From UBC Wiki

Defining Islamophobia


The term, Islamophobia, was coined in the 1980's and has been seen emerging onto mainstream media more in recent years, becoming increasingly prevalent after being used in a report called Islamophobia: A Challenge For Us All[1]. The report defines Islamophobia as "an outlook or world-view involving an unfounded dread and dislike of Muslims, which results in practices of exclusion and discrimination." The use of this word insinuates an inherent fear of the religion with the use of "phobia", and has more recently been referred to as Anti-Muslim Racism, as defined in the Journal of Sociology. Islamophobia can manifest itself in many forms, seen most explicitly through hate crime, with data showing assault against Muslims has risen in 2016 and has surpassed the total in 2001[2] (the year of the 9/11 attacks).

Anti-Veil Laws


Following Anti-Muslim Racism rhetoric, several laws have been put into place discriminating against individuals who choose to wear the hijab. Chapter 1 of Bill 21 in Quebec states that the law is based on four principles; the fourth being "freedom of conscience and freedom of religion[3]". This law, denying public employees and authority figures their right to wear the headscarf, does the opposite by going against basic individual rights of Muslim women by denying them the right to their own religious freedom. Masked under the idea of secularism, Bill 21 undermines women's rights and further erases minority groups and their communities. It "signals that it’s okay to harbour, foster and even legitimize xenophobic thoughts and policies"[4].


Similarly, city-state Berlin announced a "neutrality law" that further pushes the Islamophobic narrative that continues to be written in conjunction with the law. This law also bans those who are publicly employed (teachers, police, judges) from wearing religious clothing and symbols[5] under the impression that with the removal of the headscarf, an individual shows their obligation to the law by remaining "neutral"[6]. The neutrality law also disallows primary school teachers from wearing the headscarf, with beliefs that "primary school children should be free of the influence that can be exerted by religious symbols"[7]. This comes despite the federal "Basic Law" and constitution in Germany that promises "Freedom of faith, conscience, and creed", along with the ability to exercise religion freely.


Moreover, discrimination against the veil is seen in France, where a bill was passed by the Senate with 335 votes to 1 in 2010[8]. This bill approved the ban of wearing full veils that cover the face in public places. There are various types of veils that are worn by Muslim women. The French council believing that the "niqab and burka are widely seen in France as threats to women's rights and the secular nature of the state"[9].


A election billboard campaigning the caption, "Islamisierung Stoppen", for right-wing populist party "Alternative for Germany". Translated from German to mean "Stop Islamisation".

Alternative for Germany

Anti-immigrant party called Alternative for Germany has an agenda that plans to shut Muslims out of the country, believing that immigrants are too large in numbers and are posing a violent threat against the country. Beatrix von Storch, the party's deputy leader in parliament, specifically stated that, "Muslims are equal threat, over and over again, some people are going to react badly and some people are going to turn violent, aren't they?"[10] This party continues to exclude Muslims, and promote Islamophobic rhetoric through public billboards captioned "Stop Islamisation" and other posters with slogans like "Der Islam gehört nicht zu Deutshland!", translating to "Islam does not belong to Germany"[11].

The Trump Administration

The current President of the United States, Donald Trump has had a long history of Anti-Muslim Racism, often taking to Twitter to express hatred thoughts and opinions towards the Muslim population, with tweets like "The United Kingdom is trying hard to disguise their massive Muslim problem"[12]. 5 years later, he issued a statement that called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on"[13]. Moreover, after a series of terrorist attacks in Paris, Trump stated he would “strongly consider closing mosques. I would hate to do it, but it's something that you're going to have to strongly consider because some of the ideas and some of the hatred — the absolute hatred — is coming from these areas,”[14].


  1. "Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All". The Runnymede Trust. 1997. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  2. Kishi, Katayoun (November 15, 2019). "Assaults against Muslims in U.S. surpass 2001 level". Fact Tank. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  3. Jolin-Barrette, Simon. "Bill 21: An Act respecting the laicity of the State". National Assembly Of Quebec. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  4. Sahi, Ahmed (April 19, 2019). "Quebec's unthinkable Bill 21". Macleans. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  5. "Berlin court: neutrality law above German religious freedom, bans teacher headscarves in primary school". Wikipedia. May 12, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  6. "Labor Court: Institutions can ban Muslim attire at work". DW Made for Minds. September 24, 2014. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  7. "Germany: Berlin court backs headscarf ban for teacher". DW Made for Minds. May 9, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  8. Erlanger, Steven (July 13, 2010). "Parliament Moves France Closer to a Ban on Facial Veils". The New York Times.
  9. "French Senate votes to ban Islamic full veil in public". BBC. September 14, 2010.
  10. Suyak, Frank (July 3, 2010). "Does the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party have any alternatives for the country?". DW Made for Minds. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  11. Reil, Guido (March 19, 2019). "Islam does not belong to Germany". Twitter. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  12. Trump, Donald (December 10, 2010). "Donald Trump tweet". Twitter.
  13. Trump, Donald (December 7, 2015). "Trump calls for 'total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States'". The Washington Post.
  14. Trump, Donald (May 20, 2017). "'I think Islam hates us': A timeline of Trump's comments about Islam and Muslims". The Washington Post.