Islamophobia:  Real or Imagined - Article collection - updated 12/29/2011

compiled by Sheila Musaji

Posted Dec 29, 2011      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Islamophobia:  Real or Imagined - Article collection

by Sheila Musaji

The American Muslim has many article collections in its Resources section.  To understand something about Islamophobia in America and the West, first read Islamophobia and Arabophobia: Laying The Groundwork - Us vs. Them which includes many quotes that have been made about Muslims, Arabs, and Islam, and which have received little or no condemnation from the society at large.  For responses by to allegations by specific individuals, and to specific claims, and for the numerous Muslim condemnations and fatwas against violence done in the name of Islam see our Resource section.


The Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at the Center for Race and Gender has the best working definition I have seen:

The term “Islamophobia” was first introduced as a concept in a 1991 Runnymede Trust Report and defined as “unfounded hostility towards Muslims, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims.” The term was coined in the context of Muslims in the UK in particular and Europe in general, and formulated based on the more common “xenophobia” framework.

The report pointed to prevailing attitudes that incorporate the following beliefs:

•Islam is monolithic and cannot adapt to new realities
•Islam does not share common values with other major faiths
•Islam as a religion is inferior to the West.  It is archaic, barbaric, and irrational.
•Islam is a religion of violence and supports terrorism.
•Islam is a violent political ideology.
For the purposes of anchoring the current research and documentation project, we provide the following working definition:

Islamophobia is a contrived fear or prejudice fomented by the existing Eurocentric and Orientalist global power structure.  It is directed at a perceived or real Muslim threat through the maintenance and extension of existing disparities in economic, political, social and cultural relations, while rationalizing the necessity to deploy violence as a tool to achieve “civilizational rehab” of the target communities (Muslim or otherwise).  Islamophobia reintroduces and reaffirms a global racial structure through which resource distribution disparities are maintained and extended.

When Muslims raise the issue of the existence of Islamophobia, we are most often accused of trying to stifle dialogue (confused with polemics) or to undermine free speech (confused with incitement), or told simply that we are whining in order to make ourselves into the victim rather than the perpetrator of all that is wrong with the world.  We are even told that Islamophobia is a “myth” or that it is a reasonable position to hold.

Negative perceptions don’t exist in a vacuum - they affect our perceptions, and may lead to prejudice, discrimination, unequal treatment, injustice, and even violence.  When our negative perceptions become entrenched they often allow us to justify and explain away actions that would otherwise be unacceptable.  And, when our focus is only on finding examples the prove our pre-existing point, we tend to see only the negative and nothing positive about the group that we perceive in a negative light.

Whatever you believe about Islamophobia, for many of us (Muslims in America and the West), it is very real and a concern.  This collection of articles about Islamophobia in the society at large will be updated regularly.  It was split from our resource section on Islamophobia in the media on 4/18/08

NOTE:  We have had as part of our Muslim Voices against Terrorism and Extremism resources a section on responses to Islamophobia.  This was in five parts:  - Responses to Claims Made ABOUT Islam and Muslims in General - Responses to Claims Made ABOUT Qur’an Verses, Arabic Terms, Prophet Muhammad - Responses to False Claims ABOUT Muslim Individuals & Organizations & Incidents Involving Muslims - Responses to Actual Extremist Statements & Incidents of Extremism or violence BY Muslims - Responses to Claims Made BY Specific Individuals and Organizations About Muslims.  Because of a restriction in the possible length of articles, we were unable to organize these in a more user-friendly manner.  Our webmaster has now resolved this problem, and we have combined all these five sections into one section.  The entries are alphabetical, and it should now be much easier to locate a response to a particular issue, incident, or individual.  In order to keep load time down for our readers, this single resource will still be divided into two sections:  A to L, and M to Z.  Sheila Musaji 3/5/2010.

- Polls, statistics, and surveys relating to Islam and Muslims
- Claim That All Terrorists are Muslims Ignores History (sections on Christian extremism and terrorism and Jewish extremism and terrorism were divided 4/08)
- Islamophobia - ALARMING STATEMENTS Note, previously divided by year and now consolidated into one collection
- Alarming statements by elected officials and political organizations
- Alarming statements by Christian clergy and organizations
- Alarming statements by Jewish Rabbis and organizations 
- Prejudice, Racist, or Violent Incidents at MOSQUES
- Incidents, hate crimes
- MEDIA, Propaganda & Perception
- Islamophobia: Real or imagined 
- A Long History of Injustice Ignored 
(see also power point presentations)

See also Muslims & Arabs discuss current wave of Islamophobia, Arabophobia, and anti-mosque hysteria  AND type Islamophobia in The American Muslim search engine and 22 pages of entries come up. 


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