Islamophobia can be defined as hostility and hatred towards Islam. Moreover, it is usually described as an exaggerated fear of Islam based on negative thoughts and discrimination. While a particular race is something related to ethnic background, facial features, or skin color, and it has deep roots that cannot be changed.
Its standard components are based on stereotype, myth, and caricature. Thought of superiority is widespread among races. People who belong to one race most of the time think that they are superior to other races, not all but most of them. Islam is a religion that is related to belief. People from different races may have the same beliefs, and people from the same race may have different beliefs.
According to All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) of UK:
“Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”
It could be the case but not always, and this statement was also opposed by many critics afterward.
“Phobia” is a medical condition that is incorporated with fear of an object or a situation. Islamophobia was present among people in the late twentieth century, but it had boosted after the incidence of 9/11. Sometimes Islamophobia and racism can be observed at the same time in different countries.
If people who belong to different races are practicing Islam and they face problems due to their ethnic background as well as due to their belief, then we must say that Islamophobia and racism have some hidden roots and origins.
Ethnic Backgrounds and Islamophobia
If we talk about the United Kingdom, most of the Muslims are non-white, so racial discrimination and Islamophobia can overlap. International human rights and UK law clearly states that when two different things overlap, then these may cause more discrimination and can strengthen each other. So, Islamophobia cannot be regarded as racism simply because people of different races may have the same belief. They can observe discrimination only based on their beliefs, such as Muslims of the UK and the USA are facing discriminated behaviors of the society towards them.
Islam and Christianity are followed worldwide, so it is evident that people from different ethnic backgrounds and races are following these religions. Being a Muslim, you must believe that there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad (PBUH) is His Last Prophet. Religion is a matter of belief and practices, but the race is something different. If someone wants to change his or her religion, then it can be changed easily, but your facial features, skin tone cannot be adjusted. So the race is something far different from a religion.
Islamophobia within Muslims?
Some people may be found involved in some suspicious activities, and they claim practicing Islam, but in reality, they are not practicing the true spirit of Islam. If a community opposes them based on these suspicious activities, then we cannot say this Islamophobia.
Some sects of Islam also have some reservations for other sects, and they sometimes feel fear of the other sects. Should we consider this Islamophobia as well? But we are going to differentiate it because it is happening within the groups that may have different ethnic backgrounds but the same belief.
Teachings of Islam and Racism
Racism is basically defined as giving superiority to one race over the other, and it is a reality that racism brings only hate and destruction. Today the world is suffering a lot because of it at various levels, so it is essential for us to know about the teachings of Islam on this issue.
If we look upon the teachings of Islam, it talks about equity. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) talked about it in his last sermon during Hajj, Khutba Hajjatul Wida:
“All humankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a White has no superiority over a Black nor a Black has any superiority over a White except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing should be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.”
Islam itself is against racism, but people facing Islamophobia may couple it with racism, and sometimes it is true as well.
There is no sharp borderline that can differentiate Islamophobia and racism on some occasions. It depends on many factors, whether Islamophobia is racism or not. Islamophobia is increasing day by day in the west due to negative propaganda in some regions of the world. Muslims are facing restrictions based on Islamophobia, but sometimes these restrictions are merely based on race or ethnic background. So, we cannot claim these restrictions under Islamophobia.