During the previous government, we heard a lot about Islamophobia in the West. The ousted prime minister, who led the campaign against discrimination on the basis of religion, spoke against Islamo-phobia while addressing various global forums.
Several Muslim and non-Muslim states followed suit and supported him. While the focus on Islamophobia is on the West, we need to see what sort of policies Muslim countries, the Gulf states, in particular, have adopted.
The main destinations for Pakistanis looking for employment overseas happen to be in the Gulf region. However, a man with a beard is more likely to fail than to get employed there. This is a startling fact I discovered recently. This is a key condition all Pakistani overseas employment promoters keep in mind when looking for a potential candidate.
While we never leave any opportunity to denounce Islamophobia in the West, the question mark continues to hang against some of the countries in the Islamic world itself.
It is unfortunate that the beard has come to get associated with the stereotype that the West has created for terrorists. But there is no ground for Islamic countries to have the same attitude. How can one hope that non-Muslims and other countries will form a favourable opinion of the targeted community if the Muslims themselves do not take action against Islamophobia?