Reacting to Islam: Islamophobia as a Form of Extremism
For many, Islam today is a cause of deep concern if not fear. While some Islamic extremists clearly pose a danger, often more in respect to other Muslims, in the non-Muslim world there is increasing evidence of a generalized negative reaction. Ignorance and fear combine to foment an Islamophobic rejection of Muslims and all things Islamic. A deep ‘othering’ of Muslims emanates from right-wing and fundamentalist Christian quarters, among others, in many parts of the world. This chapter summarizes the argument that Islamophobia can be regarded as a manifestation of religious extremism and it examines in particular two dramatic instances from the past decade—the 2009 Swiss ban on the building of minarets and the 2011 Norwegian massacre carried out by Anders Behring Breivik.