Many critics of the West's policy in the Middle East and Western attitudes towards the Islamic faith are keen to invoke Edward Said's theory of Orientalism, which posits that our study of the East is unavoidably distorted by the West's inherent ideological biases. It is clear, however, that if such an absolute predisposition exists, through their support for "moderate" Islamists and rejection of secular Muslim liberals, the Europeans who regard themselves as defenders of the East are the true perpetrators of such prejudice.
For example, in claiming Islam and Islamism as one and the same, by painting criticism of Islamism as bigoted, and by defining multi-culturalism as cultural relativism, when innocent Muslims are slaughtered by their co-religionists, Western comment or criticism is condemned as Islamophobic intolerance.
Defining the question of Islamophobia is especially critical in Europe. There, Islamophobia is dishonestly claimed by many to be that to question or comment on virtually any tenets of Islam is a wicked, bigoted act. By accepting discussion of religion as "Islamophobic," we provide a dangerous legitimacy to the claims of extremists within the Islamic community, while we abandon those Muslims who desire a reform or modernization within Islam, and greater assimilation with Western society.