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Islamophobia

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Islamophobia is a contemporary neologism defined as prejudice against Islam and Muslims.Template:RefTemplate:Ref

Several authors define islamophobia more specifically. According to them, Islamophobia encompasses the belief that Islam promotes

  • religious fanaticism,
  • violent tendencies towards non-Muslims,
  • terrorism

and rejects concepts such as

  • equality
  • tolerance,
  • democracy and
  • human rights.

Those authors view it as a new form of racial prejudice whereby Muslims, an ethno-religious group, not a race, are nevertheless constructed as a race.Template:RefTemplate:RefTemplate:Ref

Other authors Template:Ref, Template:Ref and Template:Ref regard this point of view as one-sided. According to them, the issue whether Islamic source materials such as Qur'an and Hadith promote religious fanaticism, violent tendencies towards non-Muslims and terrorism and rejects concepts such as equality, tolerance, democracy and human rights or not, is not settled, even not between Muslims themselves. They confine islamophobia to generalised hate against every Muslim.

During the 1990s some sociologists and cultural analysts hypothesized that there was a shift in forms of prejudice from ones based on skin colour to ones based on notions of cultural superiority and otherness Template:Ref Template:Ref. Others, however, disagree, and hold that modern forms of prejudice are not substantially different from similar forms of prejudice that have existed in many other places and times.

Islamophobia is fear and/or hatred of Islam, Muslims or Islamic culture. Islamophobia encompasses the belief that Islam promotes religious fanaticism, violent tendencies towards non-Muslims, terrorism and rejects concepts such as equality, tolerance, democracy and human rights. It is viewed as a new form of racial prejudice whereby Muslims, an ethno-religious group, not a race, are nevertheless constructed as a race. A set of negative assumptions are made of the entire group to the detriment of members of that group. How new it is, in the historic light of The Crusades, is debatable and could be as old as the 11th or even 8th Century AD.

During the 1990s some sociologists and cultural analysts hypothesized that there was a shift in forms of prejudice from ones based on skin colour to ones based on notions of cultural superiority and otherness Template:Ref Template:Ref. Others, however, disagree, and hold that modern forms of prejudice are not substantially different from similar forms of prejudice that have existed in many other places and times.


Contents

History of the term 'Islamophobia'

The term is a neologism dating from the early 1990’s and is formed with the suffix -phobia in a similar way to Xenophobia or Homophobia. As such, it reflects the influence of such 1990s movements as multi-culturalism and identity politics.

The term most often appears in discourse on the condition of immigrant Muslims living as minorities in the United States, Europe, and Australia, although it has also been used in recent years in countries such as India, and occasionally in connection with non-immigrant Muslim communities or individuals. In the most prominent cases, however, experiences of immigrant communities of unemployment, rejection, alienation and violence have combined with Islamophobia to make integration particularly difficultTemplate:Ref. This has led, in the United Kingdom, for example, to Muslim communities suffering higher levels of unemployment, poor housing, poor health and levels of racially motivated violence than other communitiesTemplate:Ref.

Islamophobia, as a phenomenon, dates back to the initial expansion of Islam and grew as a result of the crusades. It has been argued that Islamophobia exists outside the West, for example in India. This is more closely related to Communal Politics in India, although Islamophobia in India does share, with western Islamophobia, the denigration of Islamic culture and historyTemplate:Ref.

Given the strong association between Arabs and the religion of Islam, Islamophobia is often expressed as a form of anti-Arab racism, though not all Arabs are Muslim and the majority of Muslims are not Arab. Anti-Muslim bias has occasionally been expressed in violent attacks on Sikhs who were mistaken for Muslims on account of their distinctive turbans.

Runnymede Trust definition

The Runnymede Trust has identified eight components that they say define Islamophobia. This definition, from the 1997 document ‘Islamophobia: A Challenge For Us All’ is widely accepted, including by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia. The eight components are:

  1. Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change.
  2. Islam 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. Islam is seen as inferior to the West. It is seen as barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist.
  4. Islam is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism and engaged in a 'clash of civilisations'.
  5. Islam is seen as a political ideology and is used for political or military advantage.
  6. Criticisms made of the West by Islam 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 or normal.

Reasons for Islamophobia

Islamophobia has been increased in western societies, due to the linking of all members of the Muslim faith with the small numbers of violent Islamist movements.

It has been argued by some, most notably Edward Said, that the denigration of Islamic civilisation associated with Islamophobia is central to the concept of Western Civilisation. The ousting and marginalising of Islam marks the debut of ‘Western’ Civilisation and, thus, explains the depth and longevity of western Islamophobia:

“Islam was a provocation in many ways. It lay uneasily close to Christianity, geographically and culturally. It drew on the Judeo-Hellenic traditions. It borrowed creatively from Christianity - it could boast unrivalled military and political successes. Nor was this all. The Islamic lands sit adjacent to and even on top of the biblical lands. Moreover, the heart of the Islamic domain has always been the region closest to Europe... Arabic and Hebrew are Semitic languages, and together they dispose and re-dispose of material that is urgently important to Christianity. From the end of the 7th century to the 16th century, Islam in either its Arab, Ottoman, North African or Spanish form dominated or effectively threatened European Christianity. That Islam outstripped and outshone Rome cannot have been absent from the mind of any European." Edward SaidTemplate:Ref

Anti Islamophobia efforts

Recently there have been several efforts by non-Muslims to combat Islamophobia. In the wake of September 11, for example, a few non-Muslim women wore a hijab in a show of solidarity with their Muslim counterparts, whom it was feared would be particularly vulnerable for reprisal given their distinctive dress. Non-Muslims also helped form community watches to protect mosques from attack.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) recently organised a conference (http://www.cair-net.org/2005conference/program.asp) with the topic of Islamophobia and Anti-Americanism: Causes and Remedies which touches on the issue of Islamophobia. Guest speakers include those from several American universities, Amnesty International and former Deputy Premier of Malaysia Anwar Ibrahim.


Examples of Islamophobic Quotes

  • La Shawn Barber: "Despite what they may say, Muslims are and have always been on a mission to conquer and kill infidels. They’ve been doing it for centuries and will continue until we’re all dead, or they’re all dead, or the world ends, whichever comes first. We need to get over ourselves and focus on stopping the spread of Islamofascism. Period. Save civility and Koran “handling” for less perilous times."Template:Ref
  • Rep. C. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA): "Just turn (the sheriff) loose and have him arrest every Muslim that crosses the state line" (to Georgia law officers, November 2001)Template:Ref
  • Ann Coulter: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."Template:Ref
  • Will Cummins: "It is the black heart of Islam, not the black face, to which millions object." Template:Ref
  • Nick Griffin: "It [Islam] is a menace to all we in the West hold dear, and the time when anyone can pretend otherwise is almost at an end." Template:Ref
  • Robert Kilroy-Silk: "Muslims everywhere behave with equal savagery. They behead criminals, stone to death female - only female - adulteresses, throw acid in the faces of women who refuse to wear the chador, mutilate the genitals of young girls and ritually abuse animals"Template:Ref
  • Jean-Marie Le Pen: "These elements have a negative effect on all of public security. They are strengthened demographically both by natural reproduction and by immigration, which reinforces their stubborn ethnic segregation, their domineering nature. This is the world of Islam in all its aberrations."Template:Ref
  • Arlene Peck: "Most of the Muslims reaching the U.S. refuse to learn our language and take over our neighborhoods with their codes of dress and education. Then, they pressure the residents, as they did in Dearborn, Michigan, to leave by razing the churches and putting mosques in their places, displacing the local delis with Middle Eastern food. The Arabic signs go up and another neighborhood bites the dust. Now, everyone can be serenaded five times a day with loudspeakers calling them to prayer. Fast learners, they are now armed with the knowledge of how to beat us with bullets and ballots." Template:Ref
  • Melanie Phillips: "Thousands of alienated young Muslims, most of them born and bred here but who regard themselves as an army within, are waiting for an opportunity to help to destroy the society that sustains them."Template:Ref
  • Jerry Vines: "Christianity was founded by the virgin-born Jesus Christ. Islam was founded by Mohammed, a demon-possessed paedophile who had 12 wives, and his last one was a 9-year-old girl."Template:Ref

Examples of Islamophobia

  • The burning of Qurans in Virginia.[1] (http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/25529.html)
  • The attack on a Mosque in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.[2] (http://www.islam-online.net/english/news/2001-09/24/article6.shtml)
  • The attack on a Mosque in Brisbane, Australia. [3] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1544481.stm)
  • The attack on a Mosque in Chcago, Illinois, USA. [4] (http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=articleView&id=137&theType=AA)
  • The attack on a Mosque in Reading, England. [5] (http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/index/press.php?pr=165)

Criticism of the concept

Some commentators have questioned the concept of Islamophobia, arguing that use of the term is often an attempt to police or censor opinion by characterizing any criticism of Islam or Muslims as pathological and irrational, just as use of the term anti-Semitism, many people would argue, is often an attempt to police and censor criticism of Israel. Some of these critics cite the case of the liberal feminist British journalist Polly Toynbee, who was nominated for the title of "Most Islamophobic Media Personality of the Year" at the Annual Islamophobia Awards overseen by the Islamic Human Rights Commission in May 2003. The nomination was based on her comments in an article she had written for London-based liberal newspaper The Guardian:

Religious politics scar India, Kashmir, Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Sudan ... the list of countries wrecked by religion is long. But the present danger is caused by Islamist theocracy … There is no point in pretending it is not so. Wherever Islam either is the government or bears down upon the government, it imposes harsh regimes that deny the most basic human rights.Template:Ref Template:Ref

Although some would argue that such views are Islamophobic and confuse Islamism and Islam, Toynbee has rejected the label of "Islamophobe" and argued that her comments must be judged on their truth or falsity, not on the offence they might give to some members of the Muslim community.

See also

External links

References

  1. Template:Note Religion as a fig leaf for racism (http://www.guardian.co.uk/race/story/0,11374,1267567,00.html), Jeremy Seabrook, The Guardian, 2004-07-23, retrieved 2005-01-29 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/race/story/0,11374,1267567,00.html
  2. Template:Note Discrimination and Legislation - Response of Dr. Anya Rudiger (http://www.sant.ox.ac.uk/princeton/pap_rudiger.shtml) from Discrimination and Legislation session of Muslims in Europe post 9/11 conference, 2003-04-26, St Antony's College, Oxford retrieved 2005-01-29 from http://www.sant.ox.ac.uk/princeton/pap_rudiger.shtml
  3. Template:Note Islam and Muslims in Europe (http://eumc.eu.int/eumc/index.php?fuseaction=content.dsp_cat_content&contentid=3e3e8c602f879&catid=3e3e6e32a2316&search=1&frmsearch=Islamophobia&lang=EN), Tariq Ramadan, Equal Voices (http://eumc.eu.int/eumc/index.php?fuseaction=content.dsp_cat_content&catid=3d938674101aa) issue 10, published by European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) verified 2005-01-29 from http://eumc.eu.int/eumc/index.php?fuseaction=content.dsp_cat_content&catid=3e3e6e32a2316&contentid=3e3e8c602f879
  4. Template:Note Discrimination and Legislation (http://www.sant.ox.ac.uk/princeton/pap_malik.shtml) from Muslims in Europe post 9/11 conference, 2003-04-26, St Antony's College, Oxford retrieved 2005-01-29 from http://www.sant.ox.ac.uk/princeton/pap_malik.shtml
  5. Template:Note Trapped in the ruins (http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1172782,00.html), William Dalrymple, The Guardian, 2004-03-20, verified 2005-01-29 from http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1172782,00.html
  6. Template:Note Insurgents? Militants? Hell No, They’re Terrorists! (http://israelnn.com/article.php3?id=5128), Arutz Sheva, verified 2005/05/19 from http://israelnn.com/article.php3?id=5128
  7. Template:Note Loop professor takes heat for conduct (http://www.thedepaulia.com/story.asp?artid=77&sectid=1), The DePaulia, verified 2005/05/17 from http://www.thedepaulia.com/story.asp?artid=77&sectid=1
  8. Template:Note Orientalism, Edward W. Said , ISBN 0614216303 (1996 edition, Kazi Pubns Inc), quote given is taken from Page 74 of the "2003 Edition", publisher unknown.
  9. Template:Note Legislative Update (http://www.visalaw.com/03feb1/17feb103.html), Siskind's Immigration Bulletin February 7, 2003 (http://www.visalaw.com/03feb1/index.html), Visalaw.com (http://www.visalaw.com/), verified 2005/01/22 from http://www.visalaw.com/03feb1/17feb103.html
  10. Template:Note This Is War - We should invade their countries. (http://www.nationalreview.com/coulter/coulter091301.shtml), Ann Coulter (Contributing Editor), National Review Online, 2001-09-13, verified 2005/01/22 from http://www.nationalreview.com/coulter/coulter091301.shtml, according to proislam.com (http://www.proislam.com/letter_terminate_ann_coulter.htm) the National Review later ceased employing Ms Coulter.
  11. Template:Note The Tories must confront Islam instead of kowtowing to it (http://www.sport.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2004/07/18/do1802.xml&sSheet=/opinion/2004/07/18/ixopinion.html)
  12. Template:Note (Guess who prints the BNP's 'anti-Muslim' newspaper ... a firm owned by Saudis) (http://66.102.9.104/search?q=cache:P5mObx5_V28J:www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml%3Fxml%3D/news/2005/03/27/nbnp27.xml%26sSheet%3D/news/2005/03/27/ixhome.html+BNP+Islam&hl=en%20target=nw)
  13. Template:Note(Britain ignores the angry Muslims within at its peril) (http://www.wam.umd.edu/~stwright/rel/islam/britain-muslims.html)
  14. Template:NoteLa Shawn Barber (http://lashawnbarber.com/archives/2005/06/03/if-2/) 06/03/05de:Islamophobie

fr:Islamophobie

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