Excerpt:

It is far too late to protest what I see as the false coinage of "phobia" words — not that I will let that stop me.

We have (from some time back) francophobia; somewhat more recently, homophobia; and, most volatile and recent of them all, Islamophobia. All of these, in one form or other, are founded on a loose analogy with the genuine phobias — arachnophobia, agoraphobia or hydrophobia, for example, which speak to a morbid and irrational dread of — in the case of these terms — spiders, open spaces and water. But the new phobia words are more terms of art, than clinical descriptions.

Islamophobia is meant to be a blanket term that refers to unthinking hostility to Islam and Muslims. There is no doubt that such prejudice exists. But there is no doubt, too, that cries of "Islamophobia" are issued to suffocate argument, to deflect or deter analysis of some behaviour that is factually related to Islam. There is no doubt either that some Muslims have acted as terrorists, either singly, or in association with various Islamist groups. To point this out is not a phobia, but a simple respect for reality.


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