Sunday, 26 August 2012

That the Muslim Brotherhood invented the term Islamophobia has become a commonplace on the Counterjihad scene. But is it true? The only evidence for it seems to be the undocumented assertions of Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, a former Muslim radical turned "moderate".

He has made the following statements about the creation of the term islamophobia:
That's the reason why the question of whether America is "Islamophobic" - now bandied about so casually, as though opposition to the mosque has revealed a nasty strain in the American psyche, akin to the terrible racism or anti-Semitism that once ran wild - is so deeply offensive. This loathsome term is nothing more than a thought-terminating cliche conceived in the bowels of Muslim think tanks for the purpose of beating down critics.

In an effort to silence critics of political Islam, advocates needed to come up with terminology that would enable them to portray themselves as victims. Muhammad said he was present when his then- allies, meeting at the offices of the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT) in Northern Virginia years ago, coined the term "Islamophobia."

Muhammad said the Islamists decided to emulate the homosexual activists who used the term "homophobia" to silence critics. He said the group meeting at IIIT saw "Islamophobia" as a way to "beat up their critics."

These statements were cited in a Claire Berlinksi article which was reproduced on Jihadwatch. That seems to be what led to the diffusion of this idea.

But let's pause for breath. The claims made by Muhammad are neither documented nor dated. And even if what he is saying is true, if a word is invented and then pushed into general circulation, you should be able to document its spread. Modern search technology makes it relatively easy to do this. So where are the textual analyses showing the spread of this term originating in statements or documents issued by the Muslim Brotherhood?

I did a textual search on this term using many specialised electronic archives, biased towards British sources but including American ones too. My conclusion was that it had originated in Britain and had almost certainly been coined not by a Muslim but a pitifully dhimmified Jew, the "anti-racism" campaigner Richard Stone. He was one of the authors of a letter to the Guardian in 1994, which was the first recorded use I could find of the term, and he was present on the committee of the Runnymede Trust which launched the term into broad circulation in 1996. A fuller discussion of this topic, including quotes, can be found here.

In my view the claims of Abdur-Rahman Muhammad form too slender an evidentiary basis on which to support the assertion that the term was invented by the Muslim Brotherhood. Clearly it has been seized on and exploited by them. But we shouldn't attribute its invention to them unless we can prove it. There is no need to make stuff about Muslims. The truth is bad enough.

UPDATE: Robert Spencer has responded to this post on Jihadwatch and says he will not be repeating the claim that it was invented by the Muslim Brotherhood. He also mentions some other possible prior uses, from France and Iran. I was aware of these, too, but focused on its use in English.


Anonymous said...

Words like "Islamophobia" are invented by the Left and the Universities. This word smells of University political activism. Many people should ask themselves why is it that words like "Christianophobia" are rarely used, although Christianity is a huge entity, has billions of followers, and a lot of money? Because the Left via the Education System and the Media controlls the language. Muslims (or christians) are not that good at manipulating the language.

Take a look at this site, the Newspeak Dictionary, it shows how Newspeak is being employed today and the real meaning of some modern words.

Anonymous said...

Caroline Fourest, French activist, says this word was used
by Iranian mullahs in 1979, about bad muslimas who refused to wear the veil

Soon after, Brother Tariq Ramadan, "the philosopher", introduced the word on a silver plate to the left, in order to silence any debate about islam in France

Anonymous said...

"I was aware of these, too, but focused on its use in English. "

Looking at all his - former - roles, in Rotterdam, Oxford, etc, it would be very likely that Brother Tariq brought the "islamophobia" with him to the English language

Anonymous said...

"Lack of comprehension creates islamophobia"
Tariq Ali

"What we can learn from Saladin, is to be open to other cultures, and open your own culture to others", thinks Ali, visiting Oslo.

The growth of the Christian culture happened simoultaneously with the birth of capitalism, gives Christianity no right to trample all over the world. Western occupation in the muslim world must stop. These occupations create anger amongst young muslims. European politicians don't see this.

This lack of understanding promotes islamophobia", claims Ali.

At promoting islam by "Saladin Days", Oslo, financially supported by Norwegian taxpayers money, by foreign ministry, Støre.

Anonymous said...

"I had tea with the former prime minister of Yemen last week. Both he and others I met, were pleasantly surprised to hear that I was going to Oslo to produce a play about Saladin", explains Tariq Ali.

(yemen martine gahr støre)

Anonymous said...

Great article! Thanks for researching this. I was looking into it myself but I guess now I don't have to anymore.

Belfast Bitch said...

On behalf of over half the world's population I have unilaterally decided that the term "sexist" is inadequate to describe a range of beliefs and behaviours towards those of my gender.

I therefore invent the word "FEMOPHOBIC" to describe any individual or belief system which advocates or condones in any way any of the following.

1. The mutilation of the genitals of little girls

2.The forced marriage of any female

3. The covering up of any woman's body because men allegedly can't control themselves

4. The killing of women and girls for reasons of male "honour"

5 The admiration, deification or hero-worship of any historic figure who had sexual relations (raped) a nine-year old girl.

I could go on and on and on.......

I don't give a damn if you disagree with me or not. If you do, you must be a FEMOPHOBE who deserves be jailed for the hate crime of expressing your opinion.

Belfast Bitch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

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