A New Islamophobia

Islamophobia, according to Ilan Halevi, is a growing phenomenon in Western countries. Drawing on prejudices against Islam that have deep in roots in Christian European history and thought, the phenomenon has reached unprecedented heights in the post 9/11 political discourse.

Its particular power and danger lies in the potential for a broad alliance of otherwise opposed political forces: Muslims and Islam serve as the embodiment of the ultimate enemy for conservatives and the right wingers striving for Western hegemony and racial purity, and for progressives standing up for freedom of expression, rationality, human rights and rights of women. In this way, Islamophobia today serves similar purposes as Anti-Semitism did in the past, and offers a convenient scapegoat and a battle cry to distract and rally those who see their livelihoods and their way of life threatened by the forces of globalization and global capital.