Photo Credit: You Tube
UC-Berkeley Professor Hatem Bazian speaks on "Promoting Islamophobia" at the Occupy AIPAC Summit in 2012.

Let us take a moment to look at Islamophobia. According to a 1997 report by the UK’s Runnymede Trust, the term has existed since the 1980s and was first used in print in 1991. Runnymede defined Islamophobia as the “dread or hatred of Islam — and, therefore, to the fear or dislike of all Muslims,” adding that “[w]ithin Britain it means that Muslims are frequently excluded from the economic, social and public life of the nation … and are frequently victims of discrimination and harassment.”

Are majority of Muslims really excluded from the economic, social and public life in the USA and Canada? There are no statistics to verify such a statement. To the contrary, most North American Muslims live with full freedom as part of their social networks unless they ghettoize themselves by choice — as many do.


Many Muslims in the West use “Islamophobia” as a penalty card against free speech whenever there is criticism of Muslims. This knee-jerk and reactionary response stifles dialogue, debate and discussion — all signs of a healthy thriving democracy — as increasingly seems a primary objective. North America is a region where freedom of expression is a cherished value. That includes the freedom to criticize the followers of a faith if they are indulging in violence, intolerance and radicalization.

How did this Islamophobia theory become mainstream and so popular? In North America there is already an existing sense of guilt – one might call this “white liberal guilt.” It is a guilt that Christians have already built into their faith, and that other North Americans have been made aware of from their treatment of Natives; Canadians have guilt about residential schools and wartime internment of the Japanese; and the Europeans have guilt about having mistreated people in their colonies, as well as the complicity of many of their grandparents had with the Nazis in rounding up and sending Jews and others to their death during the German Third Reich.

The Islamists readily and eagerly build on this guilt when they play the “victimhood” card and join with some academics, who buy into that concept to build an highly profitable industry of the supposedly aggrieved called “Islamophobia.”

Islamists have been successful in building the Islamophobia industry: it diverts attention from activities they would probably prefer not be noticed, such promoting sharia law in the West, stealth jihad and a push to implement a global Islamic Caliphate, among many others. Any non-Muslim who questions the Islamists’ intentions to promote the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood is immediately slapped with an Islamophobia fatwa [religious opinion], thus rendering most well behaved and civil Westerners, silenced and apologetic.

This is not only racist but, for the most part, a form of emotional extortion intended to extract special concessions from well-meaning but gullible people the West.

Islamophobia is also a convenient pseudo-cause around which to whip up young followers: they are informed, whether true or not, that they have much to be aggrieved about and that the only solution is to close down free speech, demonize all who might have an opinion that differs from theirs or who ask “inconvenient” questions, and to start creating an authoritarian political movement in which they might feel a meaningful participant.

But in the long run it can only numb the minds and hearts of young Muslims growing up in the West, and destroy all spirit of enquiry and independent thinking — as increasingly seems to be another of its objectives.


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Author of Their Jihad... Not My Jihad, Raheel Raza is a public speaker, Consultant for Interfaith and Intercultural diversity, documentary film maker, freelance journalist and founder of SAMA (Sacred Arts ad Music Alliance). She has recently been appointed to the Public Service Committee for the Ontario College Of Teachers.