There is no such thing as Islamophobia. Bigotry and racism exist, of course—and they are evils that all well-intentioned people must oppose. And prejudice against Muslims or Arabs, purely because of the accident of their birth, is despicable. But like all religions, Islam is a system of ideas and practices. And it is not a form of bigotry or racism to observe that the specific tenets of the faith pose a special threat to civil society. Nor is it a sign of intolerance to notice when people are simply not being honest about what they and their co-religionists believe.
At a time when Muslim communities are being exhorted to do more to tackle violence by a handful of extremists who purport to be Muslims, it is vitally important that our government and police are equally pro-active in seeking to tackle extremist violence against British Muslims and the Islamophobic climate that gives rise to it. ... The need for fair and equal treatment for British Muslims is even more pressing because many Muslims do not have sufficient confidence to report attacks against them to the police. There is therefore an urgent need to restore Muslim community confidence to tackle the problem of under-reporting of violent crime in much the same way as has been achieved with other minorities in the recent past. Time has come for politicians to finally take this issue as seriously as racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia.
We see no colonialism, racism, or so-called "Islamophobia" in submitting Islamic practices to criticism or condemnation when they violate human reason or rights.
"The St. Petersburg Declaration" (March 2007), quoted in Paul Cliteur's The Secular Outlook: In Defense of Moral and Political Secularism (2010), p. 276.
Because we live in a liberal democracy and therefore have certain double standards to maintain, any criticism of Islam or of Muslims always draws the immediate accusation of Islamophobia, a dishonest word which seeks to portray legitimate comment as some kind of hate crime.
We find statements by religious, polital leaders and the media that incite Islamophobia. I'm going to give you some, otherwise we wind up talking in very true but general statements. And I think we need to hear the actual words, because these are the words that people, who are in churches, people who are watching the media, hear. And if they don't have a context within which to place them, they will draw us out of conclusions. While George Bush and Tony Blair may distinguish between Islam and extremism, Franklin Graham tells us that "Islam is a very evil religion. All the values that we as a nation hold dear, they don't share those same values at all … these countries that have the majority of Muslims." You might think of Franklin Graham as an individual, but if you are in the Muslim world, you know that Franklin Graham gave the invocation at the first inauguration of president Bush, that Franklin Graham a year and a half later was asked to speak on Good Friday at the Pentagon. That sends a signal. Pat Robertson: "This man [Muhammad] was an absolute wild-eyed fanatic, he was a robber and a brigand. And to say that these terrorists distort Islam … they are carrying out Islam. I mean: This man [Muhammed] was a killer and to think that this is a peaceful religion is fraudulent." Benny Hinn at a pro-Israel rally: "This not a war between Arabs and the Jews, this is between God and the devil." And there are many others.
While Islamophobia like anti-Semitism is centuries old, it too will not be eradicated easily or soon. Therefore we all have a critical role to play: Government policy makers, educational institutions and the media, religious and political leaders, educators, media people, believers and unbelievers, the private and public sectors and international organisations like the UN are charged today to address and promote inter-religious and inter-cultural dialog to build a world based upon a modern notion of tolerance, that is grounded in mutual understanding and respect for others. For the end of the day Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance know no religious, racial, tribal or national bounderies or limits. The message at the end of the day is simple and clear: Islam is not the enemy, religious extremism is.