Comment: “A history of ‘Islamophobia,’ a word of dubious value”

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Pascal Bruckner, the French philosopher, who has spent a great deal of time working on this issue, summarizes his opinion in a few words: “There’s No Such Thing as Islamophobia. Critique of religion is a fundamental Western right, not an illness.” …

The word Islamophobia originated in the early 20th century. An early use was in a French biography of Muhammad (“islamophobie”). Sometimes it was used internally, within Islam, to identify a fear of Islam felt by liberal Muslims and Muslim feminists, rather than a fear or dislike of Muslims by non-Muslims. It was given an official imprimatur in 2004 when Kofi Annan, then the UN Secretary-General, said the word Islamophobia had to be coined in order to “take account of increasingly widespread bigotry.” From there on it was part of language, a word of dubious value.

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