“Islamophobia” refers to what some people believe to be bigotry and intolerance towards Islam due to fear, hatred, and ignorance of Islam. It is often used against those who speak or write against aspects of Islam, such as Islamism, or who otherwise do not respect Islam as Muslims want them to.
Literally, “Islamophobia” means “fear of Islam” but is used like “homophobia” to refer to what they see as an ignorant, bigoted hatred for Islam. (This is somewhat interesting as many of the people who accuse others of Islamophobia could themselves be accused of homophobia.)
However, in discourse amongst Muslims, Muslims believe that Islamophobia originates from a fear of Islam (and why Islamophobes are fearful of Islam varies from fear of Islam’s clear and inevitable conquest and superiority to fear of the unknown). Another origin of Islamophobia, they say, has to do with the fearmongering of various people and officials who thus turn otherwise good people into Islamophobes. These people and officials, they say, oppose Islam because its triumph will destroy them (such people usually being Christian and Jewish religious leaders, politicians who use Islamophobia to come into power and stay in power and exercise their power, and other anti-Islamic idealogues; it is believed by some that all such of these know Islam is true and superior and, thus, are trying their best to destroy it before it destroys them). The latter–Islamophobia among the people through no fault of their own–is the target of Muslims’ propaganda which whitewashes Islam. Such information blitzes accomplish three things: it influences people to favor Islam or look favorably on it; it convinces people to convert to Islam; and in changing people’s perspectives on Islam, challenges the authority and sway of those officials and authorities who previously held sway over the people, thus also lessening support for other issues such as counter-terrorism, challenging militant Islamism, and the various wars.
In our society which veers towards political correctness, “Islamophobia” is an excellent tool in the Islamists’ arsenal. Like similar accusations of racism and homophobia, the debate effectually comes to an end with the delegitimizing of the Islamophobe. Similarly, Islamists are able to enlist the support and services of organizations and entities catering to political correctness: portraying “Islamophobia” as similar to racism, homophobia, and other issues that concern political correctness pundits, Islamists are not only able to propagandize to a willing and receptive audience but are also able to have their propaganda spread by these political correctness pundits and adherents.
But like accusations of racism and the like, accusations of “Islamophobia” significantly hinders dialogue and critique. Once something begins to question Islam or the Muslim community, rather than engage in productive debate, Islamists (and other Muslims) resort to name-calling. And this is because this tactic is so powerful and effective: consider how people accused as Islamophobes are ostracized.
This is certainly political correctness run amock. But more dire, it is one of Islamism’s useful tools when dealing with the West. It is an effective tool to shut up their opponents and to make people ignore them by thus delegitimizing them. In seriousness, we in the West are more likely to challenge a scholar’s reported Islamophobia than an Islamist’s anti-Western rhetoric and plans. It really has come to the point that any criticism of Islam and Muslims (and particularly of Islamism) is met with accusations of “Islamophobe!” and lawsuits by poor offended people.