What is Islamophobia?

Hostility towards Islam and Muslims has been a feature of European societies since the eighth century of the Common Era. It has taken different forms, however, at different times and has fulfilled a variety of functions. For example, the hostility in Spain in the fifteenth century was not the same as the hostility that had been expressed and mobilised in the Crusades. Nor was the hostility during the time of the Ottoman Empire or that which was prevalent throughout the age of empires and colonialism. It may be more apt to speak of ‘Islamophobias’ rather than of a single phenomenon. Each version of Islamophobia has its own features as well as similarities with, and borrowings from, other versions.” [Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid: One of the members of the Runnymede Trust’s Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia which published the famous 1997 report]

A  clinical psychologist offers his thoughts on Islamophobia to CNN’s Errol Barnett, watch video>>>>


The term ‘Islamophobia’ has only very recently been coined, as recent as the mid-1990s. It is one of a whole range of expressions that has grown out of the ‘politically correct’ ethos of the 1990s. The spirit of multiculturalism and pluralism was the climate that enabled the birth and circulation of the term. But unlike other terms born at this time it has not become household currency; Muslim organisations alert to discrimination against Muslims appear to be the only users of the term, and there has been no shortage of occasions to use it.

But it is not merely another in the range of fashionable words made up in the West during this period – such as PC or ‘politically correct’ itself. The wholly negative attitude towards Islam in the West has a very long history and has a palpable feel more than ever at the moment. Islamophobia is alive and well.

The mass media, popular culture and the leading forces in world politics are all mostly hostile to and in their representations of Islam and Muslims. The evidence for this is ample and can be demonstrated by reference to reportage on Islam in the British press for instance. If you are a Muslim reading this in Britain you will need little demonstration, however. Everyday experience is sufficient. The Runnymede Trust document on British Muslims and Islamophobia (released in 1998)* contains numerous examples from the media and other evidence while also being a comprehensive account of the problem in British society. It is a commendable Report that governments and civic groups in Europe and North America should learn from and produce similar Reports on their situation. But issuing a Report does not change a bad situation. Thus the depiction of Muslims and Islam has seen no change since then.

However, the term ‘Islamophobia’ does not adequately express the full range and depth of antipathy towards Islam and Muslims in the West today. It is an inadequate term. ‘Phobia’ is Greek for dread or horror. In the light of the present discussion, the term xenophobia – the original word on which Islamophobia is based – simply means fear of foreigners or dread of strangers. Attitudes and policies towards Muslims in Britain and Europe have a mixture of dread (phobia) and outright racism. Thus attitudes towards Muslims combine fear and active hostility. Islamophobia does not capture this marriage of fear and hostility, of dread and discrimination, of horror and harassment.

A more accurate expression would be ‘anti-Islamic racism’ for it combines the elements of dislike of a religion and active discrimination against the people belonging to that religion. The discrimination is racist because it is based on the belief that no matter what such a person does s/he will never be an acceptable to or in the West. But if there is still little awareness of and sensitivity to ‘Islamophobia’ then ‘anti-Islamic racism’ stands even less of a chance of widespread usage and acceptance in the mainstream media and among politicians. But the struggle is as much over discourse as over actual experience and therefore no effort should be spared to focus on every aspect of what some may call Islamophobia and others anti-Islamic racism.

[Written exclusively for Salaam by al-Maktabi Islamophobia: a challenge for us all. Report of the Runnymede Trust Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, 1997.  Source:http://www.salaam.co.uk/maktabi/islamophobia.html]

Keep reading more 》》》》https://islamphobia.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/islamophobia-threat-to-world-peace/

What is Islamophobia?


2 Replies to “What is Islamophobia?”

  1. Your comments are appreciated, the main apprehension appears to be misunderstanding about Shari’ah [Islamic Law] and its application upon others by force. It needs to be understood in perspective [for details see http://wp.me/P1dL2Q-2B%5D. Sharīʿah is the code of conduct or religious law of Islam. Sharia deals religious duties like worship, prayer, Charity [Zakah], fasting, Hajj and many topics addressed by secular law, including crime, politics and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexuality, hygiene, diet. Thus the Shari’a is not merely a system of law, but a comprehensive code of behavior that embraces both private and public activities. In an Islamic state, where it enjoys official status, Sharia is applied by Islamic judges [qadis]. Muslims believe Sharia is God’s law. Modernists, traditionalists and fundamentalists all hold different views of Sharia, as do adherents to different schools of Islamic thought and scholarship. Different countries and cultures have varying interpretations of Sharia as well. In addition to the “Basic Code” of the Qur’an and Sunnah, traditional Sunni Muslims also add the Consensus (ijma) certain issues. In situations where no concrete rule exists in the sources, law scholars use qiyas — various forms of reasoning, including analogy, to derive law from the essence of divine principles and preceding rulings. The consensus of the community, public interest, and other sources are used as an adjunct to Sharia where the primary and secondary sources allow. This description can be applied to the major schools of Sunni fiqh, which include the Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki and Hanbali.
    As it can be observed that the most part of Shari’a relates with the duties and obligations of Muslims, between himself and God, and with in society. The apprehensions that Muslims want to impose Shariah upon others by force is baseless. The views of few extremists, with their own doctrines are rejected by majority. In Muslims countries the non Muslims live as free citizens, according to their own religious laws in matters like marriages, worships etc. The criminal law of the land is applicable to all. Similarly a Muslim living in non Muslim country is governed through the criminal law of the land. Indian Muslims have Muslim personal law on religious matters but criminal law of India is applicable as for all citizens. If majority of a country accepts Islam, then that society can decide to opt for the Islamic law. Presently many Muslim countries are not adhering to Shari’a in totality, how can they impose it upon others? Which law should govern the state, is to be decided by the people: “There is no coercion in matters of Faith” (Qur’an;2:256).
    Imposing Islamic Law [Shari’a] upon others, at global level could be an enviable wish of some enthusiasts, which can only be implemented if the people accept Islam or where ever Muslim rule is established, or people themselves opt for it considering effective. The Roman empire governed the subjects through their laws. The colonial powers introduced their laws in their colonies, though the masters have gone, the legacy continues. But enforcing the religious part of Shari’a upon non Muslims was never practiced nor is it feasible. It conflict with commandment of Qur’an;2:256.
    The Islamic society was a pluralistic society ever since its inception. In the city state of Medina established under Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) included Jews, Christians, polytheists, non believers and Muslims. As per Charter of Medina, there was religious freedom, equal rights and responsibilities for Jews and others. At times the Jews of surrounding areas used to come to the Prophet (pbuh) for justice: “Therefore, if they come to you with their cases, you may judge between them or refuse to do so. Even if you refuse, they will not be able to harm you the least, but if you do act as a judge, judge between them with fairness, for Allah loves those who judge with fairness. But why do they come to you for judgment when they have the Torah which contains Allah’s commandments? Yet they turn back after that. In fact, they are not true believers.”(Qur’an;5:42-43). As far as their personal and religious mattes are concerned the Jews and Christians were governed in their own way. The non Muslims continue to eat pork or drink wine, though prohibited in Shari’a. This clearly indicates that Shari’a is not to be imposed upon non Muslims in their personal matters. There is not commandment for the Muslims to implement Islamic law all over the world by force. This is an absurd misleading distortion.
    Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by many state constitutions and state and federal laws, with the EXCEPTION of obscenity, defamation, incitement to riot, and fighting words, as well as harassment, privileged communications, trade secrets, classified material, copyright, patents, military conduct, commercial speech such as advertising, and time, place and manner restrictions. Thomas Jefferson, proclaimed In 1779: “[N]o man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.” Those sentiments also found expression in the First Amendment of the national constitution, part of the United States’ Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” [wikipedia]
    Islam as ideology or religion please refer to: https://islamphobia.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/muslim-next-door-not-welcomed/.
    It is up to you to apply this constitutional freedom. against Muslims or Islam as you please.

  2. I think you are wrong in the comment you made regarding Islamophobia and anti-Islamic racism: “A more accurate expression would be ‘anti-Islamic racism’ for it combines the elements of dislike of a religion and active discrimination against the people belonging to that religion.” Islam is not a religion or a group of people. Islam is an ideology of politics, economics, religion, and government. Muslim people follow the Islamic ideology of which is governed by sharia law, all of which is derived from the Quran. If I disliked Muslim people, I could rightly be called a racist. If I disliked the religion practiced by Muslim people, I could rightly be called an American exercising my freedom endowed by the US Consititution. I could also be called an American exercising my freedom endowed by the US Consititution if I disliked the Islam ideology, the Republican Party, taxes, Mohammed, Jesus, or the Catholic Pope. It isn’t “Islamophobia”, it’s freedom as defined by the Western, democratic, way of life.

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