What is “Islamophobia”? If recent usage of the term is any indication of its definition, “Islamophobia” means something similar to the popular usage of “fascist” or “racist”—that is to say, it has no meaning.
I’d like to quote just some recent examples from vaunted media sources. Mind you, these constitute a very small sampling of how the concept of “Islamophobia” has been used over the past few weeks. But its usage has been so consistently vapid that only a few examples will suffice.
But it is plain that many of Park51′s opponents are motivated by deep-seated Islamophobia.
Then, in the next paragraph, this hypothesis is beefed up with the standard strip-club argument:
The proposed site is close not just to Ground Zero; it’s also a stone’s throw from strip clubs, liquor stores and other establishments typical of lower Manhattan.
The implication is that since the protesters haven’t also balked at these vice-ridden establishments’ proximity to Ground Zero, they are only against the mosque because it’s Islamic. Well, yes, that’s exactly why, because the owner of Jim’s Corner Pub & Peep Show did not blame his cash-flow problems on American foreign policy.
More of the Time scholarship:
The controversy has also brought new scrutiny to other examples of anti-Islam and anti-Muslim protests, raising much larger questions: Does America have a problem with Islam? Have the terrorist attacks of 9/11 — and other attempts since — permanently excluded Muslims from full assimilation into American life?
To the last question: No, but failure to assimilate might have something to do with believing in an unreconstructed form of seventh-century theocratic totalism.