Islamophobia and its Historical Roots Content, Context, and Consequences
The present study aims at exploring and analysing the contemporary Islamophobia and its historical perspective tracing down through to the eleventh century Crusades. It illustrates that Islamophobia or “fear of Islam” is not a new phenomenon; the prejudice and negative construction of Islam as an existential threat developed in the eleventh century in context of the Crusades.Islam/Muslims were diabolised in the popular consciousness, a propaganda pursued and deployed with great zeal by the ruling elite and clergy at particular moments. In this background, the paper discusses among other things the Western Europeans’ anti-Islam discourse formation, its influence on the contemporary Western policies and attitudes towards the Muslim world. However, unfortunately this legacy of bitterness is overlooked by most Europeans. Many Muslims see “Islamophobia”, “war on terror”, “colonialism”, “imperialism” and other Western policies and hegemony over the Muslim world as neo-Crusades. This paper argues that today Islamophobia serves the US and its allies politically, economically in the same way as the Crusades served the medieval Christian Europe against the Muslim world. Diabolising Muslims and Islam is central to the discourse. The paper advocates the intellectuals and academics to critically investigate and demystify the Western misconceptions and negative image of Islam/Muslims because Islamophobia is not only a threat to Muslims but also to the rule of law and democratic values the world over.