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Islamophobia is a political term meant as an insult that literally means the fear of Muslims. It is sometimes used to describe a hatred of the religion and its followers. It may be the cause of hate crimes. "Islamophobia" can supposedly take the form of criticisms against certain ideological positions taken by believers but almost always state the religion itself as the actual problem. Islamophobia is defined by some scholars as a type of racism.
In 1996, the Runnymede Trust researched public opinions about Islam. The research showed people have different opinions about Islam. The most negative opinions that some people have about Islam are:
- That the Islamic World ("Islam") is seen as a single block that will not change.
- That Islam does not have common values with other cultures.
- That Islam is inferior to "the West". It has a barbaric culture, which is also irrational and sexist.
- That they think Islam is aggressive and threatening. Some people think it supports terrorism.
- That it is seen as an ideology which can be used in politics or war.
- That if Muslims criticise "the West", these criticisms are not tolerated.
- That Muslims are discriminated against in society, Islamophobia is used as a justification.
- That hostility against Muslims is seen as natural and normal.
A study found that Muslim women experienced Islamophobic attacks more often than Muslim men.
- PDF (69.7 KB), Runnymede Trust, 1997.