The Politics of Islamophobia

The Politics of Islamophobia


The term “Islamophobia” was invented and promoted in the early 1990s by the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), a front group of the Muslim Brotherhood. Former IIIT member Abdur-Rahman Muhammad — who was with the IIIT when the word “Islamophobia” was first created, and who has since rejected IIIT’s ideology — now reveals the original intent behind the term: “This loathsome term is nothing more than a thought-terminating cliche conceived in the bowels of Muslim think tanks for the purpose of beating down critics.” In short, “Islamophobia” was a term designed as a weapon to advance a totalitarian cause by stigmatizing critics and silencing them.

This plan was an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “General Strategic Goal for North America,” by which the organization aimed to wage “a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands … so that … God’s religion [Islam] is made victorious over all other religions.” To implement this plan, the Brotherhood enlisted the help of 29 likeminded “organizations of our friends” (one of which was IIIT), whose task would be to depict themselves as civil-rights groups speaking out on behalf of a Muslim American population that was allegedly besieged by outsiders who harbored an illogical, unfounded fear of them — i.e., by a society replete with “Islamophobia.”

Although the term was coined in the early 1990s, “Islamophobia” did not become the focus of an active Brotherhood campaign until after 9/11. Since that time, Islamist lobby organizations (including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR) and Muslim civil-rights activists have regularly accused the American people, American institutions, law-enforcement authorities, and the U.S. government of harboring a deep and potentially violent prejudice against Muslims. The accusers charge that as a result of this “Islamophobia,” Muslims are disproportionately targeted by perpetrators of hate crimes and acts of discrimination.

In October 2010, CAIR announced that it was forming a new “Islamophobia” department that would produce an annual report tracking “trends in rhetorical attacks on Islam and Muslims and … offer accurate and balanced information to be used in the struggle for tolerance and mutual understanding.” Each year, CAIR, which claims to be the “Muslim NAACP,” releases a report citing thousands of alleged civil-rights and physical abuses against Muslims, which largely are based on anecdotal reporting from members of its organization. Despite CAIR’s obvious bias (and proven record of dissembling), the mainstream media often report its numbers unfiltered and without question. But a careful analysis of the numbers shows that the incidents reported by CAIR are mostly victimless crimes. In one report, for instance, CAIR listed as “hate crimes” such occurrences as someone placing a copy of the Quran in a toilet at the library of Pace University in New York, and someone trampling on a “flower bed” outside a mosque in Texas.

Moreover, hard FBI data shows that the number of anti-Muslim hate-crime incidents nationwide has actually declined significantly since 2001, the year of the 9/11 attacks. The annual totals for these incidents were as follows: 481 anti-Muslim hate-crime incidents out of 9,721 total hate-crime incidents in 2001; 155 out of 7,459 in 2002; 149 out of 7,485 in 2003; 156 out of 7,642 in 2004; 128 out of 7,160 in 2005; 156 out of 7,720 in 2006; 115 out of 7,621 in 2007; 105 out of 7,780 in 2008; 107 out of 6,598 in 2009; 160 out of 6,624 in 2010; 157 out of 6,216 in 2011; 130  out of 5,790 in 2012; 135 out of 5,922 in 2013; 154 out of 5,462 in 2014; 257 out of 5,818 in 2015; 307 out of 6,063 in 2016; and 273 out of 7,106 in 2017.  Since 2002, anti-Muslim hate-crime reports have accounted for anywhere between 1.5 percent and 5 percent of all reported hate crimes in any given year. Even in the years when the incidence was highest, the numbers are nowhere close to what could be characterized as an epidemic in a nation of more than 300 million people.

In addition, anti-Muslim hate crimes are but a fraction of all anti-religion hate crimes. The overwhelming majority of such crimes actually target Jews. In 2017, for instance, fully 60 percent of religiously motivated attacks in the U.S. were against Jews, while just 17 percent targeted Muslims, even though the Jewish and Muslim populations in the United States are similar in size.

A Nexis search suggests that the term “Islamophobia” was first used in the media around 1990, when a Soviet Academy of Sciences academic told an Uzbekistan-based newspaper that Soviet leaders’ “Islamophobia” might trigger an “Islamic explosion.” In 1995, Jordan’s Prince Hassan used the word in an address at the UN General Assembly, asserting that many people were using “inflammatory rhetoric” to “ta[r] all Moslems with the brush of fanatical extremism.” In 1996 the British think tank Runnymede Trust established a Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, which later produced a report entitled “Islamophobia: A challenge for us all.” In the late 1990s, Iranian diplomats used the term with increasing frequency at the (now-defunct) UN Commission on Human Rights, characterizing the phenomenon as “the perception of Islam and its followers as threats to the West.” Today, references to “Islamophobia” appear regularly in UN documents.

Additional Resources:

Islamophobia: Thought Crime of the Totalitarian Future
By David Horowitz and Robert Spencer

Smear, Inc.: Silencing the Critics of Islamic Supremacism
By Mark Tapson
September 14, 2011

How the Term “Islamophobia” Got Shoved Down Your Throat
By Claire Berlinski
November 24, 2010

Lifting the Veil on the “Islamophobia” Hoax
By Matthew Vadum
December 6, 2015

Progressive “Thought Blockers”: Islamophobia
By Bruce Thornton
December 30, 2015

The Soros-Supported Center for American Progress Blames Rich Jews for Stoking Islamophobia
Ed Lasky
August 27, 2011

The Only Thing We Have to Fear (Is Islamophobia Itself)
By Robert Spencer and David Horowitz
October 3, 2011

Why “Islamophobia” Is a Brilliant Term
By Dennis Prager
July 31, 2007

A 1,389-Year-Old “Phobia”?
By Raymond Ibrahim
April 7, 2017


Religious Bias Crimes 2000-2009 … Debunking the Myth of a Growing Trend of Muslim Victimization
By The Center for Security Policy

The New “Muslim Hate Crimes Increase” Hoax
By Daniel Greenfield
September 28, 2016

The Top Anti-Muslim Hate Crime Hoaxes of 2014
By Robert Spencer
December 29, 2014

New FBI Hate Crime Stats: Another Blow to Islamist Fictions
By David Rusin
December 15, 2014

More Muslim “Hate Crime” Myths
By Daniel Pipes
December 24, 2010

Fake Hate Crimes: An Islamist Weapon
By Ryan Mauro
August 24, 2010

CAIR’s Hate Crimes Nonsense
By Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha
May 18, 2005

Hate Crimes: Where’s the “Islamophobia”?
By David Rusin
December 3, 2010

CAIR Warns of Threat from Jews and “ProntPage Magazine”
By Daniel Greenfield


Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America
By The Center for American Progress
August 26, 2011

Same Hate, New Target: Islamophobia and Its Impact in the United States
By the Council on American-Islamic Relations
January 2009 – December 2010

Jihad Against Islam
By The Southern Poverty Law Center
Summer 2011

Reflections on Islamophobia
By the Christian Muslim Forum
February 6, 2014

Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime [in the UK]
By Robert Lambert and Jonathan Githens-Mazer

Islamophobia [in Europe]: 2007 Hate Crime Survey
By Human Rights First

Unconscious Islamophobia
By Gema Martín-Muñoz
Fall 2010

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