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Let’s Talk About ‘Islamophobia’

The use of “phobia”, when combined with other words, comes from the Greek and refers to a fear or dread of that other thing. Examples are “hydrophobia”, which is a fear of water; or “agoraphobia”, which is a fear of going outside; or “ophidiophobia”, which is a fear of snakes.

Some phobias are irrational while others are experientially based. For instance, if you have been bitten by a poisonous snake and survived, a subsequent fear of snakes would certainly make sense.

Islamophobia is a word that has become distorted by misuse. Some suggest it refers to an irrational “hate of” or “prejudice against” Muslims. This writer certainly does not feel that way toward the vast majority of Muslims in the world, nor should the word be used in that manner.

That said, there have been any number of violent incidents initiated by terrorists claiming to act in the name of Islam, Allah, and the Koran. There were two major attacks on the World Trade Towers, the second leveling those majestic buildings and murdering thousands of innocent Americans in the process. There have been assaults on the USS Cole, the Boston Marathon, a Bastille Day celebration in Marseilles, and many other lethal atrocities in the United States and abroad which are too numerous to list, all of which were perpetrated by Islamic extremists who have not only been properly blamed for these acts of barbarism, but who have actually taken credit for them.

I therefore submit that Islamophobia, meaning the fear of these extreme and dangerous people, is a rational and reasonable response to the state of the world. The moderate leaders of the Muslim world need to take responsibility and control these forces of evil but, as we wait for that day to come, I think it is fair to point out that not all snakes are venomous, but we must be ever vigilant with regard to the few who threaten our existence.

Jeffrey Stephens

Jeffrey S. Stephens, is a political analyst, columnist, and author of the new book The Handler