Islamophobia is so much more than just a simple ‘dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force’ (Oxford English Dictionary Online). It is an intense hatred for what encompasses the unknown. Islam is foreign. It is violent and it is threatening. Look at the rise of terrorist attacks in the contemporary. Muslim bearded men are radical and fanatical. Veiled Muslim women are medieval. We are submissive and passive. We are the epitome of oppression itself. We have yet to embrace our liberated white feminist sisters who have freed themselves of their patriarchal shackles.
Gathering from the above statements, it is no wonder why Islamophobia is on the rise. Newspaper report after report after report of terrorist attacks, the rise of terrorism, the war on terror, Asian grooming gangs, ISIS, radicalised British teenagers, Hamas, the Syrian conflict, Muslim women’s illiteracy rate, Muslim women’s unemployment rate. Quite frankly, the media has a fetish for Muslims. They have an obsession with focusing on Muslims, and a compulsion with the ‘demonic rise of Islam’. It is manic. And this mania shapes and has shaped the way in which Muslims and Islam are perceived within the present.
Islamophobia however, is not merely just a hatred towards Muslims and Islam. No. It is xenophobia. It is racism wrapped around the fabric of religion. Simple as. Anyone who ‘looks’ Muslim, who ‘sounds’ Muslim, who has a ‘Muslim sounding name’ are the victims of islamophobic attacks: non-Muslim and Muslim blacks, Sikh’s, Hindu’s, Muslim, Christian and Jewish Arabs. Numerous physical attacks carried in the name of harming a Muslim, harming a terrorist have been perpetrated based on physical appearances and characteristics. The fact that individuals try to perpetrate who is Muslim and who isn’t based on physical appearance shows the profound level of ignorance prevalent in society towards minorities. Ultimately, these islamophobic attacks reveal society’s constructed ongoing racism and cyclical obliviousness to those who form the underclass. If people well and truly hated Muslims, and wanted to attack Muslims in the name of ‘protecting society from Islam’, then only Muslims would be the victims of these attacks. But they are not. Islamophobia is so much more than just people having negative stereotypes about Islam which are then manifested into attacks on Muslims. Islam is no longer just synonymous with the Middle East, Muslim men with violence and Muslim women with oppression. Islam has become synonymous with race and ethnicity and physical appearance.