The Fear of Islam in America

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( – Islamophobia. You may have heard the word before. But, what does it mean exactly? Reza Aslan, professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, defined it as “a bigotry against Muslims,” to a room full of people at the university on Monday.

In a lecture titled, “Islamophobia: The Real Enemy,” he explained how and why the fear of Islam exists in the United States. Aslan took us back to 2001, and said it’s easy to assume Americans harbor an anti-Muslim sentiment because of the September 11 attacks. As Aslan explains that’s not exactly the case, because there’s been a rise in Islamophobia since 2001. “The further we got away from 9/11, the higher the anti-Muslim sentiment grew, so something else must be going on – there must be another reason,” Aslan explained.

That reason, he said, comes down to consistent and biased anti-Muslim messages that trickle down and become talking points for the media, and politicians during election season. “All of this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Aslan said…