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They can also measure avoidance, as there are people who are so fearful of the Muslim culture that they will go out of their way to avoid Muslims and not have to interact with them in any way. There is a social stigma to Muslims in the eyes of many people, and that stigma is not always about hatred. It is much more often about fear, but that fear can manifest itself in different ways -- and some people seem angry at a group of individuals they are afraid of, as a way to try to cover up their fear. That fear can come from a lack of understanding, which can be worked through with knowledge and information.
There are some proposed alternatives to both the term and the concept of Islamophobia. Professor Fred Halliday and other scholars have argued that it is not really Islam that people are upset with, but Muslims -- and only some Muslims, at that (Allen, 128). He states that "anti-Muslimism" would be a better term for the fear and hatred that is often directed toward this particular group of people (Allen, 129). There are also a number of types and strains of Islamophobia that are seen, depending on the culture and nation from which a person comes. That was not addressed in the analysis that was completed by Runnymede, which only focused on the Muslims in Britain, and made no mention of the United States or other countries (van Driel, 103). There are two different ways in which Islamophobia is used, as well. One is through the attacking of Islam's perceived tenets, and another is through negative stereotyping. Those stereotypes then are often turned into actual attacks, and people who create and follow these stereotypes do not take the time to look into whether there are other ways to consider the issue.
There are, therefore, different Islamophobias, just as there are different racisms. That does not invalidate the concept, however, and can even expand on how it is viewed and whether there are other ways in which it can be properly addressed. One of the biggest issues with finding an alternative to the Islamophobia term is that there is no acceptable definition of the term that encompasses all that it might mean to everyone who hears or uses the term. Additionally, not everyone believes the term is accurate or should even be used at all, and some people do not agree that Islamophobia is anything other than racism with a fancy or more specific label. There is both secularly motivated criticism and religious-based prejudice when it comes to Islam. The term Islamoprejudice has been created to address the idea that there is a difference between the two issues, which can help facilitate understanding (Ramadan, 38).
There are organizations that are focused on and interested in keeping Islam out of the United States. Groups like Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) do what they can do keep Islamic people away, and they make no secret of their dislike and distrust of any person who is Islamic or who identifies as Muslim (Sheehi, 48). The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have branded groups like these as hate groups, because they have gone out of their way to make all of Islam look bad (Sheehi, 53). They brand every Muslim as a terrorist, and argue that their "phobia" is actually just a realism that not everyone possesses, but that everyone should be carefully considering. There have been two schools of thought about the allegations these kinds of groups are bringing to light. Many believe that they are spreading hate messages that address all Muslims, and others feel that they are providing information about the violent groups that reside within Muslim culture, not providing a blanket statement about everyone who belongs to that religion (Sheehi, 59).
A number of organizations also focus on keeping Islam out of countries like the UK, but it is generally impossible to do this (Gottschalk & Greenberg, 39). There is no law that prohibits a person from coming into the country based on his or her religion, and there is no legal way for those people to be persecuted, either. That is true in Europe and also in the United States, where there are more Muslims every day. They are making their voices heard, and pushing back against the hate groups that are attacking them in some cases. However, there are also Muslims who simply keep their religion to themselves and avoid discussing it with anyone, because they do not want to "make waves" or upset anyone who may not feel comfortable around Muslims. The idea that they are "all" terrorists is inaccurate at best, but there are still many people who have that opinion and have no desire to change it.
The media plays a large role in Islamophobia. It has been accused of perpetuating the stereotype of Muslim individuals being terrorists and being dangerous (Kincheloe & Steinberg, 138). That has been seen to be the case in many news programs, and also on television shows where the person committing the crime or attempting to harm others has ties to Muslim groups. It is no secret that there are people in the United States and other countries who are Muslim and who may not be "friendly" in the sense that they respect other cultures and religions. Some may even be plotting harm and terroristic activities. However, there are also plenty of people who are not Muslim and who are plotting those same kinds of things. The media, while it acknowledges both of those issues, tends to focus too heavily on a person being Muslim or Islamic when it comes to whether that person may have extremist ties (Allen, 18). When Muslims are continually portrayed as "the bad guys," and there are few, if any, Muslim characters on television or in the movies who are kind, careful, harmless people, it is easy for stereotypes to be reinforced.
The media generally shows Muslims as being sexist and treating women poorly, and displays them as irrational, barbaric, and even primitive in nature (Allen, 43). They are rarely painted in a good light, and the word "Islam" or "Islamic" is often linked to comments about bombs and terrorism. The way they are linked together by the media is simply reinforcing the perceived Islamophobia that is already seen in the United States and a number of other countries, which does not help move toward a better understanding between the U.S. And Islam. Terrorist attacks that are carried out by Muslims are over-reported in the news, while attacks that are carried out by other groups are under-reported, leading to a bias that is unnecessary and unhelpful (Greaves, 94). There are, however, some media outlets that are working against Islamophobia and attempting to be completely factual and non-biased in their reporting.
Islamophobia has become more important from both political and sociological standpoints. The September 11th attacks began what could be called the latest round of Islamophobia, even though there had been references to it in the past (Kundnani, 48). The United States and the Muslim world have traditionally not gotten along well, and that has not been a secret. However, once the 9/11 attacks took place, the level of Islamophobia seen in the United States and number of European countries really became much stronger and more pronounced (Kundnani, 54). That was a serious issue for the people in those countries, and also for a number of Muslims who also condemned the attacks and had no interested in harming Americans or anyone else. Now that there are also more Muslim people in the United States, Americans have more of a reminder of Islam. That can make them uncomfortable, because they have specific thoughts and beliefs about people who identify as Muslim.
Because of those thoughts and beliefs, many people do not want to live around Muslims, and that only perpetuates the lack of understanding between cultures, as they also have similarities to be considered. A circular model then appears, where people are uncomfortable around Muslims, the government steps in with countermeasures and legislation directed at Muslim countries, and that legislation works to make people even more uncomfortable with Muslim and Islamic individuals (Allen, 40). It is believed that Islamophobia has always existed to some degree, mostly because people are generally uncomfortable with those who are different than them. There have even been talks among scholars that have expressed concern that another Holocaust will take place, and that it will directed against Muslims this time. That is a possibility that could come to pass if there is nothing done to curb the tide of Islamophobia in the United States and foster understanding between cultures.
There are several contrasting views on Islam, most of which were discussed in the Runnymede report. These views can either be considered to be open or closed, and that…[continue]
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