Confronting the monolith: the struggle against Islamophobia and Osamaism

“Some have argued that Islamophobia confuses criticism of Islamic practices with fear, hate, or prejudice of Muslims. This begs the question: what makes these particular practices ‘Islamic’ and, more importantly, who gets to decide – and how? …. One can be a legitimate critic of Islam in the same way one can also be a critic of Hinduism, Judaism, Shinto, the Bahá’í Faith, Christianity, Buddhism, or any other organized religion; however, when one conflates the aggressive behavior and beliefs of a group of far right-wing individuals that claim to follow the teachings of their religion with the behavior and beliefs of every other individual that practices that same religion, this person cannot, in good faith, be considered a legitimate critic of Islam…. The trouble with those mired in the conflation-prone school of criticism is that they are unable to differentiate between Osamaism and Islam. While some inadvertently confuse the two, others conflate them purposely. In either case, the monolith is erected and we are confronted with Islamophobia.”

Jehanzeb Hasan at Media Monitors Network, 7 August 2006