran across a blog by a Facebook friendSincere teacher transform hearts.
 
While reading her blog, I felt the writer’s conclusion best sums a good definition of guroor.
 
"When we view ourselves as the protagonist of a story in which we are always right, we collect grievances about other people by noticing everything we do and noting the 'injustices' that are done to us.  All of this builds resentment within us and instigates conflict. Dr. Umar’s words deepened that lesson, and were a reminder of how easy it is to remember one’s own good in worship or social relations while forgetting the good of others. Dr. Umar’s lesson taught us that instead of clinging to our actions, it is critical to do as much good as possible without caring about how our actions compare to the actions of others."
 
Guroor is a sense of moral superiority over another. There is a hidden desire to deny the “other” a right to exist unless they accept this moral superiority of the “us.”
 
Last Friday, the world witnessed the tragic bombings and shootings in Oslo that sadly took the lives of 91 civilians -- many of them youth. There are many injured and many will have psychological scars that will not heal.
 
Authorities are investigating Anders Behring Breivik, who wrote a 1,500-page manifesto, described by a terrorism specialist as:
 
“It seems to be an attempt to mirror Al Qaeda, exactly in reverse.”
 
The New York Times also reported that  Breivik is an anti-Muslim crusader.
 
Islamophobes like Breivik see Muslims as morally inferior. Like Osama bin Laden, Breivik saw himself  as the protagonist of a story in which [Christians] are always right, [and] collect[ed] grievances about other people by noticing everything [Christians] do and noting the 'injustices' that are done to [Christians]. This is guroor.
 
During the conference on Islamophobia at UC Berkeley earlier this year, I said that guroor is the driving spirit behind Islamophobia, and not fear of terrorism or fear of Islam.
 
People who have guroor within them are notorious for engaging in double standards.  
 
When the “other” does something wrong, they are "experts" at connecting the dots to every so-called injustice done by the “other,” or by anyone who breathes, sneezes and looks like the “other.”  However, if an injustice is done by ”us”, they are experts at rationalizing, disconnecting any dots, justifying or explaining away the injustice – erasing it from their minds, even trying hard to revise history, as well.
 
They omit many wrong actions by their tribe or nation and assume that, if the tribe or nation escapes accountability by a court of law that holds the "us" and "them" to the same level of standards, that this action is acceptable or did not happen.
 
For example, in a voice laced with guroor, Ayan Hersi Ali speaks on credible news outlets to literally rally everyone to “defeat Islam.” It is guroor that gives a platform for Pam Geller and Bridgette Gabriel to rally America, “They [Muslims] must be stopped.” These same organizations would not grant a platform to anyone to rally for a defeat of Judaism or any other faith.
 
Since Islamophobes face no accountability for their hate speech or calls of war against Muslims, the conclusion is made that their actions are not an “injustice” against  Muslims. No harm was done. The rising hate crimes against Muslims never triggered any warnings. This platform divorced from accountability for their hate speech – in my opinion – contributed to the attacks in Norway.
 
Likewise, on the Huffington Post, Oslo Attack Highlights the Dangers of Islamophobia, Joshua Stanton argues:
 
‎"The first is that Islamophobia is not merely confined to a war of words against Muslims. Islamophobic words, of which Breivik shared many in his 1,500-page document, often spiral into deeds."
 
However, since the “other” cannot escape accountability, then every action the “other” does is an injustice.  Every word or thought is psychoanalyzed. This is where Islamophobes love to hurl a distorted understanding of taqiyya in their discourse.  Even if the “other” does good, the good action is really a disguised attempt to take over America or Europe, hence an injustice.
 
Such voices are also always reminding the world of their good actions or moral superiority while forgetting the good of the “other.”  They are also constantly comparing the actions of "us" to the actions of "them."
 
 
Fear of White People?
 
Continuing with my Facebook news feed, I read a comment by Max Blumenthal who raised an important question to reflect on:
 
"In light of Oslo killings, will Juan Williams suddenly become afraid of his white peers at Fox News?"
 
On his website, is an interesting analysis of this tragic event, titled: Anders Behring Breivik, a perfect product of the Axis of Islamophobia
 
If Williams’ fears were driven by fear based on the traumatic tragedy of 9/11, as he claims, then he along with all those who claim they fear Muslims due to acts of terrorism by Muslims, would now develop fear of white people with white garbs.  But if it is driven by guroor, instead of fear -- then these people would continue to collect 'injustices' done by Muslims against the "us" tribe or nation, and the Oslo attacks like the Oklahoma bombings would disappear from memory lane.
 
Another FB status highlighted a comment by Stephen Zunes who noted on his FB page:
 
"Got a couple of media calls today about the terrorist attacks in Norway, since they consider me to be an expert on 'Islamic terrorism.' Since it appears the person responsible is a far right-wing Norwegian, I told them to find an expert on Lutheran terrorism."
 
Congressional Hearings on Lutheran Terrorism?
 
If the acts of terrorism by Muslims are promoting all the discussion/congressional hearings on "Islamic Terrorism" we would see discussions come forth, led by "experts" with magical connecting dots skills on "Lutheran terrorism."   But if these discussions/hearings are driven by guroor, we would see justifications and explanations that try to magically remove any connection to this attack and any attack by Christian extremists.  Over time, it did not exist or was the act of a lone madman.  No connecting of dots allowed.
 
I conclude with a comment by Gary Younge, in an article, In Europe, Where's the Hate?
 
"Events in Norway suggest the primary threat to European democracy has never been 'Islamofascism'--that clunking, thuggish phrase that keeps lashing out in the hope that it will one day strike a meaning--but plain old fascism. The kind whereby mostly white Europeans take to the streets to terrorize minorities in the name of racial, cultural or religious superiority."
 
As Habib Ali says, the more guroor a person has, the more harm comes out of this person.
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