What is “Islamophobia”? How should Christians respond to such charges?
In their own words:
(Organization of Islamic Conference) OIC-CS-3rd OBS-REP-Final-April, 2010 (1)
Islamophobia has been described as ‘fear or suspicion of Muslims and Islam and matters pertaining to them’, and as such Islamophobia is prejudice, intolerance and discrimination against Muslims and Islam. Academicians have also defined Islamophobia as ‘anti-Muslim or anti-Islamic racism’ and ‘hostility towards Muslims and Islam’. Regardless of the definition, Islamophobia constitutes an affront to the dignity and human rights of Muslims. It represents an unfounded fear that lends itself to irrational manifestations of discrimination, prejudice and hostility.
A Report by the Runnymede Trust1 defines Islamophobia as a world view involving an
unfounded dread or hatred of Islam and the subsequent fear and dislike of all Muslims. The same report also refers to the phenomenon as practice of discriminating against Muslims by excluding them from social, political and economic life. It needs to be appreciated that Islamophobia connotes a social anxiety about Islam -one of the three Abrahamic religions-and its followers that views Islam as a political ideology rather than as a religion.
Distinctions must be made between individuals and ideas, between people and religion. The OIC fails to do this by joining “Muslims and Islam” in the same breath. Christians rightly reject this construct as we are called by God to love all people, even our enemies. On the other hand we are instructed to pray for those deceived and held captive by the devil through heresies, false teachings, false prophets and the like. We are told to resist the devil, to tear down strongholds, to remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood. Thus to say we believe that Islam is a satanic stronghold, that it is evil and leads to eternal suffering is for us to speak the truth in love. To say otherwise or remain silent in the name of tolerance would be exactly what the OIC accuses us of: hatred, cruelty and discrimination against Muslims.
Christians uphold the inborn dignity and human rights of Muslims and all people regardless of their faith.
Despite the OIC’s denials, Christians recognize the reality that the Islam is very much not only a spiritual belief but also a political ideology and system of this world. Wherever Muslims have become a majority, Sharia law has been imposed and classic First Amendment rights denied. This rightly raises grave concerns and anxiety about unrestricted immigration laws for Muslims whose world view is by definition inimical to the freedoms enshrined in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. A restrictive immigration policy would rest not upon irrational fear and hostility, but upon a rational observation and analysis of societies and religious claims that are foreign to the Judeo-Christian heritage.
We make a distinction between the fear and dislike of Muslims, which we abhor, and fear/dislike of Islam, which is completely reasonable from a Christian world view.
1. “The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) is an Islamist supremacist organization. Composed of 57 member states with Muslim majority populations, the OIC is the largest Islamic body in the world. It is also the largest international organization of any kind, second only to the United Nations. It represents an estimated 1.5 billion Muslims across the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
Pastor Paul Becker