Islamophobia and Its Impact

This digital presentation and its accompanying notes provides an introduction to the topic of Islamophobia. Beginning with the evolving definition of the term, this presentation examines the historical roots which gave rise to Islamophobia and contemporary factors which enable it, as well its various manifestations in society, its impact on Muslims and all Americans, and strategies to counter it through education and engagement.

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Islamophobia and Its Impact

This presentation and the accompanying script were first developed by ING staff in November 2016 and are updated regularly. The slideshow above is an abbreviated version of the information below and can serve as an introduction to Islamophobia, its sources and effects, and tools and strategies to combat it. Note: This presentation is the intellectual property of Islamic Networks Group (ING) and is available for non-commercial public use only. This presentation and its content may not be displayed in exchange for payment in cash or in kind.

The numbers in the brackets refer to the number of the slide in the slideshow corresponding to that portion of the script.

[1] Copyrights Slide

[2] Islamophobia and Its Impact

[3] Introduction

[4] Presentation Outline

What is Islamophobia?

[5] Defining Islamophobia

[6] What is Islamophobia?

  • The term Islamophobia is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force”[1] and is today widely used to denote anti-Muslim attitudes and actions.
  • The term appears to have been first used in 1923 but came into wide currency through a report titled Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All, which was published in November 1997 by a commission sponsored by the Runnymede Trust in Great Britain.[2] The report defined Islamophobia as “an outlook or world-view involving an unfounded dread and dislike of Muslims, which results in practices of exclusion and discrimination.”[3]

[7] Redefining Islamophobia

  • In 2017 Runnymede issued a new and much shorter definition: “Islamophobia is anti-Muslim racism.”
  • They also released a longer definition, building on the United Nations definition of racism generally: “Islamophobia is any distinction, exclusion or restriction towards, or preference against, Muslims (or those perceived to be Muslims) that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”[4]
  • ING views Islamophobia as an industry that generates fear of Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry.

[8] Islamophobic Frames

The Runnymede reports also listed the following “frames” or ideas associated with Islam and Muslims:

  1. Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change.
  2. It is seen as separate and “other.” It does not have values in common with other cultures, is not affected by them, and does not influence them.
  3. It is seen as inferior to the West and as barbaric, irrational, primitive, and sexist.
  4. It is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism, and engaged in a clash of civilizations.
  5. It is seen as a political ideology, used for political or military advantage.
  6. Criticisms made of “the West” by Muslims are rejected out of hand.
  7. Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.
  8. Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural and normal.

What factors have enabled Islamophobia?

[9] Factors That Have Enabled Islamophobia

There are various factors which have contributed to and enabled Islamophobia. We will look at a few of them.

[10] Historic Factors: Orientalism and Racialization

[11] Orientalism

[12] Orientalism: Definition and History

  • The term “Orientalism” is defined as “style, artifacts, or traits considered characteristic of the peoples and cultures of Asia” and “the representation of Asia in a stereotyped way that is regarded as embodying a colonialist attitude.”[5]
  • The term was used in the 18th and 19th centuries to refer to the study by Western scholars of the peoples and societies of the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia characterized by fascination with what those scholars deemed an exotic culture and lifestyle.
  • Europeans consciously or unconsciously divided the world into two parts: the Orient or the East, which was uncivilized, and the Occident or West, which was civilized.[6] Europeans defined themselves as the superior race (“the white man’s burden”/ “manifest destiny”) and saw it as their duty to civilize the uncivilized, one of their main justifications for colonialism.
  • As Professor Edward Said of Columbia University documented in his influential 1978 book Orientalism, Anglo-American Orientalist scholars portrayed “Eastern” peoples as exotic “Others,” radically different from and inferior to the civilizations of the West, depicting them as essentially primitive, irrational, violent, despotic, and fanatic.[7]
  • Such representations justified the European colonial enterprise and made these peoples and cultures, especially Muslims, appear to be a threat to people in the West and to Western civilization. (Note the image on the slide of an Orientalist painting which was featured on the original cover of Said’s book.)

 [13] From Orientalism to Islamophobia

  • Europeans romanticized the Orient in their poems and writings and idealized what they viewed as the simple nature of the native inhabitants of these lands which made them inferior to Europeans. They viewed them as “irrational, depraved (fallen), childlike, ‘different’; thus the European is rational, virtuous, mature, ‘normal.’”[8]
  • Europeans interpreted whatever they observed during their visits as representing the norm for all people in the East. This allowed them to create their own narrative about people in the region, many of whom were Muslim. Some of their stereotypes include the view of Muslims as primitive and irrational, sexually promiscuous and sexist, and violent.
  • After World War I, Orientalist attitudes migrated to the United States, where Orientalist scholarship laid a foundation for government policies towards countries in the region. After World War II and the loss of most European colonies, many of these prejudices against the East and against Muslims in particular continued or resurfaced in the West as Islamophobia.
  • As with Orientalism in the past, people in the West today assume that the actions of extremists and terrorists represent all Muslims. This enables a Western narrative about Muslims and stereotypes that is similar to Orientalist views: it includes the view that Muslim lands are inferior to the West and that Muslims are sexist/misogynistic and inherently violent.[9]

[14] Orientalism => Islamophobia

  • This slide visually illustrates the similarity of Orientalist representations to Islamophobic ones.
  • On the top left is a painting of Moorish (Spanish) Muslims fighting with Christians during a Reconquista (reconquest of Spain from the Moors) battle; the representation of Muslims as a violent enemy has been recreated with the popular Islamophobic frame of Muslims as terrorists, as shown on the right.
  • The 1910 painting on the bottom left titled “European Woman in Algeria” by French artist Louis Remy Sabattier juxtaposes a fashionable European woman with covered up, shapeless Algerian women. That stereotype of Muslim women as faceless, submissive, covered up, and oppressed is one of the most common Islamophobic tropes today, as conveyed in the shot on the right from the popular television show

 [15] Racialization

 [16] Process of Racialization


  • Race is defined as “a group of persons related by common descent or heredity.”[10]
  • Racialization refers to the process by which people with certain physical or ancestral similarities are assigned to racial categories.
  • Certain attributes are then assigned to that racial group, and racialization is then used to create a hierarchy which privileges “whiteness” and Christianity and justifies the oppression of a group by representing it as less human. Racialization is used by those in power to reinforce existing racial hierarchies through policies.[11]

[17] Examples of Assigning Diverse Groups into Racialized Categories

  • Racialization assigns diverse groups of people into racial categories by which those groups didn’t previously view or identify themselves.
  • For example, various distinct African tribes with diverse languages and customs were lumped together by Europeans as part of the same group because they looked similar as “Blacks” or “Africans.”
  • Native Americans, who are very diverse in cultures and languages and belonged to many different tribes, were all grouped together as one category – American “Indians.”
  • The British lumped together a rich diversity of religious and cultural traditions into a category called “Hinduism” and labelled its followers “Hindus.”
  • Muslims today, despite their origins in over 50 majority-Muslim countries with diverse cultures, languages, ethnicities and races, have recently come to be seen as making up one monolithic group.
  • This category includes anyone who “looks Muslim,” which includes people of color, men who wear beards and turbans, and women who wear hijab, even if they are white converts.
  • It can also include non-Muslims with roots in a Muslim-majority country or region, such as Sikhs, Christian Arabs, or Hindus, all of whom are commonly confused with Muslims and vice versa.
  • In fact, the first person to be killed in a post-9/11 hate crime was a Sikh man named Balbir Singh Sodhi, and since that time a number of Sikhs have been victims of hate crimes and murder. For example in February, 2019, a Sikh 7-Eleven employee was punched and had hot coffee thrown on him by a man who later admitted to the police that he hated Muslims.[12]
  • This reality is reflected in the new definition of Islamophobia put forward in 2018 by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”[13]

 [18] Contemporary Factors Enabling Islamophobia

  • There are a number of other factors enabling Islamophobia.
  • They include the internalization of biases, xenophobia, ignorance of Islam and Muslims, and the influence of what is referred to as the “Islamophobia Network.”

[19] Internalization

[20] What Is Internalization?

  • According to the dictionary, to “internalize” means “to incorporate (values, patterns of culture, etc.) within the self as guiding principles through learning or socialization.”[14]
  • As it applies to people, the term “internalization” refers to the adoption of stereotypes (both good and bad) about an entire group of people.
  • The subject (targeted) group also consciously or subconsciously internalizes these beliefs about themselves.
  • Beliefs about these groups come from both mainstream sources, such as the media or internet, and individual sources, such as one’s friends or parents.

[21] Implicit Bias

  • Internalizing beliefs about groups of people on the basis of race, religion, culture, or other factors produces attitudes toward those groups that are usually unconscious; this is called “implicit bias,” as opposed to “explicit bias,” which is conscious. Virtually everyone has implicit bias toward others; once learned, biases are often resistant to change, even when people are presented with evidence that challenges their assumptions.
  • Generally, we unconsciously think positively of people like ourselves, and negatively of people who are different.[15]
  • Bias is perpetuated by conformity with the dominant culture, which explains why minorities often fail to favor their own ethnic group in America.[16] A 2012 report from the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Preventing Discrimination and Promoting Diversity found that biases – including implicit biases – are pervasive among all people and institutions.[17]
  • Some examples of biased views about other groups include viewing Muslims as un-American or fearing them as potential terrorists, fearing Blacks as dangerous, or suspecting that Latinx are undocumented.
  • A growing number of studies show a link between implicit bias and people’s behavior.[18] These cases clearly show that our implicit biases often predict our behavior more accurately than our conscious values. This may help explain why, despite decades of equal-rights legislation, prejudice, discrimination, and racial profiling are still pervasive problems in our country.

[22] Xenophobia

One of the outcomes of racialization and internalization is both individual biases and governmental policies which “otherize” certain groups and lead to a fear of immigrants, as we see in the history of xenophobia in America.

[23] Xenophobia

  • Xenophobia is defined as the fear of “foreigners” or “Others.” New immigrants often face xenophobia, which is often based on or justified by racist attitudes.
  • Xenophobia is a manifestation of racialization in that it views new immigrants as being part of a racial group that is distinct from the majority and not worthy of belonging to mainstream society or deserving of equal rights.
  • Xenophobia operates within the concept of a so-called “dominant culture,” which is defined as a set of norms and practices that are dominant within a particular political, social, or economic entity in which multiple cultures are present. The dominant culture becomes the standard against which people and groups are judged; groups or individuals who fall outside that standard, such as recent immigrants, are seen as not belonging to the dominant culture.[19] This contributes to xenophobic attitudes, such as fearing or censuring those who speak a different language or follow religious practices or wear clothing that are outside the dominant culture.

[24] History of Xenophobia in America

  • From the start of European colonization of what become the United States, settlers viewed and treated Native Americans and Africans as subhuman “Others,” in order to seize the land of the former and enslave the latter.
  • While the United States is, except for Native Americans and African Americans, a “nation of immigrants,” it has a long history of successive waves of xenophobia targeting various groups.
    • The Irish were one of the earliest groups to meet with anti-immigrant sentiments in the 1840s, due to both their origin and their Catholic faith, which was feared and disliked by the majority Protestant population.
    • Anti-Chinese hostility on the West Coast based on racism and economic competition for jobs led to the passing of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which effectively banned immigration from China and prevented Chinese-Americans already living in the United States from becoming naturalized citizens.
    • From the late 19th to early 20th centuries, bigotry and fear of rising immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe, especially of Italians and Jews, led to quotas which greatly reduced immigration.
    • Anti-Mexican hostility has a long history in the United States; discrimination against Mexicans increased after the United States won the Mexican-American War in 1848.[20] The Mexican Repatriation deported between 400,000 and 2,000,000 Mexicans and Mexican-Americans from the United States between 1929 and 1936.
    • During World War II, Japanese-Americans were incarcerated in concentration camps on the West Coast as a “security” precaution.
    • Today Latinx groups are once again facing bigotry and discriminatory policies, as are Muslims, South Asians, and Arabs.

 [25] Ignorance of Islam and Muslims

 [26] Ignorance of Islam and Muslims

  • Another factor which enables Islamophobia is ignorance of Islam and Muslims; since Muslims only make up 1 to 2% of the population in the United States, most Americans do not know a Muslim personally.
  • According to a Pew report, only 38% of the people interviewed knew a Muslim. In comparison, 87% said they knew someone who is Catholic and 61% said they knew someone who is Jewish.[21]
  • According to a study conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, fewer than one in ten (8%) Americans report daily contact with someone who is Muslim. Roughly three in ten (29%) say they at least occasionally interact with someone who is Muslim, while a majority (62%) say they seldom (26%) or never (36%) have conversations with Muslims. The study also found that “only 16% of the public report knowing a lot about the religious beliefs and practices of Muslims, while more than eight in ten say they know a little (57%) or nothing at all (26%).[22]
  • These numbers haven’t changed much in 30 years despite 9/11, two wars in Muslim-majority countries, and local and national outreach campaigns by mosques and organizations.

[27] Minimal Education Historically

  • Moreover, since education about Islam and Muslims became part of school curriculum only in recent decades, public schools generally provided little or no education about Islam, and what education they did provide was often inaccurate, incomplete, and even biased. That means that most adults today did not have the opportunity to study Islam the way they might have studied Christianity or Judaism, and this lack of knowledge can easily result in fear or bias.
  • Additionally, despite textbook publishers’ greater attention in recent years to accuracy in portraying Islam and other non-Western religions, many teachers continue to use biased or unbalanced materials when teaching about Islam, 9/11, or terrorism.
  • Curriculum about Muslim history may adopt a Eurocentric lens which overlooks the many contributions of Muslims or makes them secondary to European contributions, or casts Muslims as the enemy. Curriculum about contemporary Muslim societies often reaffirms mainstream views that Muslims are antiquated, misogynistic, and incompatible with modernity.

[28] The Islamophobia Network

[29] The Islamophobia Industry

  • Both the Center for American Progress (CAP) and the Council on American Islamic Relations – DC (CAIR-DC) have published extensive reports on what they term “the Islamophobia Network,” a cluster of organizations that promote and disseminate Islamophobic views.[23]
  • CAP’s 2015 and 2016 reports name 33 organizations whose primary purpose is to propagate Islamophobia (the “inner core”) and 41 whose primary focus is not attacking Islam but which nonetheless contribute to and support Islamophobic ideology (the “outer core”).
  • Among the “outer core” organizations are such prominent media outlets as Fox News, National Review, Washington Times, the Rush Limbaugh show, and Savage Nation.
  • The “inner core” organizations receive tens of millions of dollars annually from donors and especially from a number of right-wing foundations; their cumulative total revenue as of 2013 was over 205 million dollars.[24]
  • These are not “fringe” operations; they are well funded and in some cases include in their leadership people with substantial academic backgrounds, such as Daniel Pipes, formerly of Harvard University and the University of Chicago. They are frequently cited by Islamophobic politicians, and their views are taken seriously in mainstream media.
  • For instance, Steven Emerson, who in 1993 produced a television documentary entitled Terrorists Among Us: Jihad in America, which alleged that many American Muslim organizations had ties to extremists, received two prestigious awards for this work, the George Polk Award for best television documentary and the top prize from the Investigative Reporters and Editors Organization for best investigative report. The New York Post once described him as “the nation’s foremost journalistic expert on terrorism.”
  • Conservative news outlets, especially Fox News, regularly feature material from members of this network.[25]

[30] The Islamophobia Network

  • A 2016 Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) report profiles some of these individuals and organizations.[26]
  • Some of the most prominent ones include
    • Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), founded by David Yerushalmi, who is behind the anti-Sharia campaigns;
    • ACT! For America, founded by Brigitte Gabriel; and
    • Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), founded by Pamela Gellar, who initiated protests against the “Ground Zero” mosque in 2010 and sponsored a series of anti-Muslim bus ads in New York and San Francisco.[27]
  • According to recent reports by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Trump administration has appointed and continues to appoint staff with connections to anti-Muslim groups. Both ACT! for America and the Center for Security Policy (CSP) have made efforts to establish closer relationships with elected officials at both the state and local level.[28]

[31] Growth of Anti-Muslim Hate Groups

  • Figures from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) show an exponential growth in anti-Muslim groups in recent years. While in 2010 there were only 5 such groups, in 2011 this number had spiked to 30, probably as a result of the nationwide campaign around the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” (in reality an Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan, see below on slide 39).
  • For several years thereafter, the number remained more or less level, and then spiked again in 2016 from 34 to 101. There can be little doubt that the political rhetoric of the 2016 election campaign played a major role in spurring this growth. The number increased to 114 in 2017 but dropped to 100 in 2018.
  • According to the SPLC report, the 2017 rise came about because ACT! for America – which the SPLC describes as the largest anti-Muslim organization in the country (whose local chapters comprise nearly half of the groups listed in the report) – held a national “March Against Sharia” in 2017, which expanded ACT chapters that year. Because ACT didn’t hold a similar event in 2018, the report states, some groups remained inactive or closed in 2018. [29]
  • According to the SPLC, 2018 also saw the highest number of hate groups (1020) ever recorded in the United States;[30] hate groups that focus on other populations are also often anti-Muslim as well.

How is Islamophobia disseminated?  

[32] Disseminating Islamophobia

Islamophobia, like other forms of bigotry, is spread through various channels. To a large extent, it spreads informally, from person to person and from generation to generation, as do other prejudices. However, there are a few major vehicles for disseminating fear and hatred of Muslims and Islam. They include the news media, films and television shows, books, websites, and campaigns, and sometimes governmental policies.

[33] The News Media

  • Since most Americans do not know a Muslim personally, the news media is often their main source of information about Muslims. This can be problematic, since media coverage of Muslims is generally negative.[31]
    • Media Tenor, a research organization that analyzes mass media, reported that between 2007 and 2013, 80% of news coverage of Muslims on ABC and CBS and 60% of coverage on Fox News was negative, usually focusing on terrorism and violence.[32]
    • Another report found that 92% of articles about Muslims published in 2018 referenced a foreign location, compared with 78% of articles about Jews and less than 70% of articles about Asian Americans, Latinos, or African Americans.[33]
    • It is rare to see stories about the everyday lives of ordinary Muslims at work or in school, let alone positive stories about the many contributions of Muslim Americans.
    • According to another report, in the period 2006 to 2015, terrorist attacks by Muslims received 3.5 times more coverage than terrorist attacks by others.[34]
    • Similarly the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding also found that “when Muslims are the suspect in a foiled terrorist plot, that case receives eight times more press coverage than when a non-Muslim is the suspect.”[35]
  • Additionally, there is a tendency by both the media and law enforcement to label acts of violence by Muslims as terrorism while similar violent acts by others are not referred to as terrorism.
  • For example, the following acts of violence were not referred to as terrorism, although they meet the FBI’s definition of domestic terrorism: “Perpetrated by individuals and/or groups inspired by or associated with primarily U.S.-based movements that espouse extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.” [36]
  • Pittsburgh synagogue shooting on October 27, 2018 during Shabbat morning services by Robert Gregory Bowers, a white nationalist, in which eleven people were killed and seven were injured.
  • Mass shooting at Charleston church, June 17, 2015 by Dylan Roof, who killed 9 people and is called a “gunman.” Although he confessed that he committed the shooting in hopes of igniting a race war, he was charged with a hate crime, not with terrorism.
  • Planned Parenthood attack, November 27, 2015 by Robert Lewis Dear, who killed half a dozen people including police officers and confessed that he is “a warrior for babies,” but is described as a “gunman,” charged with murder, and later declared incompetent to stand trial because he kept interrupting legal proceedings, asking to defend himself.
  • Wisconsin Sikh Temple massacre, Aug. 5, 2012, by Michael Page, a white supremacist who killed 6 Sikh members and then took his own life; he is referred to as a “gunman.”
  • Suicide attack on IRS building in Austin, Texas, Feb. 18, 2010 by Robert Stack, who deliberately flew his small plane into the side of a building that housed a regional IRS office in Austin, Texas, just as 200 agency employees were starting their workday. Along with himself, Stack killed an IRS manager and injured 13 others. Stack was an anti-tax, anti-government fanatic, and chose his target for exclusively political reasons.
  • Imbalanced reporting produces and reinforces negative images of Islam and Muslims. And such views are heard on both ends of the political spectrum, from liberal commentator Bill Maher as well as from Fox News.
  • Furthermore, the news media rarely if ever report on the consistent and frequent denunciations of terrorism by Muslims, thus leaving many Americans with the false impression that Muslims do not condemn it.
  • In fact, according to a Pew survey, more than half of all Americans see media coverage of Muslims as unfair.[37]

[34] Islamophobic News Media

  • Even worse than the mainstream media are outlets where pundits and talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage have long made bashing Muslims a staple of their shows and commentary, stoking fear and hatred of Muslims.
  • Media outlets that regularly disseminate Islamophobia include the Rush Limbaugh Show, Savage Nation, Washington Times, and National Review. People in this network are often quoted as reliable sources by more mainstream outlets. They often use fear-mongering tactics to stir up anti-Muslim hate and bigotry.
  • After the 2016 election, alt-right media outlets such as Breitbart gained more prominence. Under former Presidential advisor Steve Bannon, Breitbart gave a platform to Pamela Geller, Frank Gaffney, and other well-known Islamophobes. Since 2017, however Breitbart has lost considerable credibility and advertising support.

[35] Hollywood

  • Negative portrayals of Muslims and Arabs (the two are often conflated, although most Muslims are not Arab) are also common in Hollywood, where they have long been portrayed as villains who are violent, backwards, and oppressive toward women, or, in recent decades, as evil terrorists.
  • Media expert Jack Sheehan in his book Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People(Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press, 2014) examines a thousand films or television shows with Arab characters and finds that from the beginning of the motion picture industry through the present, films and television shows have overwhelmingly portrayed Arabs (assumed to be Muslims) in stereotypical and denigrating ways.
  • He finds that “‘Arab’ has remained Hollywood’s shameless shorthand for ‘bad guy,’ long after the movie industry has shifted its portrayal of other minority groups” and documents the portrayal of “Muslim Arabs as Public Enemy #1–brutal, heartless, uncivilized Others bent on terrorizing civilized Westerners.”[38]
  • As another author of a report analyzing the portrayal of Muslims on the screen writes, “’The Muslim community’s representations on big and small screens has been driven primarily by Orientalism, anti-Blackness, anti-Muslim racism, patriarchy, and imperialism.’ One of the anchor stereotypes is the ‘Arab and Iranian as Untermensch,’ or someone considered racially or socially inferior. Through a 100-year journey, this trope is reproduced in counter-terrorism thrillers that feature rabid hijackers and half-wit bombers, bumbling sheikhs, and many more.”[39]

[36] Hollywood Today

  • Kamran Pasha, one of a handful of Muslim screen writers and directors describes how many people in Hollywood hold liberal views except when it comes to Islam and Muslims. He recalls the words of a respected TV executive who told him directly, “Don’t make the villain of the episode Chinese. Make him Arab. Everybody hates them.”[40]
  • That reality might explain why, despite a heightened awareness about these prevalent negative representations, anti-Muslim/Arab sentiment seems to be a fixture in Hollywood, as illustrated by a wave of recent films from major studios that reinforce stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims:
  • Beirut, about an American diplomat seeking to rescue a colleague captured by the fictional Militia of Islamic Liberation; the trailer to this film has already met with considerable protest;
  • 7 Days in Entebbe, about the Israeli rescue of hostages from Palestinian terrorists; and
  • The 15:17 to Paris, about Americans rescuing passengers from attack by Muslim terrorists.
  • A live remake of Aladdin, which, while it features actors of Middle Eastern background, has been criticized as being as orientalist and stereotypical as the cartoon version.[41]
  • These recent films as well as television shows like Homeland, which has been called the “most bigoted show on television,”[42] show that Hollywood is still prone to recycling the defamatory and stereotyped images of Muslims that have been its stock in trade for decades.

[37] Biased literature and Websites


  • Particularly after 9/11, an entire genre of books, both fiction and non-fiction, have promoted stereotypical images of, denigrated, and warned about the dangers of Islam and Muslims.
  • These include books by former Muslims such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who has received numerous awards and recognition for her work. Her books include The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam(2006), Infidel (2007), Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations (2010), and Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now (2015). Her books promote the Islamophobic frames that Islam and Muslims are backwards, violent, sexist, and uniquely “Other,” and are engaged in a clash of civilizations.
  • Other noted authors who have published books warning about or denouncing Islam and Muslims include Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, and Bill Warner; Spencer and Geller are well-known Islamophobes, and Warner, who has a Ph.D. in mathematics and physics, has published a whole series of books about what he describes as “political Islam,” which he alleges is seeking world domination.


  • Individuals and groups in the Islamophobia network have also created numerous websites to provide misinformation about Islam, track “Islamists,” or demonize Islam and Muslims; prominent among these are Islamist Watch,administered by Daniel Pipes, Jihad Watch by Robert Spencer, and Act! for America by Brigitte Gabriel—all long-time Islamophobes.

[38] Internet/Social Media and Video Games

Internet/Social Media:

  • In addition to anti-Muslim websites, Islamophobic groups have increasingly used the internet, social media, and online videos to spread their anti-Muslim fears and conspiracy theories.
  • A recent example is the planned attack on a Muslim community called Islamberg in upstate New York early in 2019. While the community was previously targeted by media outlets such as Fox News, in recent years, far-right online and social media platforms spread conspiracy theories about the community.[43]
  • Social media and the internet not only proliferate misinformation and conspiracy theories,[44] but are also a popular recruiting ground for the growing far right global movement.[45]
    • Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the man charged with killing Muslims in two New Zealand mosques frequented “8chan, a dark corner of the web where those disaffected by mainstream social media sites often post extremist, racist and violent views.” He not only posted his manifesto online, but also livestreamed the attack.[46]

Video Games:

  • Arabs and Muslims are featured as villains in video games, such as the popular Prince of Persia series, which features plots such as the kidnapping of women that reinforce stereotypical ideas of the Middle East as an exotic place of cruelty and barbarism.[47]
  • The Middle East is a popular battlefield in many video games such as War in the Gulf (1993), Delta Force (1998), Conflict: Desert Storm (2002), Full Spectrum Warrior (2004), and Kuma/War with the Arab/Muslim as the bad guy/enemy.
  • Since 9/11 and the War on Terror and the second Iraq war, many games represent the US army fighting in Iraq or fighting Muslim terrorists.
  • The Arab/Muslim enemy is represented physically through characteristics such as darker skin or traditional clothing and is dehumanized in various ways.[48]
  • One of the most popular video games, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, take place in the Middle East and has players killing Muslims. Some Muslims players are uncomfortable playing these games and because of this are creating their own games.[49]
  • Even children’s games feature characters like Bombo, now renamed as Bob, who is a genie who wears a turban, rides a magic carpet, and throws bombs.

[39] Anti-Mosque & Anti-Sharia Campaigns

Anti-Mosque Campaigns:

  • One of the major focuses of Islamophobic individuals and groups has been public campaigns, sometimes successful, to block the construction or expansion of mosques. The most notorious of these, in 2010, centered on a proposed Islamic cultural centerto be built in lower Manhattan, just a few blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks. The project attracted no opposition until long-time Islamophobe Pamela Geller, with no evidence for her claims, dubbed the project a “victory mosque” meant to celebrate the 9/11 attacks. This touched off a news frenzy and national debate that lasted for months, with polls at one point showing 61% of Americans opposing the project.[50]
  • Since then, many less prominent campaigns have erupted over proposed mosque construction, as in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where opponents caused the permitting process to drag on for over four years of litigation until construction of the new mosque finally began—but not before the site was attacked by an arsonist. Many other communities have seen similar controversies erupt, though in the end the proposed mosque is almost always built and operates without difficulty.

Anti-Sharia Campaigns:

  • Muslims and their faith have also been targets of various efforts—some successful—to pass anti-Muslim laws at the state level.
  • Most of these laws follow a template furnished by an organization called American Laws for American Courts (ALAC), led by David Yerushalmi, a well-known Islamophobe, who authored the model anti-Sharia bill, which would make adherence to Sharia a felony punishable by 20 years in prison. His legal work is premised on his work as co-author of influential policy reports framing Sharia, Islamic religious law, as a “totalitarian threat infiltrating America” and his belief that that “Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization… the Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it is today, are our enemies.[51]
  • While the legislation prohibits courts from using “foreign law,” the original template for these laws specified “Sharia law.” The wording was revised when an Oklahoma law using the latter term was ruled unconstitutional, but, as proponents have made clear, the target of such laws remains “Sharia.” As of August, 2017, 201 such bills were introduced in 43 states, of which 14 were enacted.[52]
  • The claim that Muslims (a tiny minority of 1 to 2% of the population) want to supplant existing American law (which provides them with religious freedom) with “Sharia” is totally without foundation, and these laws not only demonstrate profound ignorance of what Sharia is but also do nothing but vilify Muslims.[53]

[40] Anti-Muslim Politics and Policies

  • Similarly, some politicians stoke anti-Muslim fear as a way to win votes; in fact anti-Muslim rhetoric often spikes during elections.
  • While many point to the 2008 election when then candidate Barack Obama was accused of being a secret Muslim by his opponents to discourage people from voting for him, or the 2016 election when then candidate Donald Trump repeatedly stoked Islamophobia with statements such as “Islam hates us,” some view the 2018 election as the most Islamophobic election because “anti-Muslim rhetoric has been in use for years, but until recently, it remained mostly on the fringes of the mainstream.”[54]
  • A Muslim Advocates report documents how during the 2018 mid-term election 80 office-seekers in federal, state, and local races across the country expressed anti-Muslim sentiments as a means of getting elected.[55]
  • Another report surveyed half of the 166 Muslim Americans who ran in the 2018 primaries and found that about a third said the level of Islamophobia they encountered was “high” or “very high.” More than 40 percent of female candidates reported receiving verbal threats and almost as many said they received text threats, while about 20 percent reported being physically threatened. Those who wore a hijab, like Ilhan Omar, received a disproportionate amount of hate focused on their hijab.[56]
  • Another glaring example was California Congressman Duncan Hunter who “aired ominous ads warning that his Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, is ‘working to infiltrate Congress’ with the support of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Such fearmongering campaigns often ignore basic facts, including the fact that the half-Latino, half-Arab candidate is a devout Christian.[57]
  • Muslim-bashing for votes is a strategy embraced even by other minorities such as candidates Ben Carson who said he would not vote for a Muslim president[58] and Bobby Jindal, who warned of so-called Muslim “no-go zones” in the West.[59]
  • Whether Muslim candidates win or lose, this rhetoric is toxic and dangerous.
  • Anti-Muslim policies also contribute to the fear and otherizing of Muslims. Post- 9/11 laws singled out Muslims as a threat to national security.
  • More recently anti-Muslim policies include Trump’s executive orders banning travelers and immigrants from several majority-Muslim countries and suspending the admission of refugees from Syria, commonly known as the Travel Ban.
  • These policies not only impact those directly targeted by the policies but also promote Islamophobia generally. It is not surprising that manifestations of anti-Muslim bigotry, including both the attitudes registered in polls and overt actions such as hate crimes, have shown a sharp uptick since the start of the 2016 election campaign.[60]

What is the impact of Islamophobia?

[41] Impact of Islamophobia

Islamophobia in all its forms and with all its influences on the various sectors of society we have discussed and beyond has a real-life impact on the lives of Muslim Americans. Despite Constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and legal prohibitions of religious discrimination, Muslim Americans continue to experience a variety of concrete manifestations of bigotry based on their faith.

[42] Growing Anti-Muslim Sentiment

  • Recent polls show that anti-Muslim sentiment is increasing and is higher today than immediately after 9/11.
  • According to a 2019 YouGov poll, only 15% of Americans have a favorable view of Islam, while 37% have an unfavorable view and the rest are not sure or didn’t answer (46%).[61]
  • According to a 2017 Pew poll which asked Americans to rate members of nine religious groups on a “feeling thermometer” from 0 to 100, with 0 reflecting the most negative rating and 100 the most positive rating. while perceptions of religious groups improved overall:
    • Muslims rated most negatively of all religious groups in the survey with an average rating of 48.
    • This compared to: Atheists – 50; Mormons – 54; Hindus – 58; Buddhists – 60; Evangelical Christians – 61; Catholics – 66; Jews – 67.[62]
  • A 2017 Pew summary of reports found that:
    • 41% of Americans believe that Islam encourages violence more than other faiths.
    • 50% of Americans believe that Islam is not part of mainstream American society.[63]
    • According to a 2016 Public Religion Research Institute survey, 57% of Americans believe that Islamic values are at odds with American values and way of life.[64]

[43] Impact on Quality of Muslim Life

  • Recent polls also show the impact of rising anti-Muslim sentiment on the levels of bias and discrimination experienced by Muslim Americans.
  • According to a 2017 Pew survey of Muslim Americans, 50% believe that being Muslim in America has gotten more difficult in recent years, while 75% believe there is a lot of discrimination against Muslims in the United States.
  • Nearly half of all Muslim Americans (48%) and 64% of those whose appearance is identifiably Muslim say they experienced discrimination over the past year.
    • These include the following: 32% say they were treated with suspicion because of their religion;
    • 19 % say they were called offensive names; and 18% say they observed anti-Muslim graffiti in their community.
    • On the positive side, half (49%) say someone expressed support for them in the past year because they are Muslim.[65]
  • A more recent Pew poll of all Americans found that 82% say that that Muslims face some discrimination, while 56% say they encounter a lot of discrimination – the highest percentage among the nine groups asked about in the survey, which included Blacks and Jews.[66]

[44] Rise in Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes and Incidents

  • Unfortunately, there are more serious consequences of Islamophobia. Physical assaults, including hate crimes, vandalism, and even some murders, were a concern immediately after 9/11 and have continued to occur, particularly during times when Muslims are in the news because of a terror plot, a campaign, or an overseas event.
  • One of the worst Islamophobic attacks occurred in New Zealand in March, 2019 when a white supremacist killed fifty people and wounded another fifty in two mosques during Friday services.
  • A recent report found that there were already more than 500 anti-Muslim incidents by May of 2019, including arson and other vandalism against mosques.[67]
  • This mirrors a steady rise in anti-Muslim incidents in recent years in the United States. A 2018 second quarter report by CAIR showed a spike in anti-Muslim bias and hate incidents compared to the first quarter of 2018 (up by 83% and 21% respectively), with reports of 431 anti-Muslim bias incidents. This was comparable to the number of incidents (451) in the same period in 2017. Incidents involving government agencies rose by 60% in this time period and were responsible for 26% of bias incidents reported.[68]
  • A previous CAIR report documents a consistent rise in hate incidents and crimes: anti-Muslim bias incidents increased 17% in 2017 from 2016, after increasing 57% in 2016 from 2015; anti-Muslim hate crimes increased 15% in 2017 from 2016, after increasing 44% in 2016 from 2015.[69]
  • There were also an unprecedented number (144) of anti-mosque incidents in 2017, with the highest number (38) in California, followed by New York (14). One of these was an arson attack which destroyed a Victoria, Texas mosque on January, 28th, 2017 shortly after the signing of the first Travel Ban.
  • This uptick in anti-Muslim hate incidents and crimes follows a trend in the last few years: a Pew report finds that assaults against Muslims in 2016 surpassed the 2001 level after the 9/11 attacks with 127 reports of bias-based aggravated or simple assault against individuals, compared with 91 the year before and 93 in 2001.[70]

[45] Employment and Workplace Discrimination

  • Muslims also face discrimination when seeking jobs and at work.
  • Researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University found that a (fictitious) caller with a Muslim-sounding name was 13% less likely to receive a callback from an employer seeking job candidates than was a caller with a Christian-sounding name.[71]
  • A University of Connecticut study reached similar conclusions but with even more discouraging figures: Muslim job applicants received 32% fewer emails and 42% fewer calls responding to job inquiries.[72]
  • Discrimination or harassment of Muslims on the job continues to be a problem, with the percentage of Muslims filing religious discrimination claims significantly higher than their percentage in the workplace; while Muslims make up 1-2% of the workforce, they filed more than 20% of religious claims.[73]
  • Many more complaints go unreported for fear of retaliation.

[46] Bullying of Muslim Students

  • Another outcome of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry is religious based bullying of Muslim students.[74]
  • Young people, who are still forming their identities and are very susceptible to peer pressure, are particularly vulnerable to these expressions of bigotry.
  • A 2019 report by CAIR-California found that, while bullying decreased since the previous survey, the rate of bullying for Muslim students in California is still double the national average with 40% of students reporting being bullied because they are Muslim. [75]
    • Common terms used to bully Muslims students include “Taliban, Osama Bin Laden, bomber, killer, Allahu Akbar (God is great).”[76]
    • Much of the bullying associates Muslims with terrorism using comments such as, “Hey, gonna bomb the school now,” or “you can find so and so by following the ticking of a bomb.”[77]
    • The mother of a special needs high school student in Redlands, California “said her son has been called a terrorist, had ‘Allahu akbar’ — Arabic for ‘God is great’ — shouted at him in a ridiculing way and had his photo taken without his permission, Photoshopped with racist images and distributed to classmates.”[78]
    • Girls wearing hijab are often targeted and have their scarves offensively touched.
  • The CAIR report also found that in California, one of the most liberal states in America:
    • 39% report seeing other students being bullied for being Muslim, up from 19% in 2016.
    • The number of students feeling safe, welcome, and respected at their schools declined 13 percentage points since 2014.
    • Almost 14% of students report that they have missed school because they felt unsafe, unwelcome, or uncomfortable at school.
  • Almost 35% of students report seeing posts containing offensive comments about Islam or Muslims on social media, down from 57% in 2016.
  • Students also reported teacher bias.
    • Almost 12% of students felt that their teacher did not teach about Islam in a neutral, fair, or factual manner.
      • This reflects a common complaint nationwide: Muslim students often find their faith and ancestral culture misrepresented and denigrated in classroom instruction or feel targeted or marginalized during classroom discussions about Islam and Muslims where they are called upon to be “experts” or viewed as the “other” in discussions about terrorism. For example, a Muslim student in New York reported being asked “Why are all Muslims terrorists?” after learning about Boko Haram massacres. She felt helpless to defend herself because she felt that “About 90 percent of the kids in my class feel that way.”[79]
    • 29% of students reported that school staff made derogatory statements about Muslims or Islam, and almost 15% of students reported that school staff made offensive comments about Islam or Muslims to them directly.
  • This problem has been reported from students across the country in recent years, such as a teacher in Florida who called a 14-year-old Muslim high school student a “rag-head Taliban” in March, 2015,[80]or a teacher in Texas who told a Muslim student that “we all think you are a terrorist.”[81]
  • Bias or derision by a teacher can enable or lead to bullying by students, as in the case of a teacher who told a Muslim student, “‘I can’t wait until Trump is elected. He’s going to deport all you Muslims. Muslims shouldn’t be given visas. They’ll probably take away your visa and deport you. You’re going to be the next terrorist, I bet.’ On the bus ride home, A.A.’s classmates mimicked his teacher’s anti-Muslim comments, taunting him about the fact that his visa would be revoked because he is a Muslim, calling him a ‘terrorist,’ and accusing him of planning to blow up the bus.”[82]This and other incidents by the same teacher are the basis for an October 28, 2016 letter of complaint and request for investigation from the ACLU to the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.[83]
  • Another manifestation of public hostility to Islam and Muslims in school is the fact that in several states, parent groups have protested textbooks that teach about Islam or Islamic history, claiming them to be “indoctrination”; these efforts are usually unsuccessful in getting the books removed from the curriculum, but Tennessee approved an instructional plan that sharply reduces the time spent studying Islam below that devoted to other religions.[84]

[47] Impact on Muslim Students

  • Muslim students are often afraid to tell parents or other adults when they are bullied for fear of recrimination from peers and instead often suffer in silence.
  • Studies have shown that students who are bullied tend to experience long-term consequences; they are at increased risk of depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and poor school adjustment.[85]
  • Bullying commonly spikes after a terrorist attack, causing increased anxiety for Muslim students with students even fearing coming to school in the aftermath of an attack.[86]
  • The following are comments from Muslim students reflecting their experiences with bullying from the 2019 and previous reports:
    • “[My] teacher stereotyp[ed] Muslims and call[ed] on me to be ‘expert’ to explain horrific acts carried out by people in rural places of some Muslim countries I had never been to.”
    • “A lot of my classmates in 4th grade thought that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed in the country and one person said to me that Muslims are terrorists.”
    • “People… made fun of my religion and name. I would go home and tell my mom and cry in my room.”[87]
    • “When I want to play with anyone they run away or they bully me or they say I can’t play.”
    • “I told the school and the kid got in trouble and now I am known as a tattletale! Now the kid still bullies me.”
    • “I heard another student call a Muslim student a terrorist and felt scared to portray my faith.”
    • “It makes me feel unwelcome because people stare and whisper and sometimes it hurts.”[88]

[48] Impact on American Policies

  • Even before 9/11, Muslims were viewed as “the enemy”, a view which increased dramatically after 9/11.” This impacts policies and perceptions and the treatment of Muslim Americans.
  • Domestic and foreign policy
    • The US Patriot Act passed after 9/11 gave law enforcement expanded power to engage in wiretapping and other surveillance. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan targeted Muslim-populated nations and peoples, resulting in the destruction and killing of thousands of innocent civilians.
    • The “War on Terror,” which refers to the international campaign against Muslim terrorist groups after 9/11, casts all Muslims as a security threat, resulting in such policies as the racial profiling and surveillance of Muslims.
    • Anti-Sharia legislation which has been proposed or passed in 43 states across the country claims to bar foreign laws in conflict with constitutional or state rights. Since the constitution already provides for this, critics see these campaigns as a guise for fomenting anti-Muslim sentiment.
    • The Travel Ban in 2017 prevents immigration or travel to America mainly from Muslim-majority nations.
    • American foreign policy and media coverage of these stories often show disregard towards human rights violations against millions of Muslims in places such as China, Myanmar, Syria, Yemen, Kashmir, and Palestine.
  • Government surveillance and profiling
    • Wiretapping by the FBI or racial profiling by the TSA following 9/11 singles out Muslim Americans.
    • The NYPD’s secret surveillance of Muslims which failed to provide a single lead about terrorists was based purely on racial profiling.

How can we counter Islamophobia?

[49] Countering Islamophobia

Now that we have learned a little about the roots and manifestations of Islamophobia, the next step is to look at how we can counter it.

[50] Start with Yourself

  • Reflect on how you or your ancestors fit in or were excluded from mainstream society.
  • Think about biases you have encountered in your own life and how they are different from or similar to those encountered by Muslims.
  • Take the initiative to learn more about Islam and Muslims, but remember to check your sources to make sure they are reliable and accurate.
  • For example, the most common stereotype about Muslims relates to their association with terrorism.
  • Let us examine this and other prevalent stereotypes and dig a little deeper to challenge common assumptions.

[51] Challenge Your Assumptions

Countering biases we have begins with countering our own assumptions. Let us look at some common ones about Muslims.

[52] Violent Extremism in the United States 

  • The 9/11 attacks indelibly associated Muslims with terrorism. More recently, the rise of groups like ISIS increased both terror attacks and anti-Muslim bigotry to levels higher than after 9/11.
  • The term “terrorist” has come to be used exclusively for Muslim perpetrators of violence, and Islamophobes project an image of all Muslims as extremists and Islam as the source of violence.
  • Yet violence is committed by various extremist groups for religious and other reasons. Some of them include the following:
  • Attacks by far-right white supremacists, who have targeted Sikhs, including an August, 2012 attack on a Wisconsin gurdwara which killed six and wounded four people; Jews, including an October, 2018 attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue which killed eleven and wounded seven people;[89] blacks, including a June, 2015 attack on a black church in Charleston, South Carolina which killed nine and wounded three people; and Muslims including a March, 2019 attack on two New Zealand mosques which killed fifty and injured fifty people.
  • Other attacks by far-right white supremacists, such as KKK and neo-Nazis, include a 2017 attack in Charlottesville which killed one woman and injured nineteen others and 2019 attacks against Latinx in Gilroy, California, which killed three and injured twelve people[90] and in El Paso, Texas which killed 22 people and injured 24 others.[91]
  • Attacks by far-right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik in Norway in 2011 which killed 77 people and injured 319 others.
  • Attacks by extremist anti-abortionists who have killed doctors and others at abortion clinics.
  • Violence against Palestinians by extremist Jewish settlers.
  • Violence against Muslims by extremist Hindu nationalists such as in Gujurat in 2002.
  • Violence by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Central Africa.
  • Persecution of and violence against Rohingya Muslims by extremist Buddhists in Burma, which has forced close to a million to become refugees in neighboring countries.
  • Genocide against Muslims in Bosnia by Christian Serbs, which took the lives of 200,000 people in the early 1990’s.
  • Yet while violent extremists among Buddhists and Hindus have at times drawn media attention, there has been no general vilification of these two religions and their followers as is the case with Islam and Muslims.
  • Nor does violence by other extremist groups garner the same level of media coverage or backlash as terrorism by Muslims.

[53] Violent Extremism in the US and the World

  • Additionally, while Islamophobes portray Muslims as the biggest terrorist threat in America, reports show otherwise.
  • According to an ADL report about murder and extremism in the United States in 2018, 50 people were killed by extremists in 2018, up from 37 in 2017. The report found that “98% of extremist killings in the US were by far-right extremists and only 2% were by domestic Islamist extremists.” The report also found that “in the period 2009-2018, right-wing extremists perpetrated 73.3% of domestic extremist-related killings in the US, Islamist extremists 23.4%, and left-wing extremists 3.2%”[92]
  • An April, 2017, report by the Government Accountability Office states that “of the 85 violent extremist incidents that resulted in death since September 12, 2001, far-right-wing violent extremist groups [many of which identify strongly as Christian] were responsible for 62 (73%) while radical Islamist violent extremists were responsible for 23 (27%).”[93]
  • According to the U.S. Extremist Crime Database, if one excludes the two “outlier” events of 9/11 (2,983 victims) and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing (168 victims), between 1990 and 2017 far-right extremists caused twice as many fatalities (272) as Muslim extremists (136).[94]
  • In fact, a 2015 survey of 382 law enforcement agencies nationwide found that 74% considered far-right anti-government extremism to pose the greatest threat of extremist violence.[95]
  • Yet following far-right terrorist incidents we do not hear calls to blame Christianity or Christians generally, or call for similar measures and policies such as those against Muslim terrorists, including the war on terror which has cost around $6 trillion since 9/11.[96]

[54] Moderation in Religion

  • According to Islamic teachings, moderation is encouraged in all aspects of life while extremism is discouraged.
  • Terrorism is forbidden under any circumstance or for any reason. The Qur’an specifically condemns taking an innocent life, and murder is considered one of the most serious crimes. Suicide is also forbidden.
  • Even in a state of war, there are strict rules that prohibit attacking non-combatants, particularly women, children, and the clergy.

[55] Gender Equity

  • Another common assumption or stereotype is that Muslim women are oppressed.
  • While this may be true for some Muslim women, it is important to understand that, like women everywhere, Muslim women live diverse lives depending on many factors.
  • There is also great diversity in the treatment of Muslim women, similar to the situation for women generally throughout the world.
    • Many factors impact the treatment or experience of women, including education, profession, socio-economic status, and the political situation in their country among others.
    • Religion is only one factor and may have less influence than factors such as education and socio-economic status.
    • Some Muslim women enjoy rights while others don’t, depending on a number of factors, only one of which is religious interpretation.
  • Additionally, a growing number of Muslim women are well educated professionals – physicians, engineers, lawyers, and academics – and around a dozen Muslim women have even served or serve today as heads of state in highly-populated countries such as Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, and Bangladesh as well as smaller ones.

[56] Diversity of Muslims

  • Another common trope about Muslims is that they are monolithic.
  • In reality there are 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide. They live in over 50 majority-Muslim countries and as minorities in countries across the globe.
  • That means that Muslims are extremely diverse in various ways, including their nationality, race, language, and culture.
  • Religion is only one factor in a Muslim’s life and like all faith adherents, Muslims, vary in the practice of their faith. Some are nominally religious while others are moderately adherent while others are very observant.

[57] Support Recent Progress

It is also important to support the recent progress of Muslim Americans in various sectors.

[58] News and Alternative Media

  • In contrast to a long history of negative coverage of Islam and Muslims, in recent years there has been an intentional effort by some media outlets to provide more balanced coverage and exposure to Muslim Americans in recent years.
  • These include documentaries and videos about Muslim Americans by media outlets such as PBS and CNN; positive articles about notable Muslim women such as Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad, runner Rahaf Khatib who graced the cover of a US fitness magazine, and model Halima Aden, who was featured on the cover of Allure.
  • There has also been a dramatic increase in the number of op-eds or articles written by Muslims in publications such as the Guardian, Huffington Post, or CNN.
  • There are also a growing number of Muslim journalists and writers such as comedian and commentator Wajahat Ali who has written for the Huffington Post as a host and contributor and regularly appears on various news outlets; lawyer and comedian Dean Obeidallah who has contributed to CNN, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Newsweek; Emmy-award winning broadcast journalist Leila Arian; Leila Fadel, who is a national correspondent for NPR; Amna Nawaz who is a correspondent and substitute anchor for PBS Newshour; Mehdi Hassan who works for al-Jazeera and The Intercept; and Sabrina Siddiqui who is a national politics reporter for The Wall Street Journal.
  • The rise in alternative media has also become a platform for Muslim voices, particularly for American Muslim women, with blogs such as Muslim Girl – Muslim Women Talk Backimpacting growing audiences.

[59] Hollywood Today

  • As with the news media, there have been efforts in recent years towards more balanced representations of Arabs and Muslims through the inclusion of Muslim “good guys” or neutral characters in movies, television shows, or online productions.
  • There have also been a growing number of documentaries about Islam and Muslim Americans by outlets such as PBS that provide a balanced and nuanced understanding of the topic.
  • Increasingly, Muslim Americans are producing their own short films and documentaries that are directed by or feature Muslims in central roles such as Bilal: A New Breed of Hero, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, The Big Sick, and Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj.

[60] Politics Today

  • There are also a record number of Muslim Americans who ran for political office in the 2018 mid-term elections; many were inspired to run because of increased Islamophobia.
  • Some 100 Muslim Americans filed as candidates, mainly in local elections and over 50 remained through the primary season.[97] An estimated 55 Muslim Americans were elected to public office in various national, state, and local elections.
    • They include the first South Asian elected to Passaic City Council, New Jersey, Salim Patel; the first Muslim legislator in New Mexico: Abbas Akhil; the first Muslim women elected in Orange County, California; the first South Asian woman elected to Irvine City Council, Farrah Khan; and the first Muslim elected to the Georgia legislature, Sheikh Rahman.[98]
    • They also include the first two Muslim women congresswomen, Ilhan Omar, (also the first congresswoman in hijab) from Minnesota who was previously elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2016, which made her the first Somali American elected to legislative office in the United States; and Rashida Tlaib, from Michigan, who previously served in the Michigan House of Representatives and is the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress.
    • Keith Ellison became the first American Muslim Attorney General in Minnesota after serving as first Muslim congressman since 2006.
  • Islamophobia continues to follow some of these politicians even after they take office.
    • In particular, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, despite being celebrated on the cover of magazines such as Rolling Stone,[99] has been vilified in repeated attacks since taking office, including an Islamophobic poster in the West Virginia Capitol building featuring a photo of her underneath one of the New York’s twin towers burning and the words “‘Never forget’ — You said; I am the proof you have forgotten.”[100]
    • Fox News host Jeanine Pirro asked on her show, “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”[101] Both actions were roundly condemned.
    • Later remarks by her about the 9/11 attacks were also the source of unprecedented censure and hate, which many link to her Muslim identity.[102]
    • The other Muslim congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, remarked that “Islamophobia is ‘very much’ a part of both the Democratic and Republican parties.”[103]

[61] Educate and Engage

One of the best ways to counter Islamophobia is to educate oneself and others and engage with those who hold Islamophobic views.

[62] Use your Knowledge to Counter Islamophobia

  • Use your new knowledge about Islamophobia to recognize and respond to misinformation, distortions, and misrepresentations about Islam and Muslims.
  • Recognize it:Equipped with solid and objective knowledge about Muslims and Islam, we should be able to recognize Islamophobic falsehoods and distortions when we hear or see them; in particular, we should be able to distinguish legitimate and honest criticism of Muslims from Islamophobic misunderstandings and misrepresentations.
  • Respond to it:When we hear Islamophobic statements, we should respond, politely and tactfully, but firmly, bringing to bear the knowledge that we have. As the situation permits, we should try to determine where a person is getting misinformation from, to explain why it’s important to have an objective and unbiased view of Muslims as of any other group, and to point him or her to sound sources of knowledge.
  • Be honest and objective: Defending Muslims and their faith against Islamophobic slanders and misrepresentation does not mean looking at their present or their history with rose-colored glasses. Islam and Muslims, like every other major religious tradition or practitioners have aspects to be critiqued; however, there is a difference between critiquing Islam and Muslims and demonizing or vilifying them.
  • Encourage people to educate themselves:Even those who do not appear to hold Islamophobic views may know little. Knowledge from trusted resources, together with face-to-face interaction with Muslims, is the best antidote to Islamophobia.

[63] Engage with Muslims

  • As previously noted, one of the main reasons for the spread and growth of Islamophobia is the fact that most Americans do not know any Muslims. This is something you can help to remedy and model.
  • It is likely that you have Muslims in at least one of your circle of acquaintances; they may be your neighbors, co-workers, or parents of a child at your child’s school.
    • Greet Muslims (recognizable perhaps by a headscarf) when you see them about in your neighborhood, at the grocery, or other places. You can use the traditional Muslim greeting “Assalaamu alaikum.” They will likely be surprised but pleased.
    • Invite them for coffee or tea and introduce them to some of your other acquaintances. They may appear hesitant at first but will warm up and build trust over time.
    • Initiate programs that bring Muslims and non-Muslims together to get to know and to learn from one another. Some possibilities are:
      • Interfaith book clubs
      • Interfaith picnics
      • Interfaith service projects
      • Holiday socials, in which participants share with one another their celebration of their faith’s holy days

[64] Education and Interfaith Engagement are Key

  • Islamophobia thrives on ignorance about Islam and Muslims—ignorance that purveyors of Islamophobia are all too eager to fill with misinformation.
  • A deeper and more comprehensive knowledge of Islam and Muslims helps recognize and counter Islamophobic distortions and falsehoods.
  • It has long been established in social science that face-to-face contact with members of a group is the most effective way to dispel prejudice against that group, a conclusion that also accords with common sense.[104] Face-to-face interaction prevents the formation of stereotypes at a young age, or dispels them when they are already formed.
  • Interfaith engagement is a powerful tool for sharing commonalities and understanding differences between groups.

What are some educational resources to counter Islamophobia?

[65] ING and Partner Resources for Educators

The following are educational resources available through ING and other organizations which help to counter Islamophobia.

[66] ING’s Educational Programs

  • ING provides diversity education through the following programs:
    • The Speakers Bureau (ISB) provides education about Muslim Americans and their faith.
    • The Interfaith Speakers Bureau (IFSB) provides interfaith panels featuring major world faiths.
    • The newly launched Intercultural Speakers Bureau (ICSB) organizes intercultural panels that counter bigotry.
    • The INGYouth program counters bullying and empowers Muslim youth.
    • The Know Your Neighbor (KYN) promotes harmonious communities.
    • ING affiliates model ING programs nationwide using ING’s model and content in their regional bureaus. .
    • ING’s online educational resources educate about Muslims and other faiths.

[67] ISB Presentations for Schools and Other Venues

  • The Islamic Speakers Bureau (ISB) supplements education about Muslims and their faith in the context of social studies and cultural diversity programs. Live presentations are free of charge on a variety of topics:
    • Getting to Know American Muslims and Their Faith
    • History of Muslims in America
    • Muslim Contributions to Civilization
    • Muslim Women Beyond the Stereotypes
  • To view presentation topics for schools and other venues at:
  • Outside the SF Bay area find an ING affiliate who can deliver these presentations at:

[68] ISB Presentations Help Counter Islamophobia

  • ING and its affiliates across the county provide education about Muslim Americans and their faith to middle and high schools across the country.
  • ING presentations help counter Islamophobia by providing authentic and accurate information about Muslims and their faith.
  • Conveying this information is particularly important early in life before prejudices are learned. Additionally, young people are less likely than adults to have deeply rooted misconceptions.
  • One of the most powerful tools in overcoming bias is through face-to-face interaction with a live practitioner of the faith.
  • ING measures the impact of its live presentations through surveys which are administered before and after presentations.
  • Results from these surveys show that
    • the percentage of students reporting a “high” level of knowledge of Islam rose from 21% before a presentation to 60% after a presentation;
    • the percentage of students who see Islam as promoting peace increased from 59% to 88%;
    • the percentage of students recognizing that Muslims have long been part of America rose from 37% to 65%;
    • the number of respondents seeing Muslims as “Americans like myself” increased from 52% to 75%; and
    • the percentage believing that Muslims “see women as inferior” decreased from 26% to 7%.
  • View these and other findings in ING’s Impact Reports at:

[69] Interfaith Panels and Resources

  • ING provides interfaith panels for high schools and colleges that model civil interaction and good will between diverse faith practitioners.
  • Teachers can choose from a variety of participants, including representatives of the five major world faiths or of the three Abrahamic faiths, or a Muslim-Jewish panel discussing the challenges of living as a minority.
  • These interfaith panels address various topics, including shared values and contemporary issues of interest, such as extremism and pluralism.
  • Interfaith panels highlight commonalities and model civil interaction and good will between diverse faith practitioners.
  • This program is presently available only in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • To view the various interfaith topics visit:
  • ING also offers online multifaith curricula for educators. Topics include:

[70] Intercultural Panels Counter Bigotry

  • The Intercultural Speakers Bureau (ICSB) provides panels for high schools, colleges and other venues.
    • Multi-cultural panels are comprised of Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and others.
    • Panels address the origins of bigotry both historically and today.
    • ICBS panels conclude with calls to action to counter bigotry.
  • Learn more about ICSB panels at:

[71] INGYouth Program Counters Bullying

  • The INGYouth program ( empowers Muslim teens to counter bigotry and bullying through self-empowerment, engagement and by equipping them with religious literacy which enables them to respond effectively.
  • The program convenes workshops across the country to train Muslim youth to supplement education about Islam and Muslims in the classroom:
  • The website section for INGYouth provides answers to over 50 frequently asked questions about Islam and Muslims in an easily understandable format suitable for young people:
  • The website also provides simplified versions of ING’s main presentations: Getting to Know Muslim Americans and Their Faith, A History of Muslims in America, Muslim Contributions to Civilization, Muslim Women Beyond the Stereotypes, and An Overview of Ramadan & Fasting:
  • Additionally, the website provides parents and teachers with anti-bullying resources:

[72] Online Resources about Islam and Muslims  

  • ING’s website provides answers to over 100 frequently asked questions about Islam and Muslims at
  • ING offers open-to-the-public presentations with scripts:
  • ING also offers online curriculum on the following topics to educators free of charge at
  • Getting to Know America Muslims and Their Faith
  • History of Muslims in America
  • Muslim Contributions to Civilization
  • Muslim Women Beyond the Stereotypes
  • Emir Abd El-Kader: A Muslim Hero for Our Time

[73] Know Your Neighbor Program

  • In 2016 ING launched the Know Your Neighbor (KYN) program which promotes understanding and mutual respect among Americans of diverse religious traditions.
  • The program seeks to respond to anti-minority sentiment, bigotry, and hatred by encouraging and facilitating face-to-face engagement, relationship-building, dialogue, and action between people of different religious traditions, beliefs, and cultures.
  • The KYN network is made up of over a hundred regional and national organizations who work to counter bigotry and discrimination across differences through campaigns and events.
  • To learn more about KYN visit:

[74] ING Partners

[75] Pluralism & Religious Freedom

  • The United States was founded on the concept of religious freedom and pluralism; working together, we can reject prejudice and bigotry and create a society and world based on mutual respect and understanding.
  • We hope you will join us in this critical work. Together we can promote a more respectful, inclusive, harmonious America for all its citizens!

[76] This presentation was produced by ING at   


[1] Oxford Dictionary:

[2] Runnymede Trust, Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All,

[3] The Runnymede Trust is a race equality think tank founded in 1968 by Jim Rose and Anthony Lester, with the aim of promoting a multi-ethnic Britain. In 1996, the Runnymede Trust established the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, chaired by Gordon Conway, the vice-chancellor of the University of Sussex:

[4] Farah Elahi and Omar Khan, ed., “Islamophobia, Still a Challenge for Us All,” Runnymede Trust, November 2017, 7. Accessed January 25, 2019.

[5] Oxford Dictionary:

[6] The poem called “The Ballad of East and West” by the English poet Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) sums up this ethos in the first line: “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”

[7] Edward W. Said, Orientalism. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978), 40.

[8] Said, 40.

[9] For a visual history of Orientalism and its remnants today see: “Edward Said – Framed: The Politics of Stereotypes in News,” Al-Jazeera. Accessed May 31, 2019.


[11] Neil Gotanda, “The Racialization of Islam in American Law.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 637 (2011): pp. 184-95. Accessed July 25, 2018.

[12] Lauren Holter, “Man arrested for punching, pouring coffee on Sikh 7-Eleven clerk — because he thought the man was Muslim,” Yahoo, February 18, 2019. Accessed February 26, 2019.

[13] Islamophobia Defined:  Report on the inquiry into a working definition of Islamophobia / anti-Muslim hatred, All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims, p. 11. Accessed February 26, 2019.


[15] Ohio State University, “Understanding Implicit Bias,” Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, last modified 2015. Accessed July 25, 2018.

[16] “Test Yourself for Hidden Bias,” Teaching Tolerance.

[17] J.M. Jones, S.D. Cochran, M. Fine, S. Gaertner, R. Mendoza-Denton, M. Shih, & D.W. Sue, “Dual pathways to a better America: Preventing discrimination and promoting diversity.” Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, Presidential Task Force on Preventing Discrimination and Promoting Diversity. 2012. Accessed February 25, 2019.

[18] For example, a study from the University of Toronto and Ryerson University shows that equally qualified applicants with “Asian” names — ie. names perceived as originating in India, Pakistan, or China such as  Ali Saeed or Hina Chaudry or Chinese names like “Lei Li” and “Xuiying Zhang”— were 28% less likely to get an interview at Canadian companies than applicants with “Anglo” names like Greg Johnson or Emily Brown.


[20] Erin Blakemore, “The Brutal History of Anti-Latino Discrimination in  America,”,

[21] Michael Lipka, “How many people of different faiths do you know?” Pew Research Center, July 17, 2014. Accessed February 28, 2019

[22] Daniel Cox and Robert P. Jones, “Nearly Half of Americans Worried That They or Their Family Will Be a Victim of Terrorism,“ Public Religion Research Institute, December 10, 2015. Accessed February 28, 2019.

[23] The two reports by the Center for American Progress are: Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matthew Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes, and Faiz Shakir, Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America, Center for American Progress, August 2011. Accessed October 16, 2016. and Matthew Duss, Yasmine Taeb, Ken Gude, and Ken Sofer, Fear, Inc. 2.0. The Islamophobia Network’s Efforts to Manufacture Hate in America, Center for American Progress, February 11, 2015. Accessed October 16, 2016.

[24] Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley. Confronting Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the U.S. January 2013-December 2015, June 20, 2016, 25. Accessed February 13, 2018.

[25] Wajahat Ali, “Fear, Inc,” 85.

[26] Council on American-Islamic Relations and UC Berkeley Center for Race and Gender, Confronting Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the US 2013-2015,

[27] See: Liza Veale, “Why are there anti-Muslim ads on our public buses?” KALW, Dec 16, 2014. Accessed March 1, 2019.

[28] “Anti-Muslim,” Southern Poverty Law Center. Accessed February 28, 2019.

[29] “Anti-Muslim,” Southern Poverty Law Center.

[30] Heidi Beirich, “Rage against Change,” Intelligence Report, Southern Poverty Law Center, Spring 2019, 43. Accessed February 27, 2019.

[31] Erik Bleich and A. Maurits van der Veen. “Media portrayals of Muslims: a comparative sentiment analysis of American newspapers, 1996–2015,” 2018. Politics, Groups, and Identities, Accessed February 27, 2019. DOI: 10.1080/21565503.2018.1531770.

[32] “Coverage of American Muslims gets worse: Muslims framed mostly as criminals.” Media Tenor. 12. Accessed October 11, 2016.

[33] Media Portrayals of Minorities Project (2019) Report on Media Portrayals: 2018 Newspaper Coverage of African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, Jews, and Muslims. Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont. 24.

[34] Erin Kearns, Allison Betus, and Anthony Lemieux, “Why Do Some Terrorist Attacks Receive More Media Attention Than Others?” April 17, 2018. Accessed February 27, 2019.

[35] Kumar Rao and Carey Shenkman, “Key Findings: Equal Treatment?: Measuring the Legal and Media Responses to Ideologically Motivated Violence in the United States,” Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, April 5, 2018, 2. Accessed February 28, 2019.

[36] “Terrorism Definitions.”

[37] “Among U.S. public, half say media coverage of Muslims is unfair,” Pew Research Center, July 24, 2017.  Accessed February 28, 2019.

[38] See:

[39] Maytha Alhassen, Ph.D., “Haqq and Hollywood: Illuminating 100 years of Muslim Tropes And How to Transform Them (The Visual Companion),” Pop Culture Collaborative, October 2018.

[40] Kamran Pasha, “Hollywood: Liberal, Except for Islam,” Patheos, February, 17, 2016. Accessed March 2, 2019.

[41] “How the new ‘Aladdin’ stacks up against a century of Hollywood stereotyping,” The Conversation, May 26, 2019.

[42] Laura Durkay, “’Homeland’ is the most bigoted show on television,” Washington Post, October 2, 2014. Accessed October 22, 2019

[43] Rick Rojas, “They Created a Muslim Enclave in Upstate N.Y. Then Came the Online Conspiracies,” New York Times, January 28, 2019. Accessed February 25, 2019.

[44] Meaghan M. McDermott, “Greece man accused of Muslim bombing plot posted alt-right conspiracies,” Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, January 27, 2019. Accessed February 25, 2019.

[45] Robert Evans, “From Memes to Infowars: How 75 Fascist Activists Were ‘Red-Pilled’, Bellingcat, October 11, 2018. Accessed March 15, 2019.

[46] Rachel Lerman, “New Zealand shooter steeped attack in dark internet culture,” San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, March 15, 2019. Accessed March 15, 2019.

[47] Seung Lee, “’Just Shoot the Arab:’ How Muslim Representation in Video Games Perpetrate the Terrorist Stereotypes,” Newsweek, March 18, 2016. Accessed February 25, 2019.

[48] “Digital Arabs: Representation in Video Games,” Digital Islam. Accessed February 25, 2019.

[49] Ahmet Ali Akbar, “I Avoided ‘Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare’ Because I Didn’t Want To Be The Villain,” Buzzfeed, April 29, 2017. Accessed February 25, 2019.

[50] Alex Altman, “TIME Poll: Majority Oppose Mosque, Many Distrust Muslims,” Time, August 19, 2010. Accessed February 26, 2019.,8599,2011799,00.html

[51] Wajahat Ali, “Fear, Inc,” 37-38.

[52] “Anti-Sharia law bills in the United States,” Southern Poverty Law Center, February 05, 2018. Accessed May 31, 2019.

[53] For information about Sharia in the United States, see ING’s FAQ’s about Sharia:

[54] Sarah Aziza, “The 2018 Midterm Cycle Could be the Most Islamophobic U.S. Election Ever,” The Intercept, October 21 2018. Accessed February 25, 2019.

[55] Muslims Advocates, Running on Hate, 2. Accessed February 25, 2019.

[56] Lawrence Pintak, Brian J. Bowe, Jonathan Albright, “Islamophobes Came for Americans on the Campaign Trail,” Foreign Policy, March 13, 2019. Accessed March 15, 2019.

[57] McKay Coppins, “Duncan Hunter Is Running the Most Anti-Muslim Campaign in the Country,” The Atlantic, November 5, 2018. Accessed February 25, 2019.

[58] Samantha Raphelson, “Muslim Americans Running For Office In Highest Numbers Since 2001,” NPR, July 18, 2018. Accessed February 25, 2019.

[59] Arif Rafiq, “Bobby Jindal’s Muslim Problem: How a ‘model immigrant’ is playing to his evangelical base with ugly allegations,” Politico, January 25, 2015. Accessed February 27, 2019.

[60] Massoud Hayounjul, “Muslim Americans See a Major Spike in Hate Crimes—and Political Participation,” Pacific Standard, July 18, 2018. Accessed October 24, 2019.

[61] YouGov, Western/ MENA attitudes to religion – USA results, Fieldwork Dates: 31st December 2018 – 8th January 2019. Accessed October 23, 2019.

[62] Michael Lipka, “Muslims and Islam: Key findings in the U.S. and around the world,” Pew Research Center, August 9, 2017. Accessed February 7, 2019.

[63] loc. cit.

[64] Betsy Cooper, Daniel Cox, Rachel Lienesch, Robert P. Jones, Ph.D., “Anxiety, Nostalgia, and Mistrust: Findings from the 2015 American Values Survey,” Public Religion Research Institute, November 17, 2015. Accessed February 27, 2019.

[65] “U.S. Muslims Concerned About Their Place in Society, but Continue to Believe in the American Dream,” Pew Research Center, July 26, 2017. Accessed February 27, 2019.

[66] “Sharp Rise in the Share of Americans Saying Jews Face Discrimination:

Discrimination seen as widespread against Muslims, other groups,” Pew Research Center, April 15, 2019. Accessed October 24, 2019.

[67] Kelly Weill, “More Than 500 Attacks on Muslims in America This Year,” The Daily Beast, May 21, 2019. Accessed October 23, 2019.

[68] “CAIR Report: Anti-Muslim Bias Incidents, Hate Crimes Spike in Second Quarter of 2018,”

July 12, 2018. Accessed February 27, 2019.

[69] Council on American-Islamic Relations, Targeted: 2018 Civil Rights Report. Accessed February 26, 2019.

[70] Katayoun Kishi, “Assaults against Muslims in U.S. surpass 2001 level,” Pew Research Center,

November 15, 2017. Accessed February 27, 2019.

[71] Alessandro Acquisti and Christina M. Fong, “An Experiment in Hiring Discrimination Via Online Social Networks,” Carnegie Mellon University, July 17, 2011, 1. Accessed October 13, 2016.

[72] Tom Breen, “Great Resume, Too Bad About Your Religion.” UConn Today, June 16, 2014. Accessed October 13, 2016.

[73] “U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Religion-Based Charges Filed from 10/01/2000 through 9/30/2011 Showing Percentage Filed on the Basis of Religion-Muslim.” Accessed February 27, 2019.

[74] While young people generally have fewer prejudices than adults, especially in our increasingly multicultural society, biases can be consciously or unconsciously transmitted from their parents or other sources. These subtle or unsubtle messages create biases even at a young age. The best way to overcome prejudice is through interaction or education which changes perceptions and challenges stereotypes.

[75] Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil, “Number of Muslim students bullied for the faith declines but rate is still double the average, study finds,” Los Angeles Times, October 23, 2019. Accessed October 24, 2019.

[76] Mansoor Shams, “My 12-year-old son gave me a list of Islamophobic names he has been called.” Newsweek, May 30, 2019. Accessed October 22, 2019.

[77] CAIR-California, “Singled Out: Islamophobia in the Classroom and the Impact of Discrimination on Muslim Students,” October 16, 2019, 25. Accessed October 24, 2019.

[78] Kandil, “Number of Muslim students.”

[79] Marina Fasciano, “Extreme Prejudice,” Teaching Tolerance, Fall 2015. Accessed October 21, 2016.

[80] Ann Henson Feltgen, “Weston teacher faces discipline over alleged slur of Muslim student.” Miami Herald, March 2, 2015. Accessed October 13, 2016.

[81] Dean Obeidallah, “Anti-Muslim School Bullying: Sometimes, It’s Even the Teachers Doing It.” The Daily Beast, May 17, 2016. Accessed October 21, 2016.

[82] Heather L. Weaver, “Teacher to Muslim Refugee Student: You’re a Terrorist, and I Can’t Wait Until Donald Trump Deports All You Muslims.” ACLU. Accessed October 31, 2016.

[83] “Noor Complaint to the Department of Justice Requesting an Investigation Pursuant to Title IV.” October 28, 2016. Accessed October 31, 2016.

[84] Antonia Blumberg, “Students May Soon Learn Even Less About Islam In Tennessee Public Schools.” Huffington Post, September 28, 2016. Accessed February 13, 2018.

[85] “Preventing Bullying,” Center for Disease Control, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Division of Violence Prevention .Accessed October 24, 2019.

[86] Donna St. George, “During a school year of terrorist attacks, Muslim students report bullying,” Washington Post, June 14, 2016. Accessed October 13, 2016.

[87]  CAIR California, “Singled Out,” 25.

[88] CAIR California, “Mislabeled,” 5-8.

[89] Campbell Robertson, Christopher Mele, and Sabrina Tavernise, “11 Kiled in Synagogue Massacre; Suspect Charged With 29 Counts,” New York Times, October 27, 2018.

[90] Jill Cowan, “California Shooting: Victims of Attack at Gilroy Festival Are Identified,” New York Times, July 30, 2019.


[92] “Murder and Extremism in the United States in 2018,” ADL Center on Extremism. Accessed February 28, 2019.

[93] “Countering Violent Extremism,” Government Accountability Office, April, 2017, 3. Accessed February 28, 2019.

[94] “Analysis: Deadly threat from far-right extremists is overshadowed by fear of Islamic terrorism,” PBS Newshour, Feb. 24, 2017. Accessed February 28, 2019.

[95] Alex Pfadt, “Report: Law Enforcement Assessment of Terrorist Threat,” Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, Duke University, June 25, 2015. Accessed February 28, 2019.

[96] John Haltiwanger, “America’s ‘war on terror’ has cost the US nearly $6 trillion and killed roughly half a million people, and there’s no end in sight,” Business Insider, Nov 14, 2018. Accessed October 24, 2019.

[97] Samantha Raphelson, “Muslim Americans Running for Office in Highest Numbers Since 2001,” NPR, July 18, 2018. Accessed February 27, 2019.

[98] Khuram Zaman, “The Unofficial List of Wins and Losses for American Muslim Candidates in the 2018 Elections,”, November 7, 2018. Accessed February 27, 2019.

[99] “Rolling Stone Features Democratic ‘Women Shaping The Future’ As Cover Stars,” Rolling Stone, February 28, 2019. Accessed March 1, 2019.

[100] Eli Rosenberg, “Poster linking Rep. Ilhan Omar to 9/11 sparks outrage, injuries in W.Va. state Capitol,” Washington Post, March 2, 2019. Accessed March 2, 2019.

[101] David Goldman, “Fox News rebukes Jeanine Pirro after she questioned Ilhan Omar’s hijab,” CNN Business, March 11, 2019. Accessed March 15, 2019.

[102] Conor Friedersdorf, “Ilhan Omar Falls Victim to the Outrage Exhibitionists,” The Atlantic, April 13, 2019.

[103] Cristina Marcos, “Tlaib: There’s Islamophobia in the Democratic Party,” The Hill, March 11, 2019. Accessed March 12, 2019.

[104] Wikipedia, s.v. Contact hypothesis,