Religious extremism a serious threat in Japan now

Representational image

Representational image


Freedom of religion is one of the basic human rights concept in Japan.

Freedom of religion is one of the basic human rights concept in Japan. From what the world knows about the Japanese, they are supposed to be very polite, hardworking, sticklers to cleanliness, nature loving and traditional and cultured people. This is something no one would deny. However, Japan is witnessing nowadays a disturbing trend religiously and unable to digest the facts; it is giving rise to ‘ban Islam’ sentiments.

Japan’s religious landscape has undergone a tremendous change and a moderate upheaval in recent times. A first-time visitor to Japan would be surprised at the number of mosques sprouting up everywhere. The number of Muslims in Japan was less than 20,000 till 2000. The present estimates suggest that they are over two lakhs now - a 10 fold increase within a generation. The number of mosques in 1999 was only 15, but today there were 113 mosques by 2021, according to a government estimate. Even that number did not disturb Japan as much as an attack on a Japanese temple of late.

An Islamist fundamentalist from Gambia vandalised a shrine in the incident. A Japanese woman was in the midst of prayers at a temple when the extremely committed Islamist confronted the woman proclaiming “there is only one God, the Muslim God, and here, there is no God.” As he went on to question her, she did not even know how to react as this was the first such incident that anyone came across and the incident caught on camera went viral leading to a tsunami of protests from the Japanese, young and old alike.

Comments in social media ranged from ‘attack on basic rights’ to ‘attack on ‘religious freedom’ and ‘we cannot live together with such belief systems which proclaim their God is the only God”.

The very living environment of Muslims in Japan - please read ordinary Muslims - is endangered now. People also began discussing in earnest how Islam seeks world domination and also how Islamists marrying the locals are converting the girls into Islam and forced to practise the Muslim way of life. The problem with practitioners of extreme ideologies, particularly in faith-related matters, is that they cannot coexist in peace with other belief systems around them. Japanese society now feels that such people are bent upon dominating their country and imposing their faith on them.

Shinto is a distinct religious tradition with unique beliefs and practices. Like other religions, Shinto differs with Islam in its origins - a very ancient one compared to Islam of the 7th century - and core beliefs. Harmonious coexistence of the two in Japan has been compromised. As in many cases, Islam imported to Japan from various countries has been radicalised by Indonesian connections. Radical Islam of this country has reportedly set its eyes on Japan and is working against Shinto, it is being feared. Shinto and Buddhism have been intertwined and the Japanese pay reverence to both Shinto kami and Buddist deities. Intelligence reports of the Japanese agencies suggest more such attacks in future on the local culture by radicalised Islamists even as the demand to check religious extremism is growing. The Islamists in Japan are only pushing the country to adopt extreme Chinese measures that would not be good for the law-abiding Muslim folks.

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