'Islamophobia' a Hot Topic for Muslims

January 16, 2009

Author: Jane Hawes

Source: The Columbus Dispatch


As difficult as the days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack were for American Muslims, there were many positives.

"A lot of people reached out," said Asma Mobin-Uddin, president of the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "We built a lot of bridges out of that experience."

Unfortunately, Mobin-Uddin said, some of that support has eroded in the past few years.

"We're seeing more misinformation," Mobin-Uddin said. "Some of it's ignorance, but with some of it, people have an agenda."

Islam expert and author John L. Esposito agreed, noting that many of the constructive responses post-9/11 have given way to "Islamophobia," a prejudice and fear of the religion.

"There's a genre of literature which has come out," Esposito said. "You can look on Amazon and see that many of the top books listed are Islamophobic. Much of their subject matter is often blatantly wrong."

Esposito is the founding director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He will speak Thursday at the Athletic Club of Columbus about his 30-plus years researching Islam.