Masjid Nagoya: Threat and Harassment after the [Goto Hostage Crises]
In recent events regarding the Islamic extremist organization “Islam-Koku” (IS) in relation to the hostage event has seen implications of harassment and intimidation by phone in the places of worship in Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, Masjid Nagoya.
The mosque’s official representative AbdelWahab Qureshi (From: Pakistan, Age: 57) has argued that “Islam is a religion of peace and I want people to know that we have nothing to do with extremist organizations”. On January 1st when the video of the killing scene of Kenji Goto was put on the internet, Mr. Qureshi had reported that the mosque received 5 to 6 harassment calls at its peak.
The contents of the calls were “Get out of Japan!” and “I know your family members!” in another case in the same Aichi Prefecture a mosque in Ichinomiya had a threat “to kill”. Masjid Nagoya also received slandering emails saying “Enemy of Japan!” these were reported to the police.
Since Nagoya mosque was first built in July 1998 this has been the first time it has been harassed. This harassment even didn’t occur when the September 11 terror incident happened in the US and in 2004 when Shosei Koda was killed by an extremist organization. Mr. Qureshi said “I think this time it is because they are using the word [Islam-Koku (Islam Country/State)] that Muslims are bearing the brunt. Also on the 2nd February a Pakistani man who attends the mosque has said that in the Japanese business areas the Japanese were saying “Don’t come in” and drove him away.
The prejudice that Mr. Qureshi felt is much stronger than in the past. A few years ago his third son who was in primary school was told by his classmates “Oi You, What are you going to bomb?” although the classroom was wrapped in laughter, the teachers just idly stood by. His son is now temporarily not attending school.
At the end of last month Mr. Qureshi a had meeting with the representative of 10 different mosques in Japan and discussed that the use of the name [Islam-Koku] (Islam Country/State) used by the media has hurt the image of Islam and has been requesting news organizations not to use that name. If the name [Islam-Koku] is used there will be prejudice in promoting Islam as a violent religion. The mosque representatives has called for one of the following abbreviations to be used; in English ISIS (Islamic State of Irana and Syria) and ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), also the Arabic abbreviation (Daesh).
Mr. Qureshi also cited an example in the 1980s in regards to the sex industry where the name “Turkish Bath” was renamed to “Soap land”, Mr. Qureshi said that using a negative name has a large influence and I hope to change the use of the name. In the same way as the mosque we have accepted visits to be able to describe Islam to those who are interested.