Did the Muslim Brotherhood Invent the Term Islamophobia?
Islam versus Europe 27 August 2012
That the Muslim Brotherhood invented the term Islamophobia has become a commonplace on the Counterjihad scene. But is it true? The only evidence for it seems to be the undocumented assertions of Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, a former Muslim radical turned "moderate".
He has made the following statements about the creation of the term islamophobia:
That's the reason why the question of whether America is "Islamophobic" - now bandied about so casually, as though opposition to the mosque has revealed a nasty strain in the American psyche, akin to the terrible racism or anti-Semitism that once ran wild - is so deeply offensive. This loathsome term is nothing more than a thought-terminating cliche conceived in the bowels of Muslim think tanks for the purpose of beating down critics.
In an effort to silence critics of political Islam, advocates needed to come up with terminology that would enable them to portray themselves as victims. Muhammad said he was present when his then- allies, meeting at the offices of the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT) in Northern Virginia years ago, coined the term "Islamophobia."
Muhammad said the Islamists decided to emulate the homosexual activists who used the term "homophobia" to silence critics. He said the group meeting at IIIT saw "Islamophobia" as a way to "beat up their critics."
These statements were cited in a Claire Berlinksi article which was reproduced on Jihadwatch. That seems to be what led to the diffusion of this idea.
But let's pause for breath. The claims made by Muhammad are neither documented nor dated. And even if what he is saying is true, if a word is invented and then pushed into general circulation, you should be able to document its spread. Modern search technology makes it relatively easy to do this. So where are the textual analyses showing the spread of this term originating in statements or documents issued by the Muslim Brotherhood?
I did a textual search on this term using many specialised electronic archives, biased towards British sources but including American ones too. My conclusion was that it had originated in Britain and had almost certainly been coined not by a Muslim but a pitifully dhimmified Jew, the "anti-racism" campaigner Richard Stone. He was one of the authors of a letter to the Guardian in 1994, which was the first recorded use I could find of the term, and he was present on the committee of the Runnymede Trust which launched the term into broad circulation in 1996. A fuller discussion of this topic, including quotes, can be found here.
In my view the claims of Abdur-Rahman Muhammad form too slender an evidentiary basis on which to support the assertion that the term was invented by the Muslim Brotherhood. Clearly it has been seized on and exploited by them. But we shouldn't attribute its invention to them unless we can prove it. There is no need to make stuff about Muslims. The truth is bad enough.