Definitions

The definition of Islamophobia is controversial and widely debated. Here are some of the most prominent definitions:

  • Islamophobia is “dread or hatred of Islam - and, therefore, fear or dislike of all or most Muslims” Runnymede Trust. 1997. 'Islamophobia: a challenge to us all' (London: Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia), 1. The report then presented a grid which suggested that “closed” views of Islam see it as … “monolithic, separate, inferior, an enemy, and manipulative”. Muslim “criticism of the West is rejected”, “hostility towards Islam is justified” and “anti-Muslim hostility is accepted as natural”.

  • Islamophobia is defined as: a prejudice, aversion, hostility, or hatred towards Muslims and encompasses any distinction, exclusion, restriction, discrimination, or preference against Muslims that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life”. MEND report. 2018. ‘More than Words: approaching a definition of Islamophobia'

  • Islamophobia is an ideology, similar in theory, function and purpose to racism and other similar phenomena, that sustains and perpetuates negatively evaluated meaning about Muslims and Islam in the contemporary setting”. Allen, Chris. 2010. Islamophobia (Farnham: Ashgate), 190. Click here for the very long unabridged version.

  • Islamophobia is a certain perception of Muslims, which may be expressed as hatred toward Muslims. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of Islamophobia are directed toward Muslim or non-Muslim individuals and/or their property, toward Muslim community institutions and religious facilities”. Allen, Chris. 2016. 'Towards a Working Definition of Islamophobia: A Briefing Paper' (Birmingham: School of Social Policy, College of Social Sciences, University of Birmingham)

  • (short) “Islamophobia is anti-Muslim racism”. ….. (long) “Islamophobia is any distinction, exclusion, or restriction towards, or preference against, Muslims (or those perceived to be Muslims) that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life”. Farah Elahi & Omar Khan. 2017. 'Islamophobia: still a challenge for us all' (Runnymede Trust). A report produced on the 20th anniversary of the first Runnymede Trust report above.

  • “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.” All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims. 2018. 'Islamophobia Defined: the inquiry into a working definition of Islamophobia'

  • Orientalism - “Western ideas about the Middle East and about East and Southeast Asia, especially ideas that are too simple or not accurate about these societies being mysterious, never changing, or not able to develop in a modern way without Western help” Cambridge Dictionary

Responses to definitions and usage

Christian Responses

Muslim Responses

Campaigns

  • Tell MAMA - “We are an independent, non-governmental organisation which works on tackling anti-Muslim hatred and therefore our work is not influenced or wholly shaped by Government. However, we work with Central Government to raise the issues of anti-Muslim hatred at a policy level and our work helps to shape and inform policy makers, whilst ensuring that an insight is brought into this area of work through the systematic recording and reporting of anti-Muslim hate incidents and crimes”.

  • One man’s (very polite) fight against media Islamophobia’ - Guardian piece on Miqdaad Versi’s campaign against media misreporting

  • Islamophobia Awareness Month - highlights the menace of anti-Muslim hate crime and showcases positive contributions of Muslims. Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) was co-founded by MEND with other British organisations in 2012 to deconstruct and challenge the stereotypes about Islam and Muslims. 

  • Network Against Islamophobia - a project of Jewish Voice for Peace, was created to serve as a resource to groups interested in organizing against Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism and to be a partner to the broader, Muslim-led movement against Islamophobia. NAI facilitates online resource-sharing of FAQs, public letters, press statements, articles, and other materials.

  • See hashtags on Twitter such as #Islamophobia #AntiMuslim

Reports

Books and Articles