Islamophobia (ie. Islam+phobia, "fear") is prejudice against, or an irrational fear of Islam or Muslims. The term seems to date back to the late 1980s, but came into common usage after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States to refer to types of political dialogue that appeared prejudicially resistant to pro-Islamic argument. In 1997, the British Runnymede Trust defined Islamophobia as the "dread or hatred of Islam and therefore, to the fear and dislike of all Muslims," stating that it also refers to the practice of discriminating against Muslims by excluding them from the economic, social, and public life of the nation. It includes the perception that Islam has no values in common with other cultures, is inferior to the West and is a violent political ideology rather than a religion. Professor Anne Sophie Roald writes that steps were taken toward official acceptance of the term in January 2001 at the "Stockholm International Forum on Combating Intolerance", where Islamophobia was recognized as a form of intolerance alongside Xenophobia and Antisemitism.
A perceived trend of increasing "Islamophobia" during the 2000s has been attributed by some commentators to the September 11 attacks, while others associate it with the rapidly growing Muslims populations in the Western world, especially in Western Europe, due to both immigration and high fertility rate. In May 2002, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), a European Union watchdog, released a report entitled "Summary report on Islamophobia in the EU after 11 September 2001", which described an increase in Islamophobia-related incidents in European member states post-9/11. Although the term is widely recognized and used, it has not been without controversy.
The word Islamophobia is a neologism formed of Islam and -phobia. The compound form Islamo- contains the thematic vowel -o-, and is found in earlier coinages such as Islamo-Christian from the 19th century.
A number of individuals and organizations have made attempts to define the concept. Kofi Annan told a UN conference on Islamophobia in 2004: "[W]hen the world is compelled to coin a new term to take account of increasingly widespread bigotry, that is a sad and troubling development. Such is the case with Islamophobia."
In 1996, the Runnymede Trust established the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, chaired by Professor Gordon Conway, the vice-chancellor of the University of Sussex. Their report, Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All, was launched in November 1997 by the Home Secretary, Jack Straw. In this report, Islamophobia was defined by the Trust as "an outlook or world-view involving an unfounded dread and dislike of Muslims, which results in practices of exclusion and discrimination." An early documented use of the word in the United States was by the conservative American Insight magazine in 1991, used to describe Russian activities in Afghanistan. Other claims of early use include usage by Iranian clerics in 1979, or its use in 1921 by the painter Étienne Dinet.
The American Muslim writer Stephen Schwartz has defined Islamophobia as the condemnation of the entirety of Islam and its history as extremist; denying the existence of a moderate Muslim majority; regarding Islam as a problem for the world; treating conflicts involving Muslims as necessarily their own fault; insisting that Muslims make changes to their religion; and inciting war against Islam as a whole.
In a 2007 article in Journal of Sociology defines Islamophobia as anti-Muslim racism and a continuation of anti-Asian and anti-Arab racism. Similarly, John Denham has drawn parallels between modern Islamophobia and the antisemitism of the 1930s. So has Maud Olofsson, Professor Jan Hjärpe, and George Galloway.In a 2008 article in the "Journal of Political Ideologies" Jose P. Zuquete argues that Islamophobia is a catch-all term that should be avoided. Islamophobia places under the broad umbrella of 'fear or hatred of Islam' discourses and criticisms that may have distinct sources, motivations and goals. He argues instead for the use of "anti-Islamic" (because it distinguishes between