Why did so many contributors to this inquiry, like us, support the idea of defining Islamophobia as a form of racism? The term ‘racialisation’ denotes the process through which populations are classified according to ‘their’ race, and the characterisations associated with this. Nasar Meer (2013) and Malory Nye (2018) show that religious populations were and are, racialized through such projects.
White Muslims can be targeted solely because they are Muslim, but can also attest to another racialised aspect of Islamophobia.
As you would expect, the definition does not capture all oppressions. Muslim women suffer from misogyny. Black Muslims suffer from anti-black racism. Muslim minorities suffer from sectarianism. These all are real injustices being faced and whilst they intersect with Islamophobia, they are not Islamophobia unless it is the Muslimness of the individual which is being targeted.
The APPG on British Muslims new definition of Islamophobia presents a useful and powerful tool for both scholars and campaigners.
The new definition is not conceptually perfect, but it is conceptually sound. And while, for its thoroughness, I consider the University of California’s “Center for Race and Gender” definition of Islamophobia to be more robust, the proposed definition by the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims has the benefit of being considerably more accessible to politicians, policy makers, journalists, and Muslims themselves.