Iyanatul Islan and Anis Chowdhury, Deconstructing Islamophobia

ISLAMOPHOBIA - FEAR OF, AND HOSTILITY TOWARDS, THE ISLAMIC FAITH and Muslims - is a relatively new word in the English language. It first appeared in print in 1991. It appears to be a novel epithet for an old problem. Several scholars have argued that Islamophobia is a historically entrenched Western discourse on the ‘other’ and emerged with the birth of Islam. It went into a period of hibernation, as the Cold War loomed large in the Western consciousness. The threat of the global spread of Communism as well as the prospect of a nuclear confrontation between the US as the ‘leader of the free world’ and the Soviet Union as the ‘evil empire’ temporarily cast aside concerns and fears about Islam as a faith and the challenges that it posed to the West.

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