Muslims which manifests itself in general negative attitudes, violence, harassment,discrimination, and stereotyping (particularly vilification in the media). Islamophobia is alsoconsidered as stereotypes and disrespectful comments resulting in widespread hatred and prejudice against Islam and Muslims. The dictionary definition of the word “phobia” is a“strong fear or dislike: an irrational or very powerful fear and dislike of something.”Islamophobia therefore can be construed as a powerful or an irrational fear or dislike of theIslamic faith and its believers by non Muslims, resulting in stereotyping, prejudice,discrimination and insults which are often accompanied by acts of hatred and discriminationagainst followers of the Islamic faith. The phenomenon in its essence is a religion basedresentment although few cases can be linked with racist and xenophobic attitudes. To quotenoted academic Dr. Tariq Ramadan, “The "fear of ideas" that has taken root in the UnitedStates since September 11, 2001, with the refusal to grant visas to a number of academics andintellectuals, most of whom are Muslims, strikes at the very heart of American democracy.The muffling of critical opinion should be of immediate concern to all freethinkingindividuals. To accept such a state of affairs is to accept that the United States, in the name of the "global war on terror" and national security, requires all citizens to think the same way."(February 16, 2007,
The Chronicle of Higher Education.
).The Muslim world considers misconception and incorrect interpretation of Islam andthe values its stands for as cause of Islamophobia. The distorted and incorrect depiction of Islam has rendered Muslims to become the latest victims of racial discrimination andxenophobia. They are facing religious profiling and humiliation in the West and other nonMuslim countries. Muslims citizens in different parts of the world including Europe and in theUSA are facing restrictions in travel. The Muslims citizens and nationals of Europeexperience discrimination in finding jobs, access to social security facilities and in performingtheir religious rites and upholding their cultural and religious identity.The concern of Islamophobia is no longer confined to the Muslims. The dangers of Islamophobia are increasingly being accepted by Western scholars and political leaders. TheUN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination,Xenophobia and related Intolerance, Mr. Doudou Diène, in his report to the Sixth session of the UN Human Rights Council on the manifestations of defamation of religions and in particular on the serious implications of Islamophobia on the enjoyment of all rights hasdocumented the dangers of the issue in clear terms.. The Special Rapporteur in his reportstated that “Islamophobia is a growing phenomenon and a matter of concern in the aftermathof the events of 11 September, 2001. He has defined Islamophobia as
Refer[ring] to a baseless hostility and fear vis-à-vis Islam, and as a result a fear of andaversion towards all Muslims or the majority of them. It also refers to the practicalconsequences of this hostility in terms of discrimination, prejudices and unequaltreatment of which Muslims (individuals and communities) are victims and their exclusion from major political and social spheres. The term was invented in response to anew reality: the increasing discrimination against Muslims which has manifested itself inrecent years
.”The conclusions of the Special Rapporteur may be summarized as follows:1)Islamophobia is a growing phenomenon and matter of concern;2)In expression of Islamophobia, Muslims are seen as opposed to Western values and portrayed as a threat to national values and social cohesion;3)It creates an overarching climate of widespread and systematic suspicion againstMuslims and conduces to all sorts of discrimination and intolerance including verbalaggressions, stereotyping, physical violence, racial profiling etc.2