The Routledge International Handbook of Islamophobia,

The Routledge International Handbook of Islamophobia, [2019], provides a comprehensive single-volume collection of key readings in Islamophobia.

The editors are Irene Zempi  Lecturer in Criminology at Nottingham Trent University, UK, and Imran Awan, Professor in Criminology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University, UK.

The reason for its publication is starkly put: “Islamophobic hate crimes have increased significantly following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and 7/7.

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More recently, the rhetoric surrounding Trump’s election and presidency, Brexit, the rise of far-right groups and ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks worldwide have promoted a climate where Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiments have become ‘legitimised’.”

Divided into four parts, it examines “… the nature, extent, implications of and responses to Islamophobic hate crime both nationally and internationally.” It also seeks “…to examine policy responses and examine the effectiveness of policing this form of hate crime.”

Part IV is of particular interest to Muslims and those seeking to protect multicultural societies. It “…looks at ways in which Islamophobic hate crime can be addressed on the national and international stage.”

It brings together scholars, researchers and policy experts  from the UK, Scotland, France, Ireland, Belgium, the USA, Greece, Poland, Australia, Canada and Southeast Asia,

Contributors  include Australians Shakira Hussein and Scott Poynting  with Chapter 21 “Diasporas and dystopias on the beach: Burkini wars in France and Australia.”

The main focus is however on the major Western societies of Europe and North America.

What is Islamophobia?

The editors welcome the definition of Islamophobia issued by the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims, 2018, issued after a year-long consultation across the UK.

“Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Musliminess.”

Nathan Lean, in Chapter 1, “The debate over the utility and precision of the term “islamophobia”, looks back to the scholarship of Fernando Bravo Lopez, who is widely credited with having unearthed the origin and lineage of the word.”

Lopez discovered that its first uses in print came more than a century ago when, in 1910, two French writers described the experiences of African Muslims under colonial rule using the variation”Islamophobie.”(Lopez 2011).

These usages were iterations of judeophobie (which later became “anti-Semitism”) and xenophobie, or xenophobia.……………….in describing the circumstances of West African Muslims whose lives were governed by an overbearing French mission.

Nasar Meer and Tariq Modood in chapter 2 “Islamophobia as the racialisation of Muslims”  point to the two dynamics permeating hostility towards Muslims in Europe. One is the security counter-terrorism  anxiety and the other “…has been inherited from an ideological-historical relationship with the notions of the Orient, one that is intertwined with legacies if imperialism.”

They could perhaps be summarised as “the fear factor”  plus “a sense of cultural superiority.”

Meer and Modood refer to the 2016 Pew Global Attitudes Projects 2016 which reports the percentage of various populations which rate Muslims unfavourably. Hungary is the highest at 72%, Italians 69%, Greeks 65%, Spaniards 50% with Germans, French and Britons at 28-29% the least hostile.

The 32 chapters in this 442-page book, bring together a wide range of studies on this very nasty modern phenomenon. While the information contained within is disturbing, it is an area which must be deeply understood if it is to be effectively combatted.

One problem is that the print version of the book is expensive. It can be obtained in e-book form at a reduced price.