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It is a regrettably pathetic situation that today the religion of God; the religion of peace, love, harmony and togetherness has been turned and made to look like the devil's orchard, wherein everything about it and its inmates are evil and anti-human. Yes, that is the way most non-Muslims from the West view Islam and Muslims as painted to them by their anti-Islamic electronic and print media, giving birth to the terminology 'Islamophobia'.

The word Islamophobia is a neologism from "Islam" and "phobia", a suffix used in English form "nouns with the sense 'fear of——’, ‘aversion to ——’." The compound form Islamo- contains the thematic vowel "o", and is found in earlier coinages such as Islamo-Christian from the 19th century.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word means "Intense dislike or fear of Islam, especially as a political force; hostility or prejudice towards Muslims" and is attested to in English as early as 1923.

Islamophobia is prejudice against, hatred towards, or fear of Muslims or of ethnic groups perceived to be Muslims. While the term is widely recognized and used, both the term and the underlying concept have been criticized.

Scholars have defined it as a type of racism, but this has been contested. Commentators charge that the concept of Islamophobia has been used to marginalize criticism of more radical variants of Islam by conflating it with prejudice against Muslims. But this is not warranted  at all and could be averted by a conscious campaign on awareness about Islam.

The causes and characteristics of Islamophobia are still debated. Some commentators have posited an increase in Islamophobia resulting from the September 11 attacks  while others have associated it with the increased presence of Muslims in the Western world.

True, the September 11 episode was a dastardly act that should be condemned by all sane beings because there is no religion that preaches the waste of innocent lives for whatever reason. It was a cowardly act that must be condemned. But, still at that, the perpetrators do not represent neither Islam nor  the teachings of Islam.  This is because Islam preaches the sacredness of life and that anyone who takes the life of another unjustly is as if he had taken the life of the entire world, and that who saves one is as if he had saved the entire world.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

{مِنْ أَجْلِ ذَٰلِكَ كَتَبْنَا عَلَىٰ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنَّهُ مَن قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا ۚ}.

{Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely} (Qur’an 5:32).

Why the Islamophobia when Islam is the religion of peace; the only heavenly revealed religion that is open up to the whole of mankind  and not to a specific nation or tribe, as Isa (Jesus, peace be upon him) proclaimed to have been sent to the lost sheep of Israel as well and as Musa (Moses, peace be upon him)??!!! Islam, on the other hand is meant for all mankind, which led to the global call and invitation to the religion as exemplified by the Prophet of Allah, Muhammad (peace be upon him), when he sent letters and emissaries to the King of Rome, Byzantium and  other world leaders of his time.

The causes  of Islamophobia are not farfetched, and they, among others include; ignorance, false propaganda, and the acts of extremist elements in the fold of Islam.

* Ignorance about the Religion of Islam: It is quite unfortunate that a lot of people in the world today, notwithstanding the wide spread of Islam are still ignorant of most of the teachings of Islam. Not just the teachings, but most of it, some view it to be a sort of cult, or tribal issue. But I am here to make it clear that Islam is the religion of Allah, which was brought to earth by our father Adam (peace be upon him), and all other prophets after him. The common denominator of messages brought by all the Prophets and Messengers of God remain one, and just one; and that is to proclaim that "There is no god who deserves to be worshiped except the One God(Allah)", and that man should "worship the only One True God(Allah) without making partners for him", because "He is a jealous God who does not entertain competition or attributing partners to Him”.

So, what is the way out to treat this cause? You the reader, I and every other person should try read more about Islam from the Qur'an; the Holy book of Islam, the Hadith (books on the traditions, practices and teachings of the Prophet of Islam), and the books written by Muslim scholars first, before reading about it from what non-Muslims wrote about it.

* False Propaganda: The Arabic word 'Islam' simply means 'submission', and is derived from a word meaning 'peace'. In a religious context it means complete submission to the will of God. Islam is a religion of peace and preaches peaceful coexistence between the human race regardless of their differences in religion; Allah says in the Qur’an:

{لا إكراه في الدين...}.

[There is no compulsion in the religion…]. (Qur'an2:256).

Islam preaches the submission and worship of Allah, the One and Only True God, and there is nothing like 'Mohammedanism' which connotes the worship of Muhammad (peace be upon him). Mohammedanism is used by some of the haters and enemies of Islam as propaganda against Muslims. There is nothing like Mohammedanism  in Islam. It is thus a misnomer because it suggests that Muslims worship Muhammad (peace be upon him) rather than God.

The word 'Allah' is the Arabic name for God, which is used by Arab Muslims and Christians alike.

Islam may seem exotic or even extreme in the modern world. Perhaps this is because the religion does not dominate everyday life in the West today, whereas Muslims have always placed the religion at the uppermost in their minds, and make no division between the secular and sacred. They believe that the Divine Law, the Shari'a, should be taken very seriously, which is why issues related to religion are still so important.

* Extremist elements in the fold of Islam: A religion can never and should never be judged by the misconducts of some of its followers. It is a fact that there are fundamentalists and extremists within the fold of Islam, but it is not just an exclusive situation with Islam and Muslims, for there are so many such people within the folds of Christianity and other religions and beliefs. So, tagging Islam as "terrorism", and Muslims as "Terrorists" is the biggest misdeed and injustice done to the religion of Allah and its adherents. This is because other religions had never been so adjudged. The church at a point in history was the "super power" and it forbade the study of sciences. In fact, most scientists were persecuted for believing in their sciences and scientific discoveries. This led to turning most scientist into atheists, disbelieving in the existence of God.

This is just an example, but the point I want to make here is that, notwithstanding, no one has tagged Christianity with names such as "haters of science" or "haters of progress and development" and so on.

So, there is no need for the phobia of Islam. I really call on everyone who reads this article but is still not convinced with the fact that Islam is a religion of peace and that  Muslims are peace loving people, to do more research objectively about Islam.

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