The Biden administration recently announced the U.S.’s first “National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia.” It will aim to “counter the scourge of Islamophobia and hate in all its forms,” said press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
The ongoing Arab/Israeli conflict was cited as ushering in this latest wave of “Islamophobia” in America.
But is that really the case? Are temporal circumstances and developments the true culprits behind Islamophobia, defined as “unfounded fear of and hostility towards Islam”?
For example, for the longest time, it was assumed that the terror strikes of 9/11 were the root cause of Islamophobia in America. As an Al Jazeera article titled, “Decades after 9/11, Muslims battle Islamophobia in US,” asserts: “The September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States ushered in a new era of hate crimes, racism, and xenophobia against Muslims.”
In reality, aversion to Islam is as old as Islam itself. In this sense, the claim that Islamophobia is an actual phenomenon is accurate: non-Muslims have always feared Islam; but there was — and is — nothing irrational about this fear as the word “phobia” implies.
From the very start,