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By using the term 'Islamophobia' to discuss a variety of discourses, policies and acts which have emerged in Western European societies, a simplistic image is constantly being reproduced of the 'enemies of Islam' confronting the 'friends of Islam'. Those who want to voice concerns or critical observations about Islam or about Muslim populations in Western Europe refuse to be simply excluded as speakers in the debate by being put away as racists and as victims of unreflective prejudices and 'phobias'.
In this chapter I will therefore avoid the term 'Islamophobia' and instead speak of anti-Muslim sentiments or discourses (...)
academics are still debating the legitimacy of the term
Homophobic, xenophobic and Islamophobic should be seen [...] as ways of brushing aside opinions we dislike by invalidating the people who hold them. It could be argued that none of this matters. Perhaps calling attitudes phobias is meant as harmless metaphor, not as literal diagnosis. But words have consequences, and the consequences of pathologising social attitudes include moral arrogance, invalidation and backlash. These disorders close the door on dialogue. Let's cure our language of them.
The ideology of Islamophobia is a mixture of exaggeration (see Kenan Malik’s work on this subject) and a sort of perverted utopianism that interprets the initial suspicion (and sometimes even hostility) towards strangers found in all cultures as proof of deep hatred of a particular religion.
The trouble with Islamophobia is that it is an irrational concept. It confuses hatred of, and discrimination against, Muslims on the one hand with criticism of Islam on the other. The charge of 'Islamophobia' is all too often used not to highlight racism but to stifle criticism.
The term "Islamophobia" serves a number of functions: it denies the reality of an Islamic offensive in Europe all the better to justify it; it attacks secularism by equating it with fundamentalism. Above all, however, it wants to silence all those Muslims who question the Koran, who demand equality of the sexes, who claim the right to renounce religion, and who want to practice their faith freely and without submitting to the dictates of the bearded and doctrinaire.
  • Andrew Shryock, Introduction: Islam as an Object of Fear and Affection. In: Islamophobia/Islamophilia: Beyond the Politics of Enemy and Friend, Indiana University Press 2010, p.3:
Applying [the term 'Islamophobia'] is an exercise in negative characterization, a fact that makes [it] invaluable for political purposes, but potentially misleading for analytical and interpretive ones. When seen as a condition akin to homophobia, Islamophobia is something one should denounce, or treat, or cure.
[T]he labelling of someone’s speech, attitude or behaviour as a phobia closes down discussion (...) Today, promoting the concept of Islamophobia is about setting up Islam as a criticism-free zone.
  • Bassam Tibi, Islamism and Islam, Yale University Press 2012, p. 29:
The Islamists have succeeded in defaming their critics as "Islamophobic" and pushing forward their narrative that Islam is under siege and Muslims are victims.
The idea of “Islamophobia” helps to create an environment in which the Islamists’ narrative thrives. It encourages identity politics, hampers integration, and stokes the grievance culture.
  • Alison Pargeter, The New Frontiers of Jihad: Radical Islam in Europe, University of Pennsylvania Press 2008, page 198:
Indeed Islamophobia appears to have become a catch-all word and is cited as the reason even for socio-economic problems that are generally associated with being from an immigrant community.
I argue that, more than reflecting an adverse reality, the neologism ‘Islamophobia’ has functioned as a symbolic device of the British state to recognise the Muslim minority. However, the policy focus on Islamophobia had two negative consequences: first, it deflected from the real causes of disadvantage; secondly, it fuelled the quest for ‘respect and recognition’ that stands to be disappointed in a liberal state.
Many who fear the rise of Islamophobia veer away from critical analysis of Islamic claims and practices, perhaps for fear of what they might find. They denounce critical scrutiny of Islam as somehow impolite, or ignorant of the religion's true nature. This is not intellectually or morally healthy.
‘Islamophobia,’ in contrast, is an unequivocal term of abuse, and for a plain reason: to admit to a social phobia is to acknowledge not simply a viewpoint, a political stance, or even a straightforward prejudice, but an illness.
a phobia is a psychiatric or medical term for a severe mental disorder. Those terms have been used quite a bit in the past, and we don't feel that's quite accurate
“Islamophobia” is a term of propaganda.
The purpose of the term is to cut off criticism.