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Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism



Islamophobia is a systematized discrimination or antagonism directed against Muslim people due to their religion, or perceived religious, national, or ethnic identity associated with Islam. Like anti-Semitism, Islamophobia describes mentalities and actions that demean an entire class of people.

Note: Criticism of Islam should not be automatically conflated with bigotry against Muslims. Islamophobia is not the rational, respectful interrogation and/or criticism of Islam based on factual evidence, just as criticism of the tenets of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other religions does not necessarily indicate bigotry or prejudice. Islamophobia is the irrational fear of, discrimination against, and antagonism toward Muslims simply for being Muslims. (Source: Simmons Anti-Racism Research Guide)

"There is no worse feeling than feeling unwelcome in your own home. But despite the false perceptions and unfounded stereotypes I face every day, I refuse to be outcast-ed. America is my home; in fact it’s all I’ve ever known. I was born here. I was raised here. I celebrate the Fourth of July. I sing the national anthem with insurmountable pride. I hang the American flag outside of my front door. And, I plan on staying here for generations to come. I love this country, my country, because I love what it stands for." —Hannah Sharim, age 17

In the United States and many other Western nations, Christianity and its various denominations and religious practices hold institutional and cultural power. Christian privilege is the unearned benefits that Christians in the US receive that members of other faiths (or non-religious people) do not.


Some examples are below:

  • You can expect to have time off work to celebrate religious holidays.
  • Holidays celebrating your faith are so widely supported you can often forget they are limited to your faith (e.g. wish someone a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Easter” without considering their faith).
  • You can worship freely, without fear of violence or threats.
  • When swearing an oath, you will place your hand on a religious scripture pertaining to your faith.
  • Politicians can make decisions citing your faith without being labeled as heretics or extremists.

(Source: Simmons Anti-Racism Research Guide)