A few weeks ago, Reuters reported that some Muslim states demanded of the United Nations to take a tough action against the wave of 'Islamophobia sweeping across the Western countries. Pakistan and Egypt, in particular, complained to the UN Human Rights Council that the treatment of the Muslims in the West amounted to a new form of racism, xenophobia, intolerance and marginalisation. Why the West is treating the Muslims in such a humiliating manner? Defenders of the West argue that generally the Western societies have been liberal, tolerant, just, peaceful and plural. It is the violent actions of some Muslim militants since 9/11 that have compelled them to adopt such an insolent attitude towards the Muslims. This is partly true otherwise the Western hostility towards the Muslims is quite deep-rooted in history. Tomaz Mastnak, who has been a visiting scholar at Kings College Cambridge and Havards Centre for European Studies, as well as a senior research scientist at the Institute of Philosophy at the Slovene Academy of Arts and Sciences, has penned down a remarkable study that lays bare the deep and wide tentacles of Western animosity towards the Muslims. By West, we generally mean the US and Europe, however, Mastnak has exclusively focused on European-Muslim relations since the fall of Constantinople to the Muslims in 1453 AD giving voice to those sources which hitherto have been either deliberately silenced or ignored in the historical accounts of Europe. This is how the Europeans constructed the Muslim identity. Most often, the Muslims were referred to as Saracens, Turks, Mohammedans, Moors, infidels, pagans and barbarians. Although 'Europe is a classical word, its use as a political entity meant to reflect a collective political consciousness of the myriad princedoms and monarchies became possible due to the common fear of the Muslims, mainly the Ottomans, who posed a direct threat. In other words, initially, the Europeans were not a political community; it was the idea to cleanse their territories of the Turks that compelled them to act as a united community. This thinking in their history is called the 'European Moment and since then, from time to time, hostility towards the Muslims has continued to play a significant role in European politics and political imagination. Incidentally, it was not only the statesmen and politicians who adopted hostile posture, the European clerics, scholars, philosophers and litterateurs were equally inimical towards the Muslims. Systematic binaries were created whereby Europeans were projected as civilised and non-Europeans as savages. The British writer, Daniel Defoe, wrote of civilising the nations where we and other Europeans are already settled; bringing the naked savages to clothe, and instructing barbarous nations how to live. Erasmus of Rotterdam, an influential humanist and rejecter of war, regarded the Ottoman Turks as barbarians and monstrous beasts, and thus approved of war against them. His friend Thomas More was no different because he, too, considered the Turks a 'shameful superstitious sect, representing forces of darkness and 'mortal enemies of Europe. Yet another friend of Erasmus, Juan Luis Vives, who believed that even dogs were fiercer in Europe than Africa, demanded of Europeans that instead of remaining embroiled in internecine squabbles, they should jointly wage war against the Ottomans to capture the abundant land and wealth of Asia. Many would be surprised to know of the burning desire of Christopher Columbus, who was sent on his 'Indian enterprise by the King and Queen of Spain. His 'master plan was to reach India, forge contact with the pro-Christian Mongol Grand Khan and defeat the Muslims to liberate the holy land of Jerusalem. The unexpected discovery of America and its concomitant wealth did not distract Columbus. On the contrary, he felt that the American riches would enable Spain to finance an army of 100,000 infantrymen and 10,000 cavalrymen to recover the Holy Sepulchre. In his 'Journal, he requested the king that all the proceeds of this voyage of mine should be used for the conquest of Jerusalem. Such crusading imagination continued to obsess even the leading European humanists like Botero, Ammirato and Campanella in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Botero, for example, held the view that war was the best means to eliminate evil spirits and divert peoples attention from dangerous thoughts but at the same time added that it could only be waged against a legitimate enemy. This 'legitimate enemy was found in the form of Muslims and so Botero is on the record to have observed that Europeans will always have a cause for war; for there would always be enough Turks, Moors, and Saracens, against whom war would always be just, justified and universally lawful. Francis Bacon, who served as a minister to King James of England in the early seventeenth century also flirted with the idea of a holy war against the Muslims, as is revealed in his work, An advertisement touching a holy war. Across the British channel, right in the heart of Europe - in Germany - lived, G.W. Leibniz, one of the most respected philosophers, a metaphysician and scientist of his time. In addition, he was a German patriot and diplomat fully committed to the cause of peace in Europe. To neutralise the expected French aggression in Europe, he suggested the French Emperor Louis XIV to conquer Egypt to become the Emperor of the Orient. In those days, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire was about to introduce new reforms. Leibniz unsuccessfully tried to prevail upon the French monarch that the common good of Christendom and security of Europe required that the reform of the Ottoman Empire be prevented and the Turks kept in their deep slumber of ignorance. Almost a century later, another 'enlightened German, Von Lilienfeld envisaged a combined European military adventure on the model of the old crusading armies to attack the Muslims to not only acquire rich booty, but also cleanse the remaining non-Christian part of Europe from the Muslims and, if necessary, spread their conquests, and retake from the Muslims also Cyprus, and even the Promised Land. For many, Lilienfeld may be an obscure figure but what about the world renowned French philosopher Voltaire who is hailed as the epitome of European enlightenment and a great champion of religious tolerance. He considered the Turks as the greatest curse on earth and argued that it does not suffice to humiliate them, they should be destroyed. While being attached to the court of the Prussian King Frederick II, the Great, in the mid-eighteenth century, he hoped to see the Muslims driven out of Europe. His hatred towards the Muslims was so intense that he confided to Catherine II of Russia: Overcome the Turks, and I will die content. When this was not achieved, he dejectedly wrote to the Czarina: I wish I had at least been able to help you kill a few Turcs. So, the Western xenophobia and intolerance of Muslims are not 'new as pointed out by the delegates of the Muslim states to the United Nations. Rather their roots run deep, not originating in or after 9/11 but extending over centuries, as a result of the bitter and bloody encounters between the Muslims and the West. Email: qizilbash2000@yahoo.com