I am sure in the last couple of years you have heard these words interchangeably used to describe someone who has negative views towards Islam or muslims. One side of the argument believed that since Islam was not strictly a race, it was wrong to label a person as such. Whereas, the other believed that islamophobia was some sort of racism.
Let’s take a look at a short background of each word:
Wikipedia stated that Racism consists of ideologies and practices that seek to justify, or cause, the unequal distribution of privileges or rights among different racial groups.
Despite the absence of the word in the past, racism had a long and bad history. Most people would hate to be associated with the word ‘racist’. Although there are some who probably would proudly say that they are.
It is believed that recent global events have given way to the rise of this kind of phobia.
Racism vs Islamophobia
I was involved in a pretty enlightening discussion about the topic when someone posted a review that started with ‘It was a sad day when I found out my favourite food was halal’. Obviously, the first few comments were that of shocks and horrors… and all of the reaction you could think of. It also gave way to the views I stated at the beginning of this piece: whether or not Islam is a race. After further exchanges of ‘pleasentries’, it came to a point of no resolution… I’m pretty sure quite often most discussions arrived at that point… and resulted in both parties going their separate ways.
The only people winning in this instance are the hardcore groups from each side… and humanity lost…
My personal take on this issue is that we should stop using the word ‘racism’ to describe people who are afraid of Islam or muslims. I am sure none of us (normal people) would like to be branded as such. Also, some of them might just be some clueless followers who are just afraid with the overabundance of bad information circulating these days.
With that mindset, we can safely say that there is no incurable phobia… every phobia is curable… Islamophobia included. There is, of course, the scientific ways to cure… however, people tend to forget an easier (and cheaper) way to do this: communicate (aka talk!).
After all, the vast majority of muslims are just an average Joe/Jane like you and me. You can talk to them and I can guarantee they won’t blow you up!