According to the philosophers, phobia is an exaggerated and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation. It may be hard for the afflicted to sufficiently determine or communicate the source of this fear, but it exists. In recent years, Islamophobia, a specific phobia has developed in Western societies. Researchers and policy groups define Islamophobia with different sources, but the term’s essence is essentially the same, no matter the means: An exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from social, political, and civic life. This unjustified fear has contributed immensely to the discrimination of Muslims across the globe. It is a base point for isolation of Muslims in the political arena and affiliate social classes in the society. This term frequently appears in the media and tends to denote fear, hatred or prejudice against Islam and Muslims. ”When the Runnymede Trust issued its landmark report in 1997, “Islamophobia” meant a “shorthand way of referring to dread or hatred of Islam and, by extension, to fear or dislike of all or most Muslims.”
Islamophobia is a widely used concept in public and scholarly circles. the ward was developed in late 1990’s and 2000 philosophers, the political activists, nongovernmental organizations, international organizations and public commentators to draw attention to harmful rhetoric and actions directed at Islam and Muslims in Western liberal countries. For actors like these, the term not only identifies anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim sentiments, it also provides a language for denouncing them. In recent years, Islamophobia has evolved from a primarily political concept toward one increasingly deployed for analytical purposes. Researchers have begun using the term to identify the history, presence, dimensions, intensity, causes, and consequences of anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim sentiments. In short, Islamophobia is an emerging comparative concept in the social sciences. Yet, there is no widely accepted definition of the term. As a result, it is extremely difficult to compare levels of Islamophobia across time, location, or social group, or to levels of analogous categories such as racism, anti-Semitism, or xenophobia.
Islamophobia in Western Countries
Islamophobia has been fixed in the Western psyche more in the European than in the American worldview for centuries. There are a number of reasons for this: the early triumph and rapid expansion of an emerging Islam among Christian entities in West Asia and North Africa (WANA) right up to the Iberian Peninsula from the 8th to the 12th centuries; the onslaught of the European Crusades, their re-conquest of Jerusalem and their subsequent defeat at the hands of the Muslims between the 10th and 13th centuries; the rise of Western colonialism from the 16th century onwards which led to the subjugation of most Muslim polities in Asia and Africa; and the re-assertion of these polities from the middle of the 20th century as they seek to establish their own identities within a global order that centers around US dominance. All have contributed, in different ways, to the spread of a negative attitude towards Islam and Muslims in the West” (Global Research, 2012)
History also shows that Islam spread quickly to the West thus threatened the position of the Christian Church and the ruling class. The Western elites, mainly the governments and the churches, became highly involved in projecting negative images about Islam. As a result, not only were battles were fought against Islam, but a war of words was also initiated to make sure that Islam would not have any converts or sympathizers in the West.
Sources of Islamophobia
Right wing Christian Evangelical groups.
They preach hatred against Islam in their places of worship and declare Islam as evil and Muslims as pagans out to destroy western civilization.
They regard Muslims as part of dark races and even those who are born in Caucasian region cannot claim to be white. They believe that God is on the side of White race.
They believe that their God is only there for them and others are untouchables and consider Muslims in India invaders who must be converted back to Hinduism.
Democratic and Republican demagogues.
They serve multinational corporations and the interests of Israel to earn their livelihood. They have least regard to human rights of those who are not like them.
Jewish supremacists and their supporters.
They promote hatred against Arabs and Muslims and claim that Muslims are anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic.
ISIS and Violent Muslim groups
They believe that God has given them license to kill innocents and they use the miseries of Muslim people to hurt innocents.
They believe that they can claim peace while killing others and want to cleanse Myanmar of Muslim presence.
A right wing and multinational corporation-controlled media that loves to see the blood of innocent spill in the streets so that through its reporting and divisive reporting it can get more advertisement and ratings.
A liberal left that view Islam as a bane of human civilization.
The West wrongly assumes that it is Muslims who are carrying out deadly attacks and killing human beings. Islam says that killing a single person is equal to the massacre of entire mankind. Additionally, some countries believe Muslims are intolerant towards other religions and that is why they disdain others. According to the Gallup 2019 survey, 87 per cent of those questioned in the West think that Muslims around the world are not tolerating people of other religions. This figure reveals the misperceptions in the West about Islam. This is a fallacy of generalisation because a few rotten eggs cannot account for the entire lot.