A Proposed Definition Of Islamophobia

Warsaw, 8 October 2010

Islamophobia is a form of intolerance and discrimination motivated with fear, mistrust and hatred of Islam and its adherents. It is often manifested in combination with racism, xenophobia, anti-immigrant sentiments and religious intolerance.

Manifestations of Islamophobia include hate speech, violent acts and discriminatory practices, which can be manifested by both non-state actors and state officials.

Islamophobic rhetoric associates Muslims with terrorism and portrays them as an international and domestic threat. It makes stereotypical allegations about Muslims as a monolithic group of people whose culture is backward and incompatible with human rights and democracy.

Other examples of Islamophobic rhetoric in political discourse, the media, schools, work place and in the religious sphere involve, but are not limited to:

– Calling for banning and/or restricting visibility and practices of Islam in public space on the grounds that Islam is not a religion but an oppressive ideology;

– Accusing Muslims of not willing to integrate in the society where they live in, but imposing their own values and culture;

– Describing Muslims as a demographic time-bomb which will become a numerical majority where they are minority for the time-being;

– Charging Muslims with not being loyal to the country that they live in but to the Muslim community as a whole;

– Advocating collective expulsion of Muslims based on the accusation that they are enemies within;

– Dehumanizing and demonizing Muslims as a collective “other” defined only on religious basis, leading to the racialisation of the “Muslim category”;

– Accusing Muslims of being responsible for wrongdoing committed by other Muslim individuals or groups;

– Denying contributions that Muslims made and have been making to the society and World;

– Rejecting any possibility of co-operation between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Acts of Islamophobia, which can be committed by non-state actors or state officials, include:

– Physical attacks, which are carried out spontaneously by individuals or organized groups, on individuals, community institutions and property that are rightly or wrongly associated with Muslims or Islam;

– Discriminatory immigration and naturalization procedures directly or indirectly excluding Muslims or placing them in a disadvantageous situation in comparison with people of other religious origin;

– Racial/religious profiling measures, including stop and search, surveillance of religious and cultural Muslim organizations, and no flight lists, which have disproportional impact on Muslims;

– Restrictions, by either legislative or administrative means, on the visibility of religious symbols targeting at exclusively Muslims, as in the case of prohibition of minarets.

Institutional Islamophobia is state policies and systematic practices discriminating Muslims based on their religious identity. It poses a serious threat to the security of Muslims because such policies and practices can lead to spreading bias, and therefore be a fertile ground for hate crimes


In order to combat Islamophobia and foster tolerance and mutual understanding based on the international human rights standards, States should:

– Take all necessary measures in their legal systems to ensure a safe environment free from Islamophobic harassment, violence and discrimination in all walks of life;

– Develop and implement comprehensive educational strategies and programme for combating Islamophobia;

– Create, whenever necessary, specialized bodies and initiatives in order to combat Islamophobia;

– Include in their integration policies programmes and activities addressing Islamophobia and its roots causes;

– Record, monitor and maintain reliable information and statistics about Islamophobic hate crimes committed within their territory and make such reports publically available;

– Combat Islamophobic hate crimes, which can be fuelled by Islamophobic hate speech in the media and on the Internet;

– Take all necessary measures in order to prevent racial/religious profiling and other forms of institutionalized Islamophobia;

– Conduct public awareness campaigns and specific programmes for governmental officials in order to combat Islamophobia;

– Encourage and support intergovernmental human rights agencies and non-governmental organizations dealing with Islamophobia;

– Strive to develop necessary mechanisms and standards to increase international co-operation in combating Islamophobia.

This proposal is supported by: European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion (Denmark-France), Jewish-Muslim Cooperation Platform (Belgium), Austrian Muslim Initiative, Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France (CCIF), JPL MONDE (France), Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF – Germany), Ethnic Debate Forum and Fair Play (Denmark), The National Association of Muslim Police (NAMP-UK), Western Thrace Minority University Graduates Association (Greece), Muslim Community of Bulgaria, Muslim Committee on Human Rights in Central Asia (Kazakhstan), Turkish Community in Germany (TGD).

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