Kenan Malik, Prospect Magazine
Ten years ago, no one had heard of Islamophobia. Now everyone from Muslim leaders to anti-racist activists to government ministers wants to convince us that Britain is in the grip of a major backlash against Islam. But does Islamophobia exist?
In the course of making my documentary, I asked dozens of ordinary Muslims about their experiences of Islamophobia. Everyone believed that police harassment was common, although no one had been stopped and searched. Everyone insisted that physical attacks were rife, though few had been attacked or knew anyone who had. What is being created here is a culture of victimhood in which "Islamophobia" has become a one-stop explanation for the many problems facing Muslims.
Pretending that Muslims have never had it so bad might bolster community leaders and gain votes for politicians, but it does the rest of us, Muslim or non-Muslim, no favours at all. The more that ordinary Muslims come to believe that they are under constant attack, the more resentful, inward-looking and open to extremism they are likely to become. >> continue