Even though Muslims first arrived in the South American country of Brazil almost 180 years ago, with the slaves they had brought back from Africa to work on the Brazilian farms, and that Arab immigrants first arrived here over more than a 100 years ago, there are still some distorted ideas, unfortunately, in the minds of some of the Brazilians as to what it means to be a Muslim or an Arab.
According to the Brazilian imagination, the Arabs of the Gulf region are extremely wealthy due to their immense oil wealth, yet they believe they could do anything to earn an extra buck.
This mindset has been there since the days when Arab immigrants took up jobs as the door to door salesmen, selling household items. They were however called Turks, due to the Ottoman passports they used to enter the country.
Most of these Arab immigrants to Brazil were Christians, which helped them quickly adapt to the Brazilian norms and cultures. There are many Brazilians of Arab descent who do not even know the Arabic language, have never been to any Arab country; however, their only link to their heritage is through their food.
The stereotype mindset of the Brazilians in relation to Muslims is even worse, due to the constant brainwashing of the Brazilian people through the Catholic Church, which began at the time of the Crusades, when the Christian Kings traveled to Jerusalem to take back control of the Holy City from Muslims.
For some of the Brazilians, being a Muslim is worse than being an atheist. Such is the level of the propaganda of defamation against this religion and its followers; there is also a lack of awareness on this issue and even a lack of willingness by the Brazilian people to learn about this religion which is followed by more than 1 billion people around the globe.
Due to this distorted perception, the Muslims are sexist, violent terrorists and backward. This is also evident when the adviser of the Embassy of Oman, Marcelo Bulhoes dos Santos had been arrested by the Federal Police in April 2015, on the suspicion that he had falsified some documents.
The Brazilian Media went berserk and portrayed him with total disrespect. Instead of focusing on him being a lawyer first, they focused on his religion and used their propaganda to speculate that he had links with terrorist organizations.
The police, however, denied that the investigation had nothing at all to do with terrorism. I personally do not see how one's religion makes any bit of a difference to the story of his detainment.
This is total discrimination against the Muslim people, as they are trying to imply that all Muslims are terrorists, due to what a few extremist factions have done.
Arabs and Muslims have to organize themselves to portray a better picture of Islam and to help these Brazilian people get a true image of how peaceful real Muslims are. We need to promote a culture of acceptance and patience to eradicate this perception of view of others.
Source: Arab News