Justice

These Charts Show Why and Where Islamophobia Exists

In light of the recent terror attacks in Paris, Islamophobia has once again come to the forefront of public discussion. Although many people, including President Barack Obama, are trying to educate people about Islam instead of spreading fear, Islamophobia is more common than we think.

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Posted by ATTN: on Monday, November 16, 2015


According to Gallup, Islamophobia is defined as: "an exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from social, political, and civic life."

During a 2011 meeting among world leaders from United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, as well as the League of Arab States, Muslim communities reported feeling disrespected by several Western countries, specifically the U.S. and Canada. They called on policymakers to change what they described as a global issue.

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Western countries perspective of Muslims data chart

Some of the major reasons cited for Islamphobia were clashes in culture, religion and political interests. However, religion and culture combined outpaces political interests as the major cause of tension between Muslims and Western countries.

Western countries perspective of Muslims data chart

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This clash in cultures played out in October, when thousands of people flooded the streets in Prague to protest Europe's policies on immigrants, specifically Muslim immigrants. Also, Germany's right-wing political group called PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident) is known for its anti-Muslim rhetoric. After the terror attacks on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, more than 20,000 people attended a PEGIDA demonstration. Monday the group held yet another demonstration following the attacks of Paris, according to Deutsche Welle.

The fear of Islamic communities appears even more prevalent in America, Gallup reports.

In addition, 48 percent of Muslims believe they are more likely than any other popular religious group in America to say they have personally experienced racial or religious discrimination in the past year, according to Gallup. That means that Muslim Americans are twice as likely than American Jews, Catholics, and Protestants to have encountered discrimination. That percentage is comparable to the 45 percent of African-Americans and 48 percent of Latinos who feel they have faced a form of prejudice.

Religious groups discrimination data chart

Following the attacks on Paris, anti-Muslim sentiment continues to increase, causing many Muslims to counter the hate-fueled sentiment.

Many people have openly criticized Islam, including noted liberal and talk show host Bill Maher. On his show Friday he encouraged other liberals to wake up and critically analyze Islam while also expressing solidarity with Paris, Salon reports.

Others, including UC Riverside Professor Reza Aslan, has been vocal in the past about why Islamophobia is harmful for the Muslim community.

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