02/06/2015, 00.00
JAPAN-ISLAM
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Japan, the killing of Kenji Goto unleashes Islamophobia

After the beheading of a Christian reporter, the small Muslim community of the Land of the Rising Sun receive threats and insults. Two mosques in Aichi prefecture targeted. Japanese Muslims have a short history but one characterized by fidelity to the nation and love for the Emperor.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - The atrocious beheading of Christian Japanese reporter Kenji Goto Jogo at the hands of Islamic State terrorists has unleashed a wave of Islamophobia in Japan. Two mosques in Aichi prefecture have recently been targeted by an avalanche of threatening phone calls and emails, which term Muslims as "garbage" and threaten revenge for the death of the Japanese reporter. The places of worship have not yet filed a complaint against unknown persons, but are asking for solidarity.

Nei mesi scorsi, i fondamentalisti dello Stato islamico in Iraq e Siria hanno catturato due cittadini giapponesi, Kenji Goto Jogo e Haruna Yukawa. Il primo era un giornalista, impegnato nel documentare gli orrori della guerra e nella difesa dei bambini; del secondo non si hanno molte notizie, ma sembra che fosse in Medio Oriente per unirsi alle milizie in campo contro il leader siriano Assad.  

In recent months, the fundamentalists of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria captured two Japanese citizens, Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa. The first was a journalist, engaged in documenting the horrors of war and the protection of children; there is scant information regarding the second journalist but it appears he was in the Middle East to join the militia against the Syrian leader Assad on the ground.

After first asking for $ 200 million for the release of the hostages, the Islamic state terrorists then killed the second Japanese prisoner - Haruna Yukawa - before changing their demands. Then they wanted the release of  Iraqi terrorist Sajida al-Rishawi: the woman tried to blow herself up in Jordan after contributing the 9 November 2005 attack in Amman, which killed 60 people. At the time of the demand she was held in the prisons of the Kingdom.

Jordanian Air force pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh was also being held along with Kenji Goto. On February 1, 2015 terrorists released a video with the beheading of the Christian reporter. Two days later they released a movie instead with the terrible death of the Jordanian, burned alive in an iron cage. The next day, Amman responded by executing the Iraqi terrorist and the prisoner Ziad al-Karboli, a member of al Qaeda, convicted in 2007 for killing a Jordanian.

This series of horrors has also provoked a harsh military response by Jordan, which is carrying out  a series of raids against IS positions in Syria, and sparked the indignation of the Japanese population. In threatening messages against Muslim communities, unknown authors wrote: "Muslims are garbage"; "Muslims are enemies of Japan"; "We will kill you all." Abdul Wahab Qureshi, spokesman for the Nagoya mosque, says: " We are completely different (from the group). I hope people do not misunderstand us."

There are about 127 million Japanese: 83.9% of these are of the Shinto faith; 71.4% follows Buddhism (the two religions can overlap, both being more a philosophy than a real cult); Christians are about 2%, for most part Protestants. Muslims are roughly about 100 thousand, with a further 70 thousand members of different nationalities. There are about 35mosques, but throughout the territory there are another 100 places of worship in areas where there are no traditional structures.


The historical presence of Muslims in Japan is fairly recent, as it dates back to the eighteenth century, but the community has distinguished itself over time for its loyalty - sometimes deemed excessive - to the Emperor and the country. During the period of the various Japanese occupations in Asia, Japanese Muslims enlisted en masse, offering themselves as "translators and cultural bridges" to the Islamic communities of various countries conquered by Tokyo

 

 

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