Until 10-15 years ago, there was no concept of Islamophobia. But, then on 9-11, a lot of things changed. A mere 10 years after the Cold War ceased and the West became the sole dominant power in the world, the world woke up to the reality that it is not just nuclear threats that threaten our way of life.
There is a new – yet very old – threat. It is called Radical Islam. Some even go out on a limb and argue that it is not just the radical branches of Islam, but mainstream Islam that also poses the threat. That is probably an exaggerated or untrue claim. The real question is how many people would be classified as radicalized. The numbers are scary.
If a phobia is the fear of something, and Islamophobia means the fear of Islam, then it is a perfectly valid term that signifies the legitimate or exaggerated fear of Islam. Why does Islam , as opposed to other religions, bring along with it such fear? In truth, this is a very simple question with a very simple answer. There exist other religions where some of the radical elements in the religion have violent tendencies. In Japan during World War II, there were entire groups of kamikaze pilots willing to die for their country. We all know what the Germans were like in World War II. So, why is there no such thing as Japanesephobia or Naziphobia.
It may be that the practice of killing in Islamic countries is more ruthless. It may even be that there is a fear based on the massive numbers of Islamic militants in countries like Iran or Iraq. But I think that there is a more elementary fear that is based on the hunch that masses of people have about the followers of Islam. It is a hunch that there is simply nobody to reason with when it comes to the masses of followers of Islam. This may be somewhat exaggerated about some of the people. However, among many of the more radical elements, this is definitely the case. Once you have unreasonable people with a large amount of weapons or power, it is a scary thing indeed.
Perhaps Islamophobia is not an oxymoron at all.