The dictionary definition of Islamophobia is an “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against Islam or people who practice Islam”.
However, in truth it is far more harmful and insidious that that – it propagates misunderstanding, hate and violence.
In today’s increasingly polarized world it is not just anti-Semitism that threatens the wellbeing and peace within society.
After the attacks of September 11th, there was a sharp increase in hate crimes against Muslims living in the USA.
The data provided illustrates that sharp increase while noting that hate crimes against Muslims are the second most underreported.
Taking this information into consideration it may well be that the figures are higher than presented her also worth noting that this is a study that reaches until 2016 and that while it shows a decrease in hate crimes, the numbers most likely fluctuated after the election of Donald Trump.
Then-President Trump, who built a platform focused on hate rhetoric, allowed for not just Islamophobia but other hate-motivated crimes to take place. In both the USA and abroad, there are many people who share his views on different minorities.
In early June 2021, an attack on a Canadian Muslim family left the London, Ontario community in shock.
A man drove his car into five pedestrians in what was determined to be a pre-meditated attack.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attacks: “Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities.
This hate is insidious and despicable – and it must stop.”
This is, unfortunately, just the latest in a series of violent crimes aimed at Muslims living in Canada and most likely not the last.
Despite condemnation from Trudeau, Islamophobia remains an issue.
It is worth considering that the new wave of both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are linked to the increased tensions between Israel and Palestine.
Social media allows for wider spread of news of the bombings and violence occurring in Gaza, but it equally allows for misinformation, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia to be voiced.
Since the renewed bombings of Palestine, several twitter accounts have taken to reporting the events and others have taken to refuting them.
Most, if not all, the time it devolves into hate-speech and discussions do not take place.
Social media has also come to play a significant part in the spread of Islamophobia.
Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms do not always hold the same definition of what constitutes hate speech.
Until recently, Twitter pretty much allowed incitement of violence to run rampant, culminating with the attack on the capitol.
Regardless, the impact of social media in light of the Israel and Palestine issue cannot be understated.
It has helped cast a light on the plight of many Palestine civilians suffering but also opened them up for vicious name calling and Islamophobia.
However, Islamophobia is not just found in hate-crimes and online harassment, it has a deeply entrenched place in society.
Last week, the European Court of Justice ruled against two women who were suing their employers for being forced to take off their hijabs at work or face being fired.
This decision outraged women who viewed this also as further policing of what women should wear or not, but that is sadly only part of the issue.
This ruling shows the start of a set of official policies aimed to discriminate against individuals due to their faith, and, as history shows, there is, more often than not, an escalation that eventually leads to violence occurring.
The court’s ruling is aimed at stripping religious freedom to combat extremism from taking root, but such actions may work against it.
Any discrimination of minorities, whether due to their sexual orientation, religious beliefs or ethnicity should never be tolerated.
To do so is to implicitly permit a foothold for increased animosity.
Historically, such allowances always give way to an acceptance of violence as the answer to the “problematic minorities”.
However, tackling the issue of Islamophobia goes hand in hand with tackling any hate directed at those who are different from the social norm.
The root of it is perhaps best found at the social level and in education – what children are taught in schools and at home.
If our generation is unable to rise above prejudice to work towards a better future, we must at least aim to educate younger generations to be better.
Tania Chen is a historian, writer and political analyst. She is a graduate of Bristol University where she did a BA in History, followed by an MA in Historical Studies.
Her areas of specialization are China in the 20th century, International Multilateral Organizations, and the Holocaust and it’s representations in current media.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CEIM. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion. The content on this site does not constitute endorsement of any political affiliation and does not reflect opinions from members of the staff and board.