Why we should scrap Islamophobia Awareness Month

Nov 21, 2021 by

by Wasiq Wasiq, spiked:

The term ‘Islamophobia’ is too often used to shield radical Islamists from criticism.

November is ‘Islamophobia Awareness Month’. According to the organisers, the aim of this month is ‘to deconstruct and challenge the stereotypes about Islam and Muslims’. This all sounds very progressive. If its purpose was simply to protect Muslims from bigotry, hate and prejudice, then, as a Muslim, I would certainly agree with it. But there is a much darker side to this initiative.

Islamophobia Awareness Month, as its name suggests, is based on the flawed idea of ‘Islamophobia’. As a concept, ‘Islamophobia’ conflates Islam and Muslims. But the former is a religion whereas the latter are the people who believe in it. And while bigoted ideas and steroeotypes about Muslims should be challenged, Islam is a belief system and it therefore cannot be ‘abused’ or ‘harassed’ in the same way as Muslims can be.

There are, of course, very real problems that arise from the negative stereotyping of Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry can lead to Muslims facing a lack of job opportunities, exclusion from certain events and even isolation from public life. But none of these things is relevant to a discussion about a religion like Islam, which is essentially a set of ideas.

Mixing Islam and Muslims under the banner of ‘Islamophobia’ means giving Islam the same rights as individual Muslims. It turns criticism of Islam into a form of racism. This then becomes a pretext for limiting what we are allowed to say about Islam.

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