Towards Demystifying Islamophobia

A Muslim’s Perspective

  • Zouhir Gabsi Deakin University
Keywords: Arabic, Islam, Islamophobia, Ideology, Islamic discourse


Islamophobia has been a recurrent socio-political narrative for some time now, and it has been exacerbated since the aftermath of 9/11. Despite the plethora of studies on the subject, little is known about Muslim scholars’ perception of this phenomenon. This is due primarily to the language barrier since the Arabic language is the code for their discourse. It is essential to consider both Islamic and Western perspectives to understand the problem thoroughly and suggest solutions, as relying on one approach is both biased and uncompromising. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is threefold: first, it explains how Islamophobia should be defined contextually. It frames its arguments within three contexts: a historical setting (Meccan and Madinah period), Islam in the Arab world, and Islam in the West. Second, the paper demonstrates how a Muslim’s perspective contrasts with the Western narrative. It critically challenges some of the arguments put forward in social sciences and intellectual discourses and adopts an unapologetic and non-defensive approach in the treatment of Islamophobia.  Third, the paper discusses the variables that affect Islamophobia, such as Western media and terrorism (including state terrorism). Finally, the paper proposes some approaches to mitigating the situation.


Author (2015)
Abdul-Bārī, Ahmad. “Dr Ibrahim Negm talks to Nile TV International about Anti Prophet film and the best way to react to it,” YouTube video, 21:22. Accessed June 15, 2019.
Al-Nawawī, Imam. Riyādh aS-Sāliḥīn [Garden for the Righteous]. Dar-us-Salam Publications, 1999.
Albayrak, Ismail. “Friday Sermons and the Question of Home-Trained Imams in Australia.” Australian EJournal of Theology, 19.1(2012): 29 - 42.
Allen, Chris. Islamophobia. UK: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2010.
Anderson, Norman Islam in the Modern World: A Christian Perspective. Great Britain: Apollos, 1990.
Awad, Bakr Zaki. Al-ṣirā al-dīnī fī Shibh al-Jazīra Al-ʿArabiyye qabla al-Islām: bawāʿithuhu, ʾabʿāduhu, athaaruhu [Religious Conflict in the Arabian Peninsula during the Pre-Islamic period: beginning, dimension and effects]. Maktabah al-Muhtadīn al-Islāmiyye limuqāranah al-adyān, n.d.
Benard, Cheryl. Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, National Security Research Division, 2003.
Ben Tamsuk, Mustapha. “Al-islamophobia: Muqāraba Geo-Siyāsiyye” [Islamophobia: A Geo-Political Approach]. Mominoun Without Borders, February 6, 2017, 1-18. 01/islamofoubia.pdf
Cojanu, Daniel. Cultural diversity and the new politics of identity. Revista De Stiinte Politice, 50 (2016): 31.
European Monitoring on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). Perceptions of Discrimination and Islamophobia: Voices from members of Muslim communities in the European Union, 2006.
Foucault, Michel. Society Must be Defended: Lectures at the College de France 1975–1976, ed. M Bertoni & A Fontana. London: Penguin, 2003.
Ghannouchi, Rached. “Madā Miṣdāq Daʿwā Fachal al-Islām al-Siyāsī” [Extent of Credibility of Political Islam Failure], aljazeera, September 24, 2013. مدى-مصداق-دعوى-فشل-الإسلام-السياسي
Hijazi, Abu Tariq. “Najashi: The King Who Supported Muslim Emigrants.” Arab News, March 28, 2014.
Lev-Ari, Sheri, and Keysar, Boaz. “Why don't we believe non-native speakers? The influence of accent on credibility.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46 (2010): 1093–1096.
Lewis, Bernard. Europe and Islam. Washington: Publisher for the American Enterprise Institute, 2007.
Machin, David. “News Discourse I: Understanding the Social Goings-on Behind News Texts.” In Language and Power: An Introduction to Institutional Discourse, edited by Andrea Mayr, 62-89. London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2008.
Machin, David, and Jaworski, Adam. “Archive footage in news: creating a likeness and index of the phenomenal world.” Visual Communication, 5(3) (2006): 345–66.
Mayr, Andrea. “Introduction, Power, Discourse and Institutions.” In Language and power: An introduction to institutional discourse, edited by Andrea Mayr, 1-25. London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2008.
Morgan, George, and Poynting, Scott. “Introduction: The Transnational Folk Devil.” In Global Islamophobia: Muslims and Moral Panic in the West, edited by George Morgan and Scott Poynting, 1-14. Farnham: Ashgate, 2012.
Najm, I. (2012). Dr Ibrahim Negm talks to Nile TV International about anti prophet film and the best way to react to it. Source: Source
Najm, Ibrahim. Mustachār Mufti al-Jumhūriyyah Yuṭālib al-Qiyādah al-Dīniyyah Bitaṣhīḥ surat al-Islam [Adviser to the Republic Demands Religious Leaderships to Correct the Image of Islam]. Masrāwī, August 3, 2014.
Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, and Johanbegloo, Ramin. In Search of the Sacred: A Conversation with Seyyed Hossein Nasr on His Life and Thought, 2010. Santa Barbara: Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data.
Ramberg, Ingrid. “Islamophobia and its Consequences on Young People.” Seminar Report, 1–6 June. Budapest: The Directorate of Youth and Sport of the Council of Europe, 2004.
Richardson, John. E. “Who Gets to Speak? A study of sources in the broad- sheet Press." In Muslims and the News Media, edited by Elizabeth Poole and John E. Richardson, 103–15. London: IB Tauris, 2006.
Runnymede Commission on Antisemitism. A Very Light Sleeper: the persistence and dangers of Antisemitism. London: Runnymede Trust, 1994.
Rutledge, David. “Radicals and Moderates: Faith, Reason and Islam.” ABC Radio National, June 14, 2014. Transcript.
Sabet, Amr G.E. Islam and the Political: Theory, Governance and International
Relations. London: Pluto Press, 2008.
Said, Edward W. Orientalism. London: Penguin, 1995.
Siddiqui, Mona. “Radicals and Moderates: Faith, Reason and Islam.” ABC Radio National, June 14, 2014. islam/5378434.
Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr. “The March of the Hypocrites.” The London Times, August 21, 1997.
Suleiman, Yasir. “After Islamophobia comes the criminalisation of Arabic: Who will rescue Western societies from their Islamophobes?” aljazeera, March 20, 2016.
Tyrer, David. The Politics of Islamophobia. London: PlutoPress, 2013.
Welsh, Michael. Scapegoats of September 11TH: Hate Crimes and State Crimes in the War on Terror. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2006.
Zaqzuq, M. H. 1987. Al-Islām fi Tasawwuraat Al-Gharb [Islam in the West’s Perception]. Cairo: Wahbah Library.
Zaqzuq, M.H. Al-Risālah al-Muhammadiyyah fi al-Mu’allafāt al-Gharbiyyah [Muhammad’s Message in Western Literature]. Majallat Markaz al-Buḥūth al-Sunnah w al-Sīrah [Journal of the Centre for Research into Sunnah and Seera], 4(1989): 49-457.