It is evidently clear from the discussion that Islamophobia as a cultural and political concept incorporates a wide range of meaning components referring to different domains of the society’ s life. Generally, however, islamophobia is understood as a type of xenophobia uniting different forms of negative reaction to Islam and social phenomena related to it. Different scholars on both sides of the barricades grant varying sets of traits to islamophobia as the model of perception of Islam. For instance, Mustafa Abu Sway defines Islamophobia as the term implying various types of discrimination including “ discrimination in the provision of health services, exclusion from managerial positions and jobs of high responsibility» , prejudiced or biased portrayal in literature or media, as well as violence, verbal and physical abuse and vandalism.
In the report of the Runnymede Trust, one of the most unbiased and clear definitions of Islamophobia was given: “ Islamophobia is the shorthand way of referring to dread or hatred of Islam – and, therefore, to fear or dislike of all or most Muslims” . Thereby, the chairman of the Runnymede commission Gordon Conway considered this phenomenon fear and hatred towards Muslims and their religion cultivated in mass media of all levels and spread across all social classes.
The concept of Islamophobia drawn by the Runnymede Trust rests upon the four key aspects: violence, prejudice, discrimination, and exclusion. This means that Muslims face discrimination in various areas of life including professional activity and services’ provision and prejudiced depiction of their religious group in media – especially Western – and in everyday conversation. Moreover, they experience violence and are exclusion from positions presupposing responsibility, political domain and certain areas of employment.
In the framework of Islamophobia, Islam possesses the following characteristics: it is aggressive, static, savage and hostile towards the Western culture; it is irrational and aimed as ideological motivation for the promotion of military or political interests; it deserves discrimination and does not share ‘ traditional’ values held in the West.
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