Islamophobia

Islamophobia is a neologism that refers to prejudice or discrimination against Islam or Muslims.[1] The term itself dates back to the 1980s,[2] but came into common usage after the September 11, 2001 attacks.[3] In 1997, the British Runnymede Trust defined Islamophobia as the “dread or hatred of Islam and therefore, to the fear and dislike of all Muslims,” stating that it also refers to the practice of discriminating against Muslims by excluding them from the economic, social, and public life of the nation. It includes the perception that Islam has no values in common with other cultures, is inferior to the West and is a violent political ideology rather than a religion.[4] Professor Anne Sophie Roald writes that steps were taken toward official acceptance of the term in January 2001 at the “Stockholm International Forum on Combating Intolerance”, where Islamophobia was recognized as a form of intolerance alongside Xenophobia and Antisemitism.[5]

Sources have suggested an increasing trend in Islamophobia, some of which attribute it to the September 11 attacks,[6] while others associate it with the increased presence of Muslims in the Western world.[7] In May 2002 the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), a European Union watchdog, released a report entitled “Summary report on Islamophobia in the EU after 11 September 2001”, which described an increase in Islamophobia-related incidents in European member states post-9/11.[8] Although the term is widely recognized and used, it has not been without controversy.[9] Opponents argue that the term “Islamophobia” is often misused to undermine criticism of Islam.[10]

Etymology
The term is formed of Islam, the post-classical Latin -o- connecting vowel, and the post-classical Latin combining form -phobia which is used to form nouns with the sense ‘irrational fear of’ or ‘aversion to.’ [11] See List of anti-ethnic and anti-national terms for other “-phobia” coinages. As opposed to being a psychological or individualistic phobia, according to associate professor of religion Peter Gottschalk, Islamophobia connotes a social anxiety about Islam and Muslims.[12][13]

Definitions
A number of individuals and organizations have made attempts to define the concept. Kofi Annan told a UN conference on Islamophobia in 2004: “[W]hen the world is compelled to coin a new term to take account of increasingly widespread bigotry, that is a sad and troubling development. Such is the case with Islamophobia.”[14]

In 1996, the Runnymede Trust established the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, chaired by Professor Gordon Conway, the vice-chancellor of the University of Sussex. Their report, Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All, was launched in November 1997 by the Home Secretary, Jack Straw. In this report, Islamophobia was defined by the Trust as “an outlook or world-view involving an unfounded dread and dislike of Muslims, which results in practices of exclusion and discrimination.”[15] An early documented use of the word in the United States was by the conservative American Insight magazine in 1991, used to describe Russian activities in Afghanistan.[15] Other claims of early use include usage by Iranian clerics in 1979,[16] or its use in 1921 by a painter of Etienne Dinet.[17]

The American writer Stephen Schwartz has defined Islamophobia as the condemnation of the entirety of Islam and its history as extremist; denying the existence of a moderate Muslim majority; regarding Islam as a problem for the world; treating conflicts involving Muslims as necessarily their own fault; insisting that Muslims make changes to their religion; and inciting war against Islam as a whole.[18]

In a 2007 article in Journal of Sociology defines Islamophobia as anti-Muslim racism and a continuation of anti-Asian and anti-Arab racism.[19]

Perceptions
The Runnymede report identified eight perceptions related to Islamophobia:

Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change.
It is seen as separate and “other.” It does not have values in common with other cultures, is not affected by them and does not influence them.
It is seen as inferior to the West. It is seen as barbaric, irrational, primitive, and sexist.
It is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism, and engaged in a clash of civilizations.
It is seen as a political ideology, used for political or military advantage.
Criticisms made of “the West” by Muslims are rejected out of hand.
Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.
Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural and normal.[20]
The above perceptions are seen as closed views on Islam. These are contrasted, in the report, with open views on Islam which, while founded on respect for Islam, permit legitimate disagreement, dialogue and critique.[21] According to Benn and Jawad, The Runnymede Trust notes that anti-Muslim discourse is increasingly seen as respectable, providing examples on how hostility towards Islam and Muslims is accepted as normal, even among those who may actively challenge other prevalent forms of discrimination.[22]

In some societies, Islamophobia has materialized due to the portrayal of Islam and Muslims as the national “Other”, where exclusion and discrimination occurs on the basis of their religion and civilization which differs with national tradition and identity. Examples include Pakistani and Algerian migrants in Britain and France respectively.[23] This sentiment, according to Malcolm Brown and Robert Miles, significantly interacts with racism, although Islamophobia itself is not racism.[24] The publication “Social Work and Minorities: European Perspectives” describes Islamophobia as the new form of racism in Europe,[25] arguing that “Islamophobia is as much a form of racism as Anti-Semitism, a term more commonly encountered in Europe as a sibling of Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance.”[26]

Another feature of Islamophobic discourse is to amalgamate nationality (i.e. Arab), religion (Islam), and politics (terrorism, fundamentalism) — while most other religions are not associated with terrorism, or even “ethnic or national distinctiveness.”[27] Brown and Miles write that “many of the stereotypes and misinformation that contribute to the articulation of Islamophobia are rooted in a particular perception of Islam”, such as the notion that Islam promotes terrorism; especially prevalent after the September 11, 2001 attacks.[28]

Media
According to Elizabeth Poole in the Encyclopedia of Race and Ethnic studies, the media has been criticized for perpetrating Islamophobia. She cites a case study examining a sample of articles in the British press from between 1994 and 2004, which concluded that Muslim viewpoints were underrepresented and that issues involving Muslims usually depicted them in a negative light. Such portrayals, according to Poole, include the depiction of Islam and Muslims as a threat to Western security and values.[29] Benn and Jawad write that hostility towards Islam and Muslims are “closely linked to media portrayals of Islam as barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist.”[22] Egorova and Tudor cite European researchers in suggesting that expressions used in the media such as “Islamic terrorism”, “Islamic bombs” and “violent Islam” have resulted in a negative perception of Islam.[30]

There have been several initiatives, based upon the sixty recommendations listed in the Runnymede Trust’s report, aimed at increase Muslim participation in media and politics. Soon after the release of the Runnymede report, the Muslim Council of Britain was formed to serve as an umbrella body aiming to “represent Muslims in the public sphere, to lobby government and other institutions.” The “Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism” (FAIR) was also established, designed to monitor coverage in the media and establish dialogue with media organizations. Following the attacks of September 11, the Islam Awareness Week and the “Best of British Islam Festival” were introduced to improve community relations and raise awareness about Islam.[31]

Trends
Islamophobia has become a topic of increasing sociological and political importance.[27] According to Benn and Jawad, Islamophobia has increased since British Muslims’ denouncement of Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” and the September 11 attacks.[32] Anthropologist Steven Vertovec writes that the purported growth in Islamophobia may be associated with increased Muslim presence in society and successes.[7] He suggests a circular model, where increased hostility towards Islam and Muslims results in governmental countermeasures such as institutional guidelines and changes to legislation, which itself may fuel further Islamophobia due to increased accommodation for Muslims in public life. Vertovec concludes: “As the public sphere shifts to provide a more prominent place for Muslims, Islamophobic tendencies may amplify.”[7]

Patel, Humphries, and Naik claim that “Islamophobia has always been present in Western countries and cultures. In the last two decades, it has become accentuated, explicit and extreme.”[33] However, Vertovec states that some have observed that Islamophobia has not necessarily escalated in the past decades, but that there has been increased public scrutiny of it.[7] According to Abduljalil Sajid, one of the members of the Runnymede Trust’s Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, “Islamophobias” have existed in varying strains throughout history, with each version possessing its own distinct features as well as similarities or adaptations from others.[34] An observatory report on Islamophobia by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference similarly states that Islamophobia has existed for as long as Islam itself.[35]

Despite being a sizeable minority, many Muslims in India tend to complain about substantial discrimination by Hindus.[36] According to a recently published report to government, called the Sachar Report, Muslims are heavily under-represented in different government and social areas.[37][38][39] Among other facts, it found that in the province of West Bengal, where Muslims make up 27% of the population, their employment in the government sector was below 3%.[40]

EUMC reports
The largest project monitoring Islamophobia was undertaken following 9/11 by the EU watchdog, European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). Their May 2002 report “Summary report on Islamophobia in the EU after 11 September 2001”, written Chris Allen (UK) and Jorgen S. Nielsen of the University of Birmingham, was based on 75 reports — 15 from each EU member nation.[41][42] The report highlighted the regularity with which ordinary Muslims became targets for abusive and sometimes violent retaliatory attacks after 9/11. Despite localized differences within each member nation, the recurrence of attacks on recognizable and visible traits of Islam and Muslims was the report’s most significant finding. Incidents consisted of verbal abuse, blaming all Muslims for terrorism, forcibly removing women’s hijabs, spitting on Muslims, calling children “Usama,” and random assaults. Muslims have been hospitalized and on one occasion paralyzed.[42] The report also discussed the portrayal of Muslims in the media. Inherent negativity, stereotypical images, fantastical representations, and exaggerated caricatures were all identified. The report concluded that “a greater receptivity towards anti-Muslim and other xenophobic ideas and sentiments has, and may well continue, to become more tolerated.”[42]

The EUMC has since released a number of publications related to Islamophobia, including “The Fight against Antisemitism and Islamophobia: Bringing Communities together (European Round Tables Meetings)” (2003) and “Muslims in the European Union: Discrimination and Islamophobia” (2006).[43]

views
The concept of Islamophobia has been criticized on several grounds.[45][46][47]Some critics argue that it is real, but is just another form of racism and does not require its own category,[48] while others argue that it is used to censor criticism and that its use threatens free speech.[46][49]Novelist Salman Rushdie and others signed a manifesto entitled Together facing the new totalitarianism in March 2006 which denounced Islamophobia as “a wretched concept.”[44] Some opponents argue that Islamophobia is justified.[9] Others, such as Edward Said, consider Islamophobia as it is evinced in Orientalism to be a ‘secret sharer’ in a more general antisemitic Western tradition[50][51][52] However, Daniel Pipes says that “‘Islamophobia’ deceptively conflates two distinct phenomena: fear of Islam and fear of radical Islam.”[53]

The concept of Islamophobia as formulated by Runnymede is criticized by professor Fred Halliday on several levels. He writes that the target of hostility in the modern era is not Islam and its tenets as much as it is Muslims and their actions, suggesting that a more accurate term would be “Anti-Muslimism.”[54] Poole responds by noting that many Islamophobic discourses attack what they perceive to be Islam’s tenets, while Miles and Brown write that Islamophobia is usually based upon negative stereotypes about Islam which are then translated into attacks on Muslims.[55][56] Halliday also states that strains and types of prejudice against Islam and Muslims vary across different nations and cultures, which is not recognized in the Runnymede analysis. Miles and Brown respond by arguing that “the existence of different ‘Islamophobias’ does not invalidate the concept of Islamophobia any more than the existence of different racisms invalidates the concept of racism.”[55] Halliday argues that the concept of Islamophobia unwittingly plays into the hands of extremists.[54]

British writer and academic Kenan Malik believes that the charge of Islamophobia confuses discrimination against Muslims with criticism of Islam, and that it is used to silence critics and Muslim reformers. He writes that the extent to which Muslims are more vulnerable to social exclusion and attacks than other groups is frequently and allows for a culture of victimhood, where all failings are attributed to Islamophobia. Islamophobia is not a form of racism, in his view, because Islam is a belief system.[10] This analysis is criticized by Inayat Bunglawala from the Muslim Council of Britain and Abdul Wahid from the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.[57] Bunglawala writes that Malik’s argument is limited to overt acts of violence against Muslims, without recognizing less overt forms of prejudice or discrimination. By ignoring non-violent examples of Islamophobia, Malik’s commentary “makes a mockery of victims of prejudice by pretending they have not been discriminated against,” according to Bunglawala.[57]

In the wake of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy, a group of 12 writers signed a statement in the French weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in March 2006, warning against the use of the term Islamophobia to prevent criticism of “Islamic totalitarianism.” The novelist Salman Rushdie was among these signatories.[44] These views are shared by Dutch law professor Afshin Ellian[58]. Critics cite the case of British journalist Polly Toynbee, who was nominated in May 2003 for the title of “Most Islamophobic Media Personality of the Year” at the ‘Annual Islamophobia Awards’ overseen by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, for claiming that Islam “… imposes harsh regimes that deny the most basic human rights.”[59]

In an article called “Fighting Islamophobia: A Response to Critics”, Assistant Professor Deepa Kumar writes that the modern-day demonization of Arabs and Muslims by US politicians and others is racist and Islamophobic, and employed in support of an unjust war. About the public impact of this rhetoric, she says that “One of the consequences of the relentless attacks on Islam and Muslims by politicians and the media is that Islamophobic sentiment is on the rise.” She also chides some “people on the left” for using the same “Islamophobic logic as the Bush regime”. She concludes with the statement “At times like this, people of conscience need to organize and speak out against Islamophobia.”[60]

Johann Hari of The Independent has criticized the use of the term by organizations like Islamophobia Watch, arguing that liberal Muslims interested in reform are left unsupported because people fear being accused of Islamophobia.[61] Writing in the New Humanist, philosopher Piers Benn suggests that people who fear the rise of Islamophobia foster an environment “not intellectually or morally healthy”, to the point that what he calls “Islamophobia-phobia” can undermine “critical scrutiny of Islam as somehow impolite, or ignorant of the religion’s true nature.”[62] The New Criterion editor Roger Kimball argues that the word “Islamophobia” is a misnomer. “A phobia describes an irrational fear, and it is axiomatic that fearing the effects of radical Islam is not irrational, but on the contrary very well-founded indeed, so that if you want to speak of a legitimate phobia… …we should speak instead of Islamophobia-phobia, the fear of and revulsion towards Islamophobia.”[63]

Public discourse

Efforts against
There have been efforts against perceived Islamophobia by many organizations in many countries; some of these are detailed below.

In 2006 the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) set up an observatory on Islamophobia which will monitor and document activities perceived as Islamophobic around the world.[64]
A radio talk show host from 630 WMAL on November 26, 2006 allegedly exposed the prevalence of Islamophobia by seeming to advocate a government program to force all Muslims to wear “identifying markers.”[65] The hoax was revealed at the end of the program. See Jerry Klein’s 2006 Islamophobia Radio Experiment for more details.
During the accession talks regarding Turkeys possible entry to the EU, then Prime Minister of Holland, Jan Peter Balkenende, said Islamophobia must not affect the possibility of Turkey’s entry to the European Union.[66]
50,000 people signed a petition urging French President Jacques Chirac to “consider Islamophobia as a new form of racism, punishable by law. The statement reads that the publishing of insulting cartoons of Muhammad by the French press hurt and offended the feelings of French- Muslims.”[67]
In Tower Hamlets, a densely populated area in London with a large Muslim community, a crime reporting scheme called “Islamophobia – Don’t Suffer in Silence” has been set up which police hope will raise awareness of Islamophobia and help them to understand the extent of the alleged problem.[68]
The British National Union of Teachers (NUT) has issued guidance to teachers in the union advising that teachers have to “Challenge Islamophobia”, and that they have a “crucial role” to play in helping to “dispel myths about Muslim communities.”[69]
Following an Islamist demonstration outside the Danish Embassy in London organized by the Al Ghurabaa organization in response to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy, the Muslim Association of Britain organized a peaceful rally in Trafalgar Square. Organizers made available placards and T-shirts bearing the rally’s official slogan, the phrase, “United against Islamophobia, united against incitement.”[70][71]
Following the July 7 bombings, the British government set up a number of initiatives aimed at combating alleged Islamophobia, including the “National Forum against extremism and Islamophobia”.[72] There was also plans by the British government to ban incitement to “religious hatred”, however, this failed to get through the House of Commons.[73][74]
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan issued a call in 1999 to world leaders to combat Islamophobia.[75] Abdel-Elah Khatib, the Jordanian foreign minister said “The international community must consider how to confront this phenomenon of Islamophobia in order to prevent its proliferation”.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) held a seminar on how to combat Islamophobia.[76]

Acts called Islamophobic

A protester at a counter-demonstration against the September 15, 2007 anti-war protest in Washington, D.C.The desecration of 148 French Muslim graves near Arras. A pig’s head was hung from a headstone and profanities insulting Islam and Muslims were daubed on some graves.[77]
Dr Amanda Wise and Ghali Hassan from GlobalResearch.ca have alleged that the 2005 Cronulla riots were the result of a climate of “Islamophobia” in Australia.[78][79]
Dalil Boubakeur, a director of a Paris mosque described the vandalism on a Mosque in Paris, France as Islamophobic.[80]
Giles Tremlett of The Guardian referred to the burning of a Muslim Sanctuary in the Spanish city of Ceuta, as an instance of Islamophobia.[81]
Halima Mautbur, from the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations called an attack on a hijabi Muslim woman “an Islamophobic incident”.[82]
Doudou Diène in a report prepared by the UN Commission on Human Rights released on March 7, 2006 mentioned the publishing of the cartoons at the heart of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy regarding, “The development of Islamophobia or any racism and racial discrimination …”[83] On February 17, 2008 the Islamic Republic News Agency reported, that an Iranian cultural official considers Wikipedias inclusion of the Muhammad cartoon images a desecrating, divisive and Islamophobic move.[84]
On March 8, 2006 the Islamic Human Rights Commission made a press release entitled, “Islamophobia in Prisons stretches far beyond Belmarsh” concerning prisons in Britain.[85]
Destruction and vandalism of Muslim graves in France were seen as Islamophobic by a report of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia.[86]
Zohreh Assemi, an Iranian American Muslim owner of a nail salon in Locust Valley, New York, was robbed, beaten, and called a “terrorist” in September of 2007 in what authorities call a bias crime.[87] Assemi was kicked, sliced with a boxcutter, and had her hand smashed with a hammer. The perpatrators, who forcibly removed $2,000 from the saloon and scrawled anti-Muslim slurs on the mirrors, also told Assemi to “get out of town” and that her kind were not “welcomed” in the area. The attack followed two weeks of phone calls in which Iranian-American Zohreh Assemi was called a “terrorist” and told to “get out of town,” friends and family said.[87]
Vandalism of Muslim Graves in Charlton cemetery in Plumstead, London.[88]
Muslim protesters alleged that the Forest Gate anti terror raid in London was Islamophobic.[89]
In Germany, the state of Baden-Württemberg has proposed regulations that require citizenship applicants from the member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to answer questions about their attitudes on homosexuality, domestic violence and other religious issues.[90]
A BBC survey taken in the summer of 2004 found that employment applicants with Muslim names were far less likely to be called for an interview than applicants whose names did not appear to be Muslim. This study was taken by using fictitious applications to jobs using candidate descriptions that were similar in qualification and education, but under different names. The survey found that while a quarter of ‘nonmuslim applicants’ were invited to an interview, only 9% of the applications with Muslim names were responded to with invitations.[91] Groups, such as the Muslim Council of Britain have cited this as further evidence for the widespread existence of Islamophobia.[92]
In 2005, The Guardian commissioned an ICM poll which indicated an increase in Islamophobic incidents, particularly after the London bombings in July 2005.[93][94] Another survey of Muslims, this by the Open Society Institute, found that of those polled 32% believed they had suffered religious discrimination at airports, and 80% said they had experienced Islamophobia.[95][96]
France, which has a strong secular tradition separating church from State,[97] was accused of Islamophobia when the law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools was passed, which bans the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols in public schools. The policy extends to Muslim headscarves, large Christian crosses, Jewish skullcaps, and other visible signs of religion, although the display of small[98][99] religious symbols (such as the Star of David, crosses, and Hand of Fatimas) is permitted.
In a February 10, 2004 report by Al Jazeera the head of the Party of France’s Muslims, Muhammad Latreche in discussing the French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools was quoted as saying that the legislation would, “institutionalise Islamophobia”.[100]
In January 2006 the Dutch parliament voted in favor of a proposal to ban the burqa in public, leading to accusations of Islamophobia.[101] Filip Dewinter, the leader of Vlaams Belang bloc has said his party is “Islamophobic.” He said: “Yes, we are afraid of Islam. The Islamisation of Europe is a frightening thing.”[102]
An Arab teenage is driven to suicide because of bullying. He failed at the suicide attempt. He plans on living a better life.[103]
After Salman Rushdie was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2007, the Iranian Foreign Ministry qualified the honoring of “a hated apostate” as Islamophobic.[104]
On the 26 August 2007 fans of the English football club Newcastle United allegedly directed Islamophobic chants at Egyptian Middlesbrough F.C. striker Mido. An FA investigation was launched but was soon dropped after it was later revealed that chants directed at him were because of his similarity to the shoe bomber Richard Reid.[citation needed]

Views called Islamophobic
Carl Ernst, a scholar of Islamic studies, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations has alleged that Robert Spencer is “Islamophobic”.[105][106] Spencer responded to this labeling, and invited Ernst to debate.[107]
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has stated that the views of Ann Coulter are Islamophobic.[108]
Oliver Duff of The Independent said in 2006 that the British National Party attempted to use increasing Islamophobia to make gains in local elections.[109]
Liz McGregor and John Hooper of The Guardian, has alleged that the views and writings of Oriana Fallaci, an Italian journalist and author of “The Force of Reason”, was “Islamaphobic” [sic]. [110]
The Islamic Human Rights Commission gave U.S Attorney General John Ashcroft a nomination for their 2003 “Islamophobe of the year” award for publicly saying, “Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you”[111][112]
The Islamic Human Rights Commission made Daniel Pipes a nominee for their 2004 and 2005 “Islamophobe of the year” awards.[113]
A December 2005 interview by Vlaams Belang frontman Filip Dewinter with the American-Jewish newsweekly The Jewish Week included a question if “Jews should vote for a party that espouses xenophobia”. Dewinter responded by saying: “Xenophobia is not the word I would use. If it absolutely must be a ‘phobia,’ let it be ‘Islamophobia.’”[114]
The UK Minister Peter Hain’s statement that Britain’s Muslim community is “isolationist” was met with accusations of Islamophobia, as well as Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s public claim that Western civilization is superior to Islam.[115]
Some suggestions in the United Kingdom debate over veils (which concerned the circumstances in which Muslim women should be required to remove the Niqab) were considered Islamophobic by MP John McDonnell.[116]
CAIR and the Associated Press called United States Rep. Virgil H. Goode, Jr. (R-VA) islamophobic for his Dec. 2006 letter stating that Rep-elect Keith Ellison’s desire to use the Qur’an during the swearing in ceremonies was a threat to “the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America” and for saying “I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies.”[117][118]
Concerning the US state of North Carolina’s position (as expressed by their attorney general’s office) in the ongoing case of ACLU of N.C. & Syidah Matteen v. State of North Carolina that the only swearing-in for testimony in court that was valid had to be on a Christian Bible (and that all others must choose to affirm), CAIR’s Legal Director in Washington D.C, Arsalan Iftikhar, said “This shows there’s a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment, especially here in the United States.”[119]
Statements that incite Islamophobia from Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson and Benny Hinn, according to John Esposito. read relevant quotes.[120]
ABC News has reported that “[p]ublic views of Islam are one casualty of the post-Sept. 11, 2001 conflict: Nearly six in 10 Americans think the religion is prone to violent extremism, nearly half regard it unfavorably, and a remarkable one in four admits to prejudicial feelings against Muslims and Arabs alike.”[121] They also report that 27 percent of Americans admit feelings of prejudice against Muslims.[121] According to Gallup polls, 40 percent of Americans admit to prejudice against Muslims, and 39 percent believe Muslims should carry special identification. [122]

Incidents on aircraft
Some incidents with Muslim passengers on aircraft have given rise to the expression “Flying while Muslim”.[123]

On 16 August 2006 British passengers on-board a flight from Malaga to Manchester requested the removal of two men of Asian descent from a plane. According to a spokesman for the Civil Guard in Malaga, “These men had aroused suspicion because of their appearance and the fact that they were speaking in a foreign language thought to be an Arabic language, and the pilot was refusing to take off until they were escorted off the plane.” A security sweep of the plane found no explosives or any item of a terrorist nature. Monarch Airlines booked the men, who were Urdu speakers, into a hotel room, gave them a free meal and sent them home on a later plane. The men later responded, “Just because we’re Muslim, does not mean we are suicide bombers.” The Islamic Human Rights Commission blamed “ever-increasing Islamophobia” related to the “war on terror” for the incident.[124][125][126]
A passenger traveling to the British Virgin Islands on a plane bound for the United States from Manchester in the UK was forced off the plane prior to takeoff. The man, a British-born Muslim residing in the United States, said he was singled out because he was a Muslim pilot and was left feeling “demoralized and humiliated. I must have met the profile on the day. I have an Arabic name, I am a Muslim, I’m from Britain and I know how to fly.”[127][128]
On 21 November 2006, six imams were forcefully removed from a US Airways flight at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport for alleged security reasons. The event led to an outcry from Muslim organizations in America saying that what happened showed the growing prejudice against Muslims in America.[129] Investigations by the airline and police so far have reported that the airline and ground crews responded to security concerns properly in removing the men from the plane.[130] See Flying Imams controversy for more details regarding this incident.

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