Defining Islamophobia

A definition is not a magic spell. Defining Islamophobia will not by itself end Islamophobia. What is needed is not a detailed legal definition but one capable of circulating in broader society, and changing the way in which Islamophobia is understood and resisted. This means a definition that is brief, which builds on already existing norms of public etiquette and which triggers a debate that helps to change the national conversation.

Reports of Islamophobia: 1997 and 2017

Earlier this month the Runnymede Trust launched a new report, Islamophobia: Still a challenge for us all, to mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of the landmark 1997 report, Islamophobia; A challenge for us all. The significance of the original Report is hard to over-estimate. While it is the case that it did not coin the term Islamophobia, it certainly gave it legs. And while it is also true that the report did not end Islamophobia, it did indict it.

The Meaning of Pakistan

Richard Bulliet observes that without the Islamic Revolution, Iran would be a very similar country to Pakistan. That is, Iran would be a country dominated by an elite that is globally integrated, internationally oriented and culturally separated from most of its population. This elite would present itself as being liberal and modern, but it would, at the same time, contrive to ensure that ordinary people would have minimal access to education, healthcare, public infrastructure, and justice (Bulliet, 2017).

Decoloniality and the Islamicate

Recalling the Caliphate was published in English towards the end of 2014. A few months before its publication, a caliphate had been proclaimed in the borderlands of what had been two Baathist states for almost forty years. At the time of writing, the territory of this self-styled caliphate has shrunk, its leadership has relocated, the rule of the Baathist-takfiri warlords seems to be receding in Iraq and Syria.