A History of Islamophobia


Islamophobia is dislike of or prejudice against Muslims or Islam, especially as a political force. The word, islamophobia, can be traced all the way back to 1910, where Alain Quellien used the word islamophobie to criticize French colonial administrators for their treatment of Muslim subjects. The dispute between the West and Islam dates back to the development of Islam. As time progressed, the relationship between the two civilizations grew more intense, as they started disagreeing with each other during peace, and wars increased in particular areas termed as “frontier”. All was calm for a while, with only minor clashes taking place, but then 9/11 happened. After 9/11, it was thought by every American that Islam was the cause for such horrendous crimes, and since 9/11, hate crimes towards Muslims have been consistently five times higher than before 9/11. In actuality, 9/11 is an isolated case executed by a radical terrorist group; the religion of Islam is not at fault. The average number of hate crimes per year nevertheless since 2010 has been higher than in the three years preceding the Park51 controversy. The Park51 controversy began when an Islamic cultural center opened, near the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers and critics argue that this should not be happening because there should not be a mosque near the site of the attacks. These facts, however, do not include some of the frightful violence witnessed in the past year, such as the execution of three Muslims in Chapel Hill, NC. It is also worth noting that non-Muslims have also been victimized by anti-Muslim hate crimes, such as Wade Michael Page mistaking Sikhs for Muslims as he shot them down. As the construction of mosques occur, their destruction does alongside as well.  The FBI has been blamed to checks mosques and Islamic communities through spies in an effort to incite Muslims who have done nothing illegal to participate in terrorist activity, such as a recent case involving the arrest of three Brooklyn men for plotting to join ISIS. Court documents prove that none of the men would have been in a position to travel to Syria or Iraq without the help of an FBI informant. The NYPD, similarly accused like the FBI, also released its own surveillance program of Islamic communities. It too relied on informants as well as “mosque crawlers” and various alternate methods of profiling to target (if not create) possible terrorists. The NYPD ended the program in 2014, but is thought to not have formally eradicated all of its dubious methods. The last presidential race observed the most conspicuous instances of radical Islamophobia to date. At one GOP debate, Newt Gingrich associated Muslim Americans with Nazis, asserting that just as the Nazis attempted to intrude into the U.S. during World War II, Muslims might be striving to do the same today. The 2016 presidential race already comprises a field of Islamophobia bombast. Rick Santorum faulted Presidents Bush and Obama for offering “all Muslims authorization for diagnosing a tumor inside themselves;” the disease was apparently “Islamic terrorism.” Islamophobia is widespread in all forms of mass media. Muslims disposed to violence and terrorism are also vital to the plotlines of current award-winning TV shows such as Sleeper Cell. The persona of Muslims in the U.S. news media has also declined since 2010. The expectation for an improved America still survives. It’s conceivable that the following five years will be better when it comes to citizens establishing an America in which Islamophobia is less widespread.


About the Author

Abhay Gupta
Abhay Gupta is a rising senior from Moline, Illinois living in 05A15 this year. After gaining successful experience on the World Outlook section for two years, he is now the News Editor. As the News Editor, he hopes to bring relevant tidbits of news to IMSA students in a manner which is more accessible than other news outlets.

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