Tag Archive for 'Islam'

Islamophobia vs. Muslim discrimination – perspective of an Italian Muslim

Friends will know that I am uncomfortable with the term “Islamophobia” and try to avoid using it. It seems to me to have become too conflated in popular parlance and different users of the word confuse too many concepts. Whenever anyone uses the term I’m never sure what I mean. Nevertheless I was intrigued to read an interview with Omar Camiletti [IslamOnline.net], Secretary of the Italian Branch of the Muslim World League, which covered the subject.

Camiletti argues that there is a “strong problem of Islamaphobia in Europe”. He fails to define “Islamaphobia” but implies that he talking about fear of Islam (as a religion) itself and argues that this is based on popular misunderstanding of Islam. I’m inclined to accept this but of more interest were his comments on discrimination.

From the article (my emphasis on bold):

IOL: There’s another study … which says that discrimination against Muslims in Europe ranges from verbal threats through to physical attacks on people and property.

Camiletti: This happened especially in England after 2001. I still insist though that Europeans don’t discriminate against Muslims. Moreover, it is the Muslims who have become more racist against Westerners because they feel the clash of civilization.

Woah! That’ll set the cat amongst the pigeons for some readers of this blog.

He goes on:

In England, I heard a Muslim say that all the English are “kuffar” (infidels). This is a person who has sought refuge in the UK and who is being given money from the English government to live. They don’t tolerate that Westerners drink alcohol, and many retain the idea that all Western women are immoral. Do you see the racism? A woman might be exposed because this is the fashion. In a few words, you can explain why you wouldn’t ever go out exposing your bellybutton but you can’t build walls.

Quite right!

Recognising his comments are a sweeping generalization, and accepting that as a proviso, I have to say that I agree with his general point: “Europeans don’t discriminate against Muslims. Moreover, it is the Muslims who have become more racist against Westerners because they [fear] the clash of civilization.”

Now, who’s going to be the first to take a bite? ;-)