The Prime Minister (PM) of Pakistan Imran Khan says that religion has nothing to do with terrorism. While speaking at a side event in the margins of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Khan emphasised on understanding the root causes of terrorism. He’s right as he maintains that it is the marginalisation of communities that breeds terrorism.

Nevertheless, the words of Khan on the widely held misperception that religion’s by-product is terrorism are not just his thoughts. Many serious scholars have been saying that religion does not correlate with terrorism. It’s the marginalisation of and wagging wars on societies that push people towards radicalisation.

But how did we come to embrace such a misleading assumption about religion in general and Islam in particular? It was the fall of the Soviet Union when the United States (US) wanted to find something new to fight. Thus, the US constructed a new enemy to further its hegemony as the only empire in the world.

And that new enemy was Islam. A whole industry was set up to cultivate fears in the Western minds about Islam. The first significant work in this regard was Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilisations. Since then, and especially after the 9/11 attacks, the subsequent US administrations and Western media nurtured Islamophobia in the West on an unprecedented scale. The reason was clear: eliminating resistance for its wars in the Muslim World. Today, Islamophobia is one of the most pressing challenges that the West is infected with.

The Western countries need to pay attention to the timely advice of the PM Khan on the menace of terrorism. PM Khan has already told the world the actual causes of terrorism. If Western societies want to understand the root causes of terrorism, they need to have a detailed look at the broader US policy. Doing so will make them understand why certain groups deploy religious rhetoric against the US interventions and occupations of their lands.

But will the West take Khan’s precious piece of advice, or his words are destined to fall on deaf ears? As far as the Western leaders are concerned, they will carry on with exploiting Islamophobia. Perhaps, PM Khan knows this as well. He, therefore, wants to launch an English channel to counter the challenge of Islamophobia in collaboration with the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Malaysian PM Mahathir Muhammad. The idea is welcome, as the channel will have a global reach and detoxify the people’s minds against Islam.