The Bridge defined Islamophobia as prejudice towards or discrimination against Muslims due to their religion, or perceived religious, national, or ethnic identity associated with Islam. Like anti-Semitism, racism, and homophobia, Islamophobia describes mentalities and actions that demean an entire class of people. Jews, African-Americans, and other populations throughout history have faced prejudice and discrimination. It is simply another reincarnation of this unfortunate trend of bigotry. Though many in the general public are still unfamiliar with the term “Islamophobia,” it has gained wider currency in recent years. Its origins date back to the turn of the 20th century, when Fernando Bravo Lopez is widely credited within academia as unearthing the initial use of the term in print. In 1910, two French works discussed what the authors called “Islamophobie” in the context of Western colonisation of Africa. Rational criticism of Islam or Muslims, however, based on factual evidence is not intrinsically Islamophobia, just as criticism of the tenets or followers of other religions or ethnic groups does not necessarily indicate bigotry or prejudice. Scholars Steve Garner and Saher Selod found that, from 1980-2014, “Islamophobia” appeared in the titles of 1,212 books, magazines and newspaper articles. This article from the April 2017 issue of Monitor On Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association, clues us in on the impact of anti-Muslim sentiment, and how psychologists are exploring ways to prevent it.
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