Finally, after four years of demanding one, the Counterjihad coalition at the OSCE (BPE, ICLA, and Mission Europa) has obtained an official definition of “Islamophobia”, courtesy of the Turkish representative at last week’s meeting in Vienna:
Islamophobia is a contemporary form of racism and xenophobia motivated by unfounded fear, mistrust, and hatred of Muslims and Islam. Islamophobia is also manifested through intolerance, discrimination, unequal treatment, prejudice, stereotyping, hostility, and adverse public discourse. Differentiating from classical racism and xenophobia [sic], Islamophobia is mainly based on stigmatization of a religion and its followers, and as such, Islamophobia is an affront to the human rights and dignity of Muslims.
Several questions come to mind when contemplating this definition:
- Would residents of Woolwich who witnessed the beheading of Lee Rigby in the name of Allah on May 22, 2013 be guilty of Islamophobia if they afterwards feared Muslims and loathed Islam?
- Would their fear be “unfounded”?
- Consider the Muslims who in the name of Allah carried out the first WTC bombing in 1993, the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, the 9/11/2001 terror attacks, the 2002 Bali bombings, the 2004 Madrid bombing, the 7/7/2005 Tube and bus bombings, the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, the 2009 Fort Hood terror attack, and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Then consider the families of the victims of these attacks and the people who witnessed them. Are they “Islamophobic” because they hate and fear the terrorists and the organizations that perpetrated these atrocities?
- Do their feelings represent a “stigmatization” of Islam?
The Counterjihad Collective needs to elaborate on these ideas and come up with additional ones that will flesh out an effective response to accusations of “Islamophobia”.
Update: A reader in New York State sends these useful observations:
From the ordinary meaning of a phobia, Islamophobia would be an unjustified fear of Islam. But that is not OIC’s definition. Let’s list what is inadequate about the above OIC definition of Islamophobia.
- The use of “a” in the first sentence means that it is not a proper definition at all: Islamophobia is just one subset of all contemporary forms of racism and xenophobia of the listed motivations.
- Islamophobia is defined in terms of two other concepts, racism and xenophobia. There is nothing wrong in principle with using concepts B and C to define concept A, but it would be a bit kinder to the person trying to understand what you mean by “Islamophobia” to spell it out directly, without making him look up two other terms.
- The use of “and” in the definition means that Islamophobia must include both racism and xenophobia. If you are a racist but not a xenophobe, or a xenophobe but not a racist, then you cannot be an Islamophobe. Similarly, “and” means that in order to be an Islamophobe, both your racism and your xenophobia must have all six of these motivations: unfounded fear of Muslims, unfounded fear of Islam, unfounded mistrust of Muslims, unfounded mistrust of Islam, unfounded hatred of Muslims, unfounded hatred of Islam. If any one of these six motivations is lacking, you are not an Islamophobe, according to the OIC.
- It is not clear what the second and third sentences are doing there. Are they part of the definition, or not?
For links to previous articles about the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, see the OSCE Archives.