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This article is about discrimination. For criticism of Islam, see Criticism of Islam
Criticism of Islam
Criticism of Islam has existed since Islam's formative stages. Early written criticism came from Christians, prior to the ninth century, many of whom viewed Islam as a radical Christian heresy...

. For criticism of political Islam, see Criticism of Islamism
Criticism of Islamism
Criticism of Islamism concerns critique of those beliefs or notions ascribed to Islamism or Islamist movements. Such criticisms focus on the role of Islam in legislation, the relationship between Islamism and freedom of expression and the rights of women.Among those authors and scholars who have...

Islamophobia describes prejudice
Prejudice is making a judgment or assumption about someone or something before having enough knowledge to be able to do so with guaranteed accuracy, or "judging a book by its cover"...

 against, hatred or irrational fear of Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 or Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

The term dates back to the late 1980s or early 1990s, but came into common usage after the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

 in the United States.

In 1997, the British Runnymede Trust
Runnymede Trust
The Runnymede Trust is a leading pro-multiculturalism think tank., Its aim is to generate intelligence for a "multi-ethnic" Britain through research, network building and policy engagement...

 defined Islamophobia as the "dread or hatred of Islam and therefore, to the fear and dislike of all Muslims," stating that it also refers to the practice of discriminating
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

 against Muslims by excluding them from the economic, social, and public life of the nation. It includes the perception that Islam has no values in common with other cultures, is inferior to the West and is a violent political ideology rather than a religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...


Professor in History of Religion, Anne Sophie Roald, states that Islamophobia was recognized as a form of intolerance alongside Xenophobia
Xenophobia is defined as "an unreasonable fear of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange". It comes from the Greek words ξένος , meaning "stranger," "foreigner" and φόβος , meaning "fear."...

 and Antisemitism at the "Stockholm
International Forum on Combating Intolerance". The conference, attended by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan
Kofi Atta Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2006...

, High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson
Mary Robinson
Mary Therese Winifred Robinson served as the seventh, and first female, President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from 1997 to 2002. She first rose to prominence as an academic, barrister, campaigner and member of the Irish Senate...

, the OSCE Secretary General Ján Kubis
Jan Kubiš
Jan Kubiš was a Czech soldier, one of a team of Czechoslovak British-trained soldiers sent to assassinate acting Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia, SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, in 1942 as part of Operation Anthropoid.- Biography :Jan Kubiš was born in 1913 in Dolní Vilémovice,...

 and representatives of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

, adopted a declaration to combat "genocide, ethnic cleansing, racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia, and to combat all forms of racial discrimination and intolerance related to it."

A perceived trend of increasing Islamophobia during the 2000s has been attributed by some commentators to the September 11 attacks, while others associate it with the rapidly growing Muslim populations in the Western world, especially in Western Europe, due to both immigration
Immigration to Europe
Immigration to Europe increased from the 1980s onward, as a result of people from developing countries wanting to escape war, oppression, natural disasters or poverty. Some EU countries saw a dramatic growth in immigration after World War II until the 1970s. Most European nations today have...

 and high fertility rate.
In May 2002, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), a European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 watchdog, released a report entitled "Summary report on Islamophobia in the EU after 11 September 2001", which described an increase in Islamophobia-related incidents in European member states post-9/11.
Although the term is widely recognized and used, both the term and the concept have been criticized.


The word Islamophobia is a neologism formed from Islam and -phobia
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational...

. The compound form Islamo- contains the thematic vowel -o-, and is found in earlier coinages such as Islamo-Christian from the 19th century.

In 1996, the Runnymede Trust
Runnymede Trust
The Runnymede Trust is a leading pro-multiculturalism think tank., Its aim is to generate intelligence for a "multi-ethnic" Britain through research, network building and policy engagement...

 established the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, chaired by Professor Gordon Conway, the vice-chancellor of the University of Sussex
University of Sussex
The University of Sussex is an English public research university situated next to the East Sussex village of Falmer, within the city of Brighton and Hove. The University received its Royal Charter in August 1961....

. Their report, Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All, was launched in November 1997 by the Home Secretary, Jack Straw
Jack Straw
Jack Straw , British politician.Jack Straw may also refer to:* Jack Straw , English* "Jack Straw" , 1971 song by the Grateful Dead* Jack Straw by W...

. In the Runnymede report, Islamophobia was defined by the trust as "an outlook or world-view involving an unfounded dread and dislike of Muslims, which results in practices of exclusion and discrimination."

As opposed to being a psychological or individualistic phobia, according to professor of religion Peter Gottschalk and Gabriel Greenberg, "Islamophobia" connotes a social anxiety
Social anxiety
Social anxiety is anxiety about social situations, interactions with others, and being evaluated or scrutinized by other people...

 about Islam and Muslims.

History of the term

The term was possibly first used by the painter Alphonse Étienne Dinet
Étienne Dinet
Alphonse-Étienne Dinet, also known as Nasr'Eddine Dinet was a French orientalist painter.-Biography:Dinet was born the son of a prominent French judge...

 and algerian
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 intellectual Sliman ben Ibrahim in their 1918 biography of Islam's prophet Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

. Other claims of early use include usage by Iranian clerics in 1979. An early documented use of the word in the United States was by the conservative American news magazine Insight on the News in 1991, used to describe Russian activities in Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. The term entered into common usage with the publication of the Runnymede Trust's report in 1997. Kofi Annan asserted at a 2004 conference entitled "Confronting Islamophobia" that the word Islamophobia had to be coined in order to "take account of increasingly widespread bigotry". Annan, Kofi
Kofi Annan
Kofi Atta Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2006...

. "Secretary-General, addressing headquarters seminar Wed Confronting Islamophobia", United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, press release, December 7, 2004.

Contrasting views on Islam

The Runnymede report contrasted "open" and "closed" views of Islam, and stated that the following eight "closed" views are equated with Islamophobia:
  1. Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change.
  2. It is seen as separate and "other." It does not have values in common with other cultures, is not affected by them and does not influence them.
  3. It is seen as inferior to the West. It is seen as barbaric, irrational, primitive, and sexist.
  4. It is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism
    Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

    , and engaged in a clash of civilizations
    Clash of Civilizations
    The Clash of Civilizations is a theory, proposed by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, that people's cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world....

  5. It is seen as a political ideology
    An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

    , used for political or military advantage.
  6. Criticisms made of "the West" by Muslims are rejected out of hand.
  7. Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.
  8. Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural and normal.

These "closed" views are contrasted, in the report, with "open" views on Islam which, while founded on respect for Islam, permit legitimate disagreement, dialogue and critique. According to Benn and Jawad, The Runnymede Trust notes that anti-Muslim discourse is increasingly seen as respectable, providing examples on how hostility towards Islam and Muslims is accepted as normal, even among those who may actively challenge other prevalent forms of discrimination.

Identity politics

It has been suggested that islamophobia is closely related to identity politics
Identity politics
Identity politics are political arguments that focus upon the self interest and perspectives of self-identified social interest groups and ways in which people's politics may be shaped by aspects of their identity through race, class, religion, sexual orientation or traditional dominance...

, and gives its adherents the perceived benefit of constructing their identity in opposition to a negative, essentialized image of muslims. This occurs in the form of self-righteousness, assignment of blame and key identity markers. Davina Bhandar writes that:
She views this as an ontological
Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality as such, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations...

 trap that hinders the perception of culture as something "materially situated in the living practices of the everyday, situated in time-space and not based in abstract projections of what constitutes either a particular tradition or culture."

In some societies, Islamophobia has materialized due to the portrayal of Islam and Muslims as the national "Other
The Other or Constitutive Other is a key concept in continental philosophy; it opposes the Same. The Other refers, or attempts to refer, to that which is Other than the initial concept being considered...

", where exclusion and discrimination occurs on the basis of their religion and civilization which differs with national tradition and identity. Examples include Pakistani and Algerian migrants in Britain and France respectively. This sentiment, according to Malcolm Brown and Robert Miles, significantly interacts with racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

, although Islamophobia itself is not racism.

Brown and Miles write that another feature of Islamophobic discourse is to amalgamate nationality (i.e. Arab), religion (Islam), and politics (terrorism, fundamentalism) — while most other religions are not associated with terrorism, or even "ethnic or national distinctiveness." They feel that "many of the stereotypes and misinformation that contribute to the articulation of Islamophobia are rooted in a particular perception of Islam", such as the notion that Islam promotes terrorism; especially prevalent after the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...


The two-way stereotyping resulting from islamophobia has in some instances resulted in mainstreaming of earlier controversial discourses, such as liberal attitudes towards gender equality and homosexuals. Christina Ho has warned against framing of such mainstreaming of gender equality in a colonial
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

, paternal
Paternalism refers to attitudes or states of affairs that exemplify a traditional relationship between father and child. Two conditions of paternalism are usually identified: interference with liberty and a beneficent intention towards those whose liberty is interfered with...

 discourse, arguing that this may undermine minority women's ability to speak out about their concerns.

Links to other ideologies

A 2007 article in Journal of Sociology defines Islamophobia as anti-Muslim racism and a continuation of anti-Asian
Asian people
Asian people or Asiatic people is a term with multiple meanings that refers to people who descend from a portion of Asia's population.- Central Asia :...

 and anti-Arab
Anti-Arabism or Arabophobia is consistent advocacy of discrimination, extermination, prejudice, hostility, hatred, or genocide toward Arabs.-Arab definition:...

Similarly, John Denham has drawn parallels between modern Islamophobia and the antisemitism of the 1930s, so have Maud Olofsson
Maud Olofsson
Maud Elisabeth Olofsson is a Swedish politician, the former leader of the Centre Party of Sweden between 2001-2011, and the former Minister for Enterprise and Energy between 2006 and 2011...

, and Jan Hjärpe
Jan Hjärpe
Jan Östen Hjärpe is a Swedish Islamicist and a professor emeritus in Islamic studies at the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies at Lund University....

, among others.

Senior scientist at the Norwegian Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities
Norwegian Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities
The Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities in Norway opened its doors to the public on August 24, 2006 at the former residence of Vidkun Quisling known as Villa Grande, on the peninsula of Bygdøy in Oslo.The center's endowment was donated by the Norwegian government at the behest...

, Cora Alexa Døving, argues that there are significant similarities between islamophobic discourse and European pre-nazi antisemitism. She has suggested a common typology of notions:
  1. The takeover, meaning that a minority will overrun Western countries by means of international underground networks, high birthrates, and asserting that existing minorities will act as a fifth column
    Fifth column
    A fifth column is a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group such as a nation from within.-Origin:The term originated with a 1936 radio address by Emilio Mola, a Nationalist General during the 1936–39 Spanish Civil War...

  2. Institutions at risk, meaning that defining institutions of Western society, such as the Church, the family, the monarchy (historically), secularisation, freedom of the individual and gender equality within the family, are perceived to be in immediate danger of subversion by minorities.
  3. The naïve left, referring to left wing policies aimed at integration.
  4. Hate commanded by God, where the minority is portrayed as unable to draw a distinction between religious identity and the real world. The minority's religious identity is essential and universal, or always the most prominent. Minority religions are claimed to be exclusionist and inherently political.
  5. The sexualized man, referring to plays on gender, essentializing sexual crime and the minority's ability to adapt to the mainstream ideals of manlihood.
  6. Treatment of women and children, referring to treatment of minority women in constructing one's own group identity, suppositions about the minority children's education, and portrayal of women and children in a passive manner.
  7. Using history, linking negative incidents in the minority's history to present-day practices, and portraying one's own history as a result of contrasting positive achievements, commonly involving major distortions.
  8. Lack of will to integrate, not only related to takeover-conspiracies, but referring to innate barriers making integration impossible, frequently claiming enforced intracultural marriage and the wilful creation of parallel societies.
  9. Absence of humanism, portraying the minority as either uncontrollably irrational or calculating and manipulative, downplaying cultural achievements and masking intolerance in the celebration of Western Enlightenment
    Age of Enlightenment
    The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

  10. Something must be done, emphasizing purportedly regaining control, by passing laws that limit the freedoms solely of specific groups, commonly while paradoxically claiming to maintain Western liberties and freedoms.

Matti Bunzl has argued that there are important differences between islamophobia and antisemitism. While antisemitism was a phenomenon closely connected to European nation-building
For nation-building in the sense of enhancing the capacity of state institutions, building state-society relations, and also external interventions see State-building....

 processes, he sees islamophobia as having the concern of European civilization as its focal point.. Døving, on the other hand, maintains that, at least in Norway, the islamophobic discourse has a clear national element. In a reply to Bunzl, French scholar of Jewish history, Esther Benbassa, agrees with him in that he draws a clear connection between modern hostile and essentializing sentiments towards Muslims and historical antisemitism. However, she argues against the use of the term islamophobia, since, in her opinion, it attracts unwarranted attention to an underlying racist current.

The publication "Social Work and Minorities: European Perspectives" describes Islamophobia as the new form of racism in Europe, arguing that "Islamophobia is as much a form of racism as anti-semitism
Antisemitism is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S...

, a term more commonly encountered in Europe as a sibling of racism, xenophobia and Intolerance." Edward Said
Edward Said
Edward Wadie Saïd was a Palestinian-American literary theorist and advocate for Palestinian rights. He was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and a founding figure in postcolonialism...

 considers Islamophobia as it is evinced in Orientalism
Orientalism is a term used for the imitation or depiction of aspects of Eastern cultures in the West by writers, designers and artists, as well as having other meanings...

 to be a trend in a more general antisemitic Western tradition.


Although the term is widely recognized and used, the use of the term, its construction and the concept itself have been criticized.

Johann Hari
Johann Hari
Johann Hari is an award winning British journalist who has been a columnist at The Independent, the The Huffington Post, and contributed to several other publications. In 2011, Hari was accused of plagiarism; he subsequently was suspended from The Independent and surrendered his 2008 Orwell Prize...

 of The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

argues that authentic Islamophobia exists, and consists of the "notion that Islam is a uniquely evil religion, more inherently war-like and fanatical than Christianity or Judaism or the other primitive delusions." However, he criticizes how organizations like Islamophobia Watch
Islamophobia Watch
Islamophobia Watch is a website initiated in January 2005 as a non-profit project to document material in the public domain which, according to Islamophobia Watch, advocates fear and hatred of Muslims around the world and Islam as a religion....

 use the term, stating that they "talk about defending Muslims, they end up defending the nastiest and most right-wing part of the Muslim community – the ones who are oppressing and killing the rest."

Some critics argue that Islamophobia is real but is just another form of racism and does not require its own category. In a 2008 article in the "Journal of Political Ideologies" Jose P. Zuquete argues that Islamophobia is a catch-all term that should be avoided. Islamophobia places under the broad umbrella of 'fear or hatred of Islam' discourses and criticisms that may have distinct sources, motivations and goals. He argues instead for the use of "anti-Islamic" (because it distinguishes between different discourses about Islam). The concept of Islamophobia as formulated by Runnymede is similarly criticized by professor Fred Halliday
Fred Halliday
Frederick Halliday, FBA was an Irish writer and academic specialising in International Relations and the Middle East, with particular reference to the Cold War, Iran, and the Arabian peninsula.-Biography:Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1946 to an English father, businessman Arthur Halliday, and an...

 on several levels. He writes that the target of hostility in the modern era is not Islam and its tenets as much as it is Muslims, suggesting that a more accurate term would be "Anti-Muslimism." He also states that strains and types of prejudice against Islam and Muslims vary across different nations and cultures, which is not recognized in the Runnymede analysis. Poole responds that many Islamophobic discourses attack what they perceive to be Islam's tenets, while Miles and Brown write that Islamophobia is usually based upon negative stereotypes about Islam which are then translated into attacks on Muslims. They also argue that "the existence of different ‘Islamophobias’ does not invalidate the concept of Islamophobia any more than the existence of different racisms invalidates the concept of racism."

Other critics argue that the term conflates criticism of Islamic totalitarianism with hatred of Muslims. In the wake of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy
Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy
The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy began after 12 editorial cartoons, most of which depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad, were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on 30 September 2005...

, a group of 12 writers, including novelist Salman Rushdie, signed a manifesto entitled Together facing the new totalitarianism
MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism
MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism is a political statement made in response to the violence surrounding the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. The signatories said they issued the letter to demonstrate that there is a need to fight for secular values and personal freedom...

 in the French weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo
Charlie Hebdo
Charlie Hebdo is a French satirical weekly newspaper, featuring cartoons, reports, polemics and jokes. It appeared from 1969 to 1981, when it folded, and was resurrected in 1992. The current editor is cartoonist Charb. His predecessors are François Cavanna and Philippe Val...

, warning against the use of the term Islamophobia to prevent criticism of "Islamic totalitarianism". Daniel Pipes
Daniel Pipes
Daniel Pipes is an American historian, writer, and political commentator. He is the founder and director of the Middle East Forum and its Campus Watch project, and editor of its Middle East Quarterly journal...

 says that "'Islamophobia' deceptively conflates two distinct phenomena: fear of Islam and fear of radical Islam." Writing in the New Humanist
New Humanist
New Humanist is a monthly magazine published by the Rationalist Association in the UK. It has been in print for 125 years; starting out life as Watts's Literary Guide, founded by C. A. Watts in November 1885....

, philosopher Piers Benn
Piers Benn
Piers Benn is a lecturer in philosophy, member of the British Humanist Association. His research interests include ethics and medical ethics in particular. He is also interested in religion.- Work :...

 suggests that people who fear the rise of Islamophobia foster an environment "not intellectually or morally healthy", to the point that what he calls "Islamophobia-phobia" can undermine "critical scrutiny of Islam as somehow impolite, or ignorant of the religion's true nature."

Some denounce the concept altogether. The New Criterion
The New Criterion
The New Criterion is a New York-based monthly literary magazine and journal of artistic and cultural criticism, edited by Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball. It has sections for criticism of poetry, theater, art, music, the media, and books...

editor Roger Kimball
Roger Kimball
Roger Kimball is a conservative U.S. art critic and social commentator. He was educated at Cheverus High School, a Jesuit institution in South Portland, Maine, and then at Bennington College, where he took a BA in philosophy and classical Greek, and Yale University...

 argues that the word "Islamophobia" is a misnomer. "A phobia describes an irrational fear
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational...

, and it is axiomatic that fearing the effects of radical Islam is not irrational, but on the contrary very well-founded indeed, so that if you want to speak of a legitimate phobia... ...we should speak instead of Islamophobia-phobia, the fear of and revulsion towards Islamophobia." Sam Harris
Sam Harris (author)
Sam Harris is an American author, and neuroscientist, as well as the co-founder and current CEO of Project Reason. He received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Stanford University, before receiving a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA...

See also Sam Harris' views on Islam. has stated that "there is no such thing as Islamophobia" and accuses Muslims of using the term to defend Islam from criticism.


According to Elizabeth Poole in the Encyclopedia of Race and Ethnic studies, the media has been criticized for perpetrating Islamophobia. She cites a case study examining a sample of articles in the British press from between 1994 and 2004, which concluded that Muslim viewpoints were underrepresented and that issues involving Muslims usually depicted them in a negative light. Such portrayals, according to Poole, include the depiction of Islam and Muslims as a threat to Western security and values. Benn and Jawad write that hostility towards Islam and Muslims are "closely linked to media portrayals of Islam as barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist." Egorova and Tudor cite European researchers in suggesting that expressions used in the media such as "Islamic terrorism", "Islamic bombs" and "violent Islam" have resulted in a negative perception of Islam.

In 2008 Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting is a progressive media criticism organization based in New York City, founded in 1986.FAIR describes itself on its website as "the national media watch group" and defines its mission as working to "invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity...

 published a study "Smearcasting, How Islamophobes Spread Bigotry, Fear and Misinformation." The report cites several instances where mainstream or close to mainstream journalists, authors and academics have made analyses that essentialize negative traits as an inherent part of Muslims' moral makeup. It describes authors like Bruce Bawer
Bruce Bawer
Bruce Bawer is an American literary critic, writer and poet. His work focuses mainly on criticism and issues related to Islam.-Personal life:Bawer received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D...

, Robert Spencer, television and radio talk show hosts Sean Hannity
Sean Hannity
Sean Hannity is an American radio and television host, author, and conservative political commentator. He is the host of The Sean Hannity Show, a nationally syndicated talk radio show that airs throughout the United States on Premiere Radio Networks. Hannity also hosts a cable news show, Hannity,...

, Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck
Glenn Edward Lee Beck is an American conservative radio host, vlogger, author, entrepreneur, political commentator and former television host. He hosts the Glenn Beck Program, a nationally syndicated talk-radio show that airs throughout the United States on Premiere Radio Networks...

 and Michael Savage
Michael Savage (commentator)
Michael Savage is a conservative American radio host, author, and political commentator. He is the host of The Savage Nation, a nationally syndicated talk show that airs throughout the United States on Talk Radio Network...

, political commentators David Horowitz
David Horowitz
David Joel Horowitz is an American conservative writer and policy advocate. Horowitz was raised by parents who were both members of the American Communist Party. Between 1956 and 1975, Horowitz was an outspoken adherent of the New Left before rejecting Marxism completely...

, Alan Dershowitz
Alan Dershowitz
Alan Morton Dershowitz is an American lawyer, jurist, and political commentator. He has spent most of his career at Harvard Law School where in 1967, at the age of 28, he became the youngest full professor of law in its history...

 and Daniel Pipes
Daniel Pipes
Daniel Pipes is an American historian, writer, and political commentator. He is the founder and director of the Middle East Forum and its Campus Watch project, and editor of its Middle East Quarterly journal...

 and televangelist Pat Robertson
Pat Robertson
Marion Gordon "Pat" Robertson is a media mogul, television evangelist, ex-Baptist minister and businessman who is politically aligned with the Christian Right in the United States....

 as Islamophobes.

The "Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism
Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism
The Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism is a London-based Muslim advocacy group which campaigns against discrimination in the form of Islamophobia or racism. It was established in 2001 as an independent charitable organization with the aim of monitoring media coverage of Islam and Muslims, and...

" (FAIR) was also established, designed to monitor coverage in the media and establish dialogue with media organizations. Following the attacks of September 11, the Islam Awareness Week
Islam Awareness Week
The Islamic Society of Britain initiated Islam Awareness Week in 1994, to raise awareness and remove misconceptions surrounding Islam. In 1997 the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia by the Runnymede Trust confirmed the existence of widespread prejudice and discrimination against Muslims...

 and the "Best of British Islam Festival" were introduced to improve community relations and raise awareness about Islam.


Islamophobia has become a topic of increasing sociological and political importance. According to Benn and Jawad, Islamophobia has increased since Ayatollah Khomeini's denouncement of Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses
The Satanic Verses
The Satanic Verses is Salman Rushdie's fourth novel, first published in 1988 and inspired in part by the life of Prophet Muhammad. As with his previous books, Rushdie used magical realism and relied on contemporary events and people to create his characters...

" and the September 11 attacks. Anthropologist Steven Vertovec writes that the purported growth in Islamophobia may be associated with increased Muslim presence in society and successes. He suggests a circular model
Vicious Circle
Vicious Circle is an album released in 1994 by L.A. Guns. Most of the songs have Phil Lewis on lead vocals, but the track "Nothing Better to Do" features Kelly Nickels on lead vocals, and "Tarantula" is instrumental. MC Bones drums on several songs. Lewis and Bones also played together in the band...

, where increased hostility towards Islam and Muslims results in governmental countermeasures such as institutional guidelines and changes to legislation, which itself may fuel further Islamophobia due to increased accommodation for Muslims in public life. Vertovec concludes: "As the public sphere shifts to provide a more prominent place for Muslims, Islamophobic tendencies may amplify."

Patel, Humphries, and Naik claim that "Islamophobia has always been present in Western countries and cultures. In the last two decades, it has become accentuated, explicit and extreme." However, Vertovec states that some have observed that Islamophobia has not necessarily escalated in the past decades, but that there has been increased public scrutiny of it. According to Abduljalil Sajid, one of the members of the Runnymede Trust's Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, "Islamophobias" have existed in varying strains throughout history, with each version possessing its own distinct features as well as similarities or adaptations from others. An observatory report on Islamophobia by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference similarly states that Islamophobia has existed for as long as Islam itself.

Assistant Professor Deepa Kumar
Deepa Kumar
Deepa Kumar is an Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at the Rutgers University . She is the author of the book Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization, and the UPS Strike....

 writes that the modern-day demonization of Arabs and Muslims by US politicians and others is racist and Islamophobic, and employed in support of an unjust war. About the public impact of this rhetoric, she says that "One of the consequences of the relentless attacks on Islam and Muslims by politicians and the media is that Islamophobic sentiment is on the rise." She also chides some "people on the left" for using the same "Islamophobic logic as the Bush regime". She concludes with the statement "At times like this, people of conscience need to organize and speak out against Islamophobia."

Ziauddin Sardar
Ziauddin Sardar
Ziauddin Sardar is a London-based scholar, writer and cultural-critic who specialises in Muslim thought, the future of Islam, futures studies and science and cultural relations...

, an Islamic scholar, writes in The New Statesman that Islamophobia is a widespread European phenomenon, so widespread that he asks whether Muslims will be victims of the next pogroms. He writes that each country has its extremes, citing Jean-Marie Le Pen
Jean-Marie Le Pen
Jean-Marie Le Pen is a French far right-wing and nationalist politician who is founder and former president of the Front National party. Le Pen has run for the French presidency five times, most notably in 2002, when in a surprise upset he came second, polling more votes in the first round than...

 in France; Pim Fortuyn
Pim Fortuyn
Wilhelmus Simon Petrus Fortuijn, known as Pim Fortuyn was a Dutch politician, civil servant, sociologist, author and professor who formed his own party, Pim Fortuyn List ....

, who was assassinated (by a non-Muslim), in the Netherlands; and Philippe Van der Sande of Vlaams Blok
Vlaams Blok
The Vlaams Blok was a Belgian far-right and secessionist political party with an anti-immigration platform. Its ideologies embraced Flemish nationalism, calling for the independence of Flanders. From its creation in 1978, it was the most notable militant right wing of the Flemish movement. Vlaams...

, a Flemish
Flemish people
The Flemings or Flemish are the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Belgium, where they are mostly found in the northern region of Flanders. They are one of two principal cultural-linguistic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons...

 nationalist party founded in Belgium. Filip Dewinter
Filip Dewinter
Philip Michel Frans "Filip" Dewinter is a Flemish politician in Belgium. He is one of the leading members of Vlaams Belang, a right-wing Flemish nationalist and secessionist political party...

, the leader of the nationalist Flemish "Vlaams Belang
Vlaams Belang
Vlaams Belang is a Belgian far-right political party in the Flemish Region and Brussels that advocates the independence of Flanders and strict limits on immigration, whereby immigrants would be obliged to adopt Flemish culture and language...

" has said that his party is "Islamophobic." He said: "Yes, we are afraid of Islam. The Islamisation of Europe is a frightening thing."

Sardar argues that Europe is "post-colonial, but ambivalent." Minorities are regarded as acceptable as an underclass of menial workers, but if they want to be upwardly mobile, as Sardar says young Muslims do, the prejudice rises to the surface. Wolfram Richter, professor of economics at Dortmund University of Technology, told Sardar: "I am afraid we have not learned from our history. My main fear is that what we did to Jews we may now do to Muslims. The next holocaust would be against Muslims."

EUMC reports

The largest project monitoring Islamophobia was undertaken following 9/11 by the EU watchdog, European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). Their May 2002 report "Summary report on Islamophobia in the EU after 11 September 2001", written by Chris Allen and Jorgen S. Nielsen of the University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Birmingham, England. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Birmingham Medical School and Mason Science College . Birmingham was the first Redbrick university to gain a charter and thus...

, was based on 75 reports — 15 from each EU member nation. The report highlighted the regularity with which ordinary Muslims became targets for abusive and sometimes violent retaliatory attacks after 9/11. Despite localized differences within each member nation, the recurrence of attacks on recognizable and visible traits of Islam and Muslims was the report's most significant finding. Incidents consisted of verbal abuse, blaming all Muslims for terrorism, forcibly removing women's hijab
The word "hijab" or "'" refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general....

s, spitting on Muslims, calling children "Usama
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

", and random assaults. Muslims have been hospitalized and on one occasion paralyzed. The report also discussed the portrayal of Muslims in the media. Inherent negativity, stereotypical images, fantastical representations, and exaggerated caricatures were all identified. The report concluded that "a greater receptivity towards anti-Muslim and other xenophobic ideas and sentiments has, and may well continue, to become more tolerated."

The EUMC has since released a number of publications related to Islamophobia, including "The Fight against Antisemitism and Islamophobia: Bringing Communities together (European Round Tables Meetings)" (2003) and "Muslims in the European Union: Discrimination and Islamophobia" (2006).

Islamophobic incidents

See also

  • Religious intolerance
    Religious intolerance
    Religious intolerance is intolerance against another's religious beliefs or practices.-Definition:The mere statement on the part of a religion that its own beliefs and practices are correct and any contrary beliefs incorrect does not in itself constitute intolerance...

  • Religious persecution
    Religious persecution
    Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof....

Further reading

  • Allen, Chris. Islamophobia (Ashgate Publishing Company; 2011)
  • Kaplan, Jeffrey (2006). Islamophobia in America?: September 11 and Islamophobic Hate Crime, Terrorism and Political Violence (Routledge), 18:1, 1–33.
  • Kincheloe, Joe L. and Shirley R. Steinberg (2004).The Miseducation of the West: How the Schools and Media Distort Our Understanding of Islam. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Press. (Arabic Edition, 2005).
  • Konrad, Felix: From the "Turkish Menace" to Exoticism and Orientalism: Islam as Antithesis of Europe (1453–1914)?, European History Online
    European History Online
    European History Online is an academic website that publishes articles on the history of Europe between the period of 1450 and 1950 according to the principle of open access. EGO is issued by the Institute of European History in Mainz in cooperation with the Center for Digital Humanities in Trier ...

    , Mainz: Institute of European History, 2011, retrieved: June 22, 2011.
  • Pynting, Scott; Mason, Victoria (2007). The resistible rise of Islamophobia: Anti-Muslim racism in the UK and Australia before 11 September 2001. Journal of Sociology, The Australian Sociological Association. 43(1): 61–86.
  • Shryock, Andrew, ed. Islamophobia/Islamophilia: Beyond the Politics of Enemy and Friend (Indiana University Press; 2010) 250 pages; essays on Islamophobia past and present; topics include the "neo-Orientalism" of three Muslim commentators today: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Reza Aslan, and Irshad Manji.
  • Tausch, Arno with Christian Bischof, Tomaz Kastrun and Karl Mueller (2007), ‘'Against Islamophobia: Muslim Communities, Social Exclusion and the Lisbon Process in Europe'’ Hauppauge, N.Y.: Nova Science Publishers
  • Tausch, Arno with Christian Bischof, and Karl Mueller (2007), "Muslim Calvinism”, internal security and the Lisbon process in Europe Amsterdam: Rozenberg Publishers
  • Tausch, Arno (2007), Against Islamophobia. Quantitative analyses of global terrorism, world political cycles and center periphery structures Hauppauge, N.Y.: Nova Science Publishers
  • Zuquete, Jose Pedro (2008), The European extreme-right and Islam: New directions, of Political Ideologies]

External links