The West has constantly found numerous reasons to block out Muslims from dominating their lands. Muslims’ determination to resist Western colonialism and neo-colonialism contributed to a major factor. During the 19th and 20th century, a time when Western colonialism was at its peak, Islamic groups were among those who strongly believed in overthrowing the alien invasion (Semaan, 2014). They were always among those who immediately rejected Western colonial rule. This was not only the case in Muslim dominant societies but also in non-Muslim majority countries like India (Semaan, 2014). This is the reason why numerous Muslim freedom-fighters like Omar Mukhtar, Siraj-ud-Daula and Syed Jamaluddin al-Afghani were criticized to a great extent by the colonial leaders (Semaan, 2014).
The end of the colonial rule did not bring stability among Muslims. Soon they realized that they were targets for a new form of Western domination and control (Muzaffar, 2010). This is because the world’s largest oil reserves were situated in Muslim dominated regions. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Kuwait played a major role in U.S. foreign policy for decades now. Anyone who dared to oppose the control by American leaders or challenges its hegemony, was immediately called upon as an ‘extremist’, ‘radical’ or ‘a threat to peace and stability in the world’ (Muzaffar, 2010). Unfortunately, such has been the fate of numerous world leaders – The Iranian Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadegh who for a brief but spectacular moment in 1953 nationalized his country’s oil, the Iraqi and Libyan leadership ever since they gained control of their oil in the early seventies and the Iranian leadership which since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 has tried to exercise sovereignty over oil and other mineral resources (Muzaffar, 2010). Although each of these leaders’ religious ideologies and beliefs were different, the West labelled all of them as ‘Muslim militants’ and ‘sponsors of terrorism’ (Muzaffar, 2010). It is interesting that although politics has been the name of the game, the common people in Western countries do not realize that the conscious denigration of such leadership has less to do with their misdemeanors and more to do with their assertion of authority over the most precious natural resource available on planet (Muzaffar, 2010).
Zionism has also played a major role in depicting Islam and Muslims in negative light. Although the tiff and antagonism among Zionists and Muslims began in the early 19th century, it grew stronger when Israel was created in 1948 (Semaan, 2014). They have constantly tried to target Muslims the same way the West has done earlier. With an aim to disregard and discredit Islam and Muslims, Zionists have constantly targeted specific Islamic Ideologies specifically that of polygamy and women’s rights in Islam (Semaan, 2014). They have also depicted Islam as a “militant faith” and people of the faith as those “individuals prone to violence” (Muzaffar, 2010).
Not only have conquers, Colonial subjugation, migration and Zionism caused the negative perception of the religion, extremists groups in the name of Islam have caused much damage too. For instance, the Taliban of Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Lashqar-e-Taiyyibah have interpret Islam in negative light since they overtook power different regions (Muzaffar, 2010). They have constantly raised questions of the teachings of the religion and have interpreted Islam as an intolerant and violent religion. All these extremist Islamic groups are also responsible for projecting Islam as a superficial religion (Muzaffar, 2010).