The false narrative that "Islamophobia" is a growing threat received a boost at the "Fourth Annual International Conference on the Study of Islamophobia: From Theorizing to Systematic Documentation," which took place at the University of California, Berkeley on April 19 and 20, 2013 under the chairmanship of its foremost conceptual proponent, Hatem Bazian. A senior lecturer in UC Berkeley's department of Near Eastern studies, Bazian directs the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project (IRDP), a program of the school's Center for Race & Gender, and sits on the editorial board for the Islamophobia Studies Journal. The IRDP is heavily invested in promoting the belief that "Islamophobia" is on the rise globally and its annual conferences (click here and here to read about previous years) never fail to ratchet up the hysteria.
The conference opened just as a massive manhunt was launched in Boston for the two Islamic terrorists, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who bombed the Boston Marathon earlier in the week. Predictable anticipations of a coming "backlash" against Muslims—which never developed—were repeated throughout the event. Ironically, actual violence against Muslims came at the hands of Turks against Syrian refugees after a car bombing killed 52 people in Reyhanli, Turkey on May 11, 2013.
An audience of approximately sixty-five students, many of them women in hijab (head scarf), attended the second day of the conference, eager to learn about the "'Othering' of Islam," the "racialization of Muslims," and the definition of "Islamophobia":