The far left (and the right, to be fair) just loves to make up words to vilify people, and that’s what islamophobia really is. Why do I say this? I don’t like Islam. I also don’t like Christianity. I find Hinduism laughable. So some might call me an islamophobe. But nobody would call me a christiophobe or a hindophobe. And there are people who hate me for being atheist. In fact, last time I checked there were 7 countries in the world where being atheist actually incurred the death penalty. Yet there has never been an athiophobe.
Personally, I think this name-calling is not only petty and ignorant, but it diminishes the importance of a real problem, antisemitism. Those using the word try to reason that if there’s a word for hating Jewish people then it’s only fair that there should be a word for hating Muslims. But there is a big, big difference there. Being Jewish isn’t only a religion, it’s also an ethnicity. People aren’t antisemitic based on what church one goes to, they’re antisemitic based one’s ethnicity.
Those using this attack are often aware of this and like to try to link a dislike of Islam to race as well, further making themselves look like fools and further downplaying the significance of the real problem of antisemitism. If you speak out against Islam, a horrendous religion (in some of its most followed versions) which allows people to be killed for leaving it in parts of the world, they call you a racist. Because obviously no white people could ever be Muslim, right? So if you hate the religion you must hate the majority of people who practice it.
You can hate Islam without hating Muslims in the same way that you can have a strong distaste for the Jewish religion without being antisemitic. And some of the practices of orthodox Jews are pretty damned stupid. Like inventing a telephone where you put a stick in various holes to dial it on the sabbath because, somehow, using this complicated piece of crap is not “work”, but pushing simple buttons is. And there’s some belief which involves running a string around a Jewish community because as long as the string remains unbroken they are allowed to violate some of the rules about working on the sabbath or some such magical nonsense. These things are stupid with the Jewish faith, but have nothing whatsoever to do with the Jewish ethnicity. A person can be a Jew (ethnically) and not be a Jew (religiously).
But Islam is all religion. Anyone can be a Muslim. Race is irrelevant except in people’s minds. I would argue that the very belief that I am racist because I have disdain for Islam is, itself, a very racist thing because it is stereotyping people of Arabian decent. As if only Arabs could be Muslim and they could be nothing else. That seems to me to be a pretty hurtful racial stereotype which, I’m sure, causes real issues with our atheist Arab friends.
I would also point out that America is very good at “Americanising” immigrants. They become Americans within a generation or two. As a result American Islam is all touchy-feely, having very little to do with Islam in other parts of the world where they tend to believe it’s okay to kill people they disagree with religiously. So the idea that “Islam is a religion of peace”, yeah, that’s BS. It CAN be, and it is in America, for SOME of its followers. But 7 Muslim majority countries have laws allowing Muslims to kill people for not being Muslim and many more have laws which will get you imprisoned for leaving Islam or simply saying you disagree with it. I don’t know of any Muslim majority countries where the laws show that Islam is, in fact, “peaceful” or “tolerant” in any way. Yeah, when you’re in Rome you do as the Romans do. But when you’re home, the Romans had better watch themselves!