Islamophobia is the fear, hatred of, or prejudice against the Islamic religion or Muslims generally,[1][2][3] especially when seen as a geopolitical force or the source of terrorism.[4][5][6]

The term was first used in the early 20th century, emerging as a neologism in the 1970s. Its use increased during the 1980s and 1990s and reached public policy prominence with the report by the Runnymede Trust's Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia (CBMI) entitled Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All (1997). The introduction of the term was justified by the report's assessment that "anti-Muslim prejudice has grown so considerably and so rapidly in recent years that a new item in the vocabulary is needed".[7] The meaning of the term continues to be debated, and some view it as problematic.

The causes and characteristics of Islamophobia are also subjects of debate. Some commentators have posited an increase in Islamophobia resulting from the September 11 attacks, the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and other terror attacks in Europe and the United States by Islamic extremists. Some have associated it with the increased presence of Muslims in the United States and in the European Union, while others view it as a response to the emergence of a global Muslim identity.


There are a number of other possible terms which are also used in order to refer to negative feelings and attitudes towards Islam and Muslims, such as anti-Muslimism, intolerance against Muslims, anti-Muslim prejudice, anti-Muslim bigotry, hatred of Muslims, anti-Islamism, Muslimophobia, demonisation of Islam, or demonisation of Muslims. In German, Islamophobie (fear) and Islamfeindlichkeit (hostility) are used. The Scandinavian term Muslimhat literally means "hatred of Muslims".[8]

When discrimination towards Muslims has placed an emphasis on their religious affiliation and adherence, it has been termed Muslimphobia, the alternative form of Muslimophobia,[9] Islamophobism,[10] antimuslimness and antimuslimism.[11][12][13] Individuals who discriminate against Muslims in general have been termed Islamophobes, Islamophobists,[14] anti-Muslimists,[15] antimuslimists,[16] islamophobiacs,[17] anti-Muhammadan,[18] Muslimphobes or its alternative spelling of Muslimophobes,[19] while individuals motivated by a specific anti-Muslim agenda or bigotry have been described as being anti-mosque,[20] anti-Shiites.[21] (or Shiaphobes[22]), anti-Sufism[23] (or Sufi-phobia)[24] and anti-Sunni (or Sunniphobes).[25]