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Islamophobia is a term used to denounce real bigotry against Islam and Muslims, as well as justifiable criticism of Islam or of Islamism.

There are parallels between Islamophobia and classical racism such as Anti-Semitism.

Genuine bigotry against Muslims has resulted in violence against individuals as well as desecration of mosques.  

Islamophobes insist that all Muslims are terrorists, in the same way as anti-Semites insist that all Jews are Bolsheviks or bankers.

Islamophobes cite passages from the Quran and Hadiths that are virulently anti-Jewish or anti-Christian, especially if mistranslated or taken out of context.

In Europe, politicians and political movements such as the EDL advocate curbs on Muslim immigration an other restrictions.

Nonetheless, a part of the criticism is not bigotry, especially when it is made by Muslims. It is undeniable that Islamist extremists advocate Jihad  against the west, that Anti-Semitism is rife in Muslim society and that Shaariah law is unfair to women and discriminates against homosexuals.

In 2006, 12 Muslim  intellectuals published a statement decrying Muslim hysteria over the publication of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad (see Cartoon Carnival ) The statement declared:

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new global totalitarian threat: Islamism.

We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.

Recent events, prompted by the publication of drawings of Muhammad in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values.

This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field.

It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism between West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

Like all totalitarian ideologies, Islamism is nurtured by fear and frustration.

Preachers of hatred play on these feelings to build the forces with which they can impose a world where liberty is crushed and inequality reigns.

But we say this, loud and clear: nothing, not even despair, justifies choosing darkness, totalitarianism and hatred.

Islamism is a reactionary ideology that kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present.

Its victory can only lead to a world of injustice and domination: men over women, fundamentalists over others.

On the contrary, we must ensure access to universal rights for the oppressed or those discriminated against.

We reject the "cultural relativism" which implies an acceptance that men and women of Muslim culture are deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secularism in the name of the respect for certain cultures and traditions.

We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", a wretched concept that confuses criticism of Islam as a religion and stigmatisation of those who believe in it.

This statement should be understood as drawing a line between tolerance of religious beliefs and abuse of that tolerance,  between legitimate criticism of Islam and bigotry or Islamophobia. It is questionable whether all accusations of Islamophobia  really really confuse criticism of Islam with stigmatization of believers, and it is questionable whether all criticisms are justified, especially those based on literal interpretations of Quranic texts,

It is not completely satisfactory, because it does not entirely demarcate the line between between legitimate criticism of Islam and racism. For example, clearly, a politician such as Geert Wilders in Holland should be allowed to say that the Quran encourages violence or that the  Quran should be banned. He is entitled to his opinion. If, as appears to be the case, people are allowed to chant, "Jews to the gas," than anyone should aso be able to express any opinion about Islam But it is another matter to decide that someone like Wilders is right and still another to decide that any book should be banned.

Ami Isseroff

October 25, 2010

Synonyms and alternate spellings:  

Further Information: 

Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions::

'H - ('het) a guttural sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.

chh - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."

u - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.

a- sounded like a in arm

ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.

'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.

o - close to the French o as in homme.

th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.

q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.

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