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Manufacturing 'Islamophobia' at UC Berkeley
by Cinnamon Stillwell
Scholars of the Middle East would do well to follow the lead of the Associated Press (AP), which last year struck the political term "Islamophobia" from the new edition of its widely used Stylebook, explaining that "'-phobia,' an irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness should not be used in political or social contexts, including 'homophobia' and 'Islamophobia.'" Given that the word was invented in the early 1990s by a Muslim Brotherhood front organization, the Northern Virginia-based International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), in order to silence critics of Islamism by branding them as irrational racists and hate-mongers—according to former IIIT member Abdur-Rahman Muhammad who was present at the time—AP made a wise decision.
In contrast, the field of Middle East studies—in partnership with organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamist outfit linked by the United States government to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood posing as a defender of civil rights—has become one of the key proponents of the myth that "Islamophobia" is sweeping the nation. Professors of Middle East studies regularly use the phrase in both public lectures and the classroom, while producing books, op-eds, reports, and programs devoted to the promulgation of this deliberately misleading term.
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