Islamic Studies Islamophobia
Todd Green
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 October 2021
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0285


Islamophobia refers to the fear of and hostility toward Muslims and Islam that is driven by racism and that leads to exclusionary, discriminatory, and violent actions targeting Muslims and those perceived as Muslim. Although the word “Islamophobia” entered widespread public and political discourse only in the late 1990s, hostility toward Islam and Muslims in the West dates back to the Middle Ages. With the 9/11 attacks, “Islamophobia” became the primary designation for the prejudice experienced by Muslim minority populations in Western nations. The post-9/11 era witnessed the significant rise and expansion of the academic study of Islamophobia. Islamophobia studies is often conflated with Islamic studies, even though the former is focused not so much on the analysis of Islamic texts, traditions, histories, or rituals as it is on the religious, social, cultural, historical, and political factors that give rise to anti-Muslim racism and discrimination. This entry focuses primarily on academic studies of Islamophobia in North American and European contexts, though the last section bears witness to the growing attention scholars are paying to the global dimensions of Islamophobia.

General Overviews

Elahi and Khan 2017 explores the origins and main contours of modern Islamophobia in Britain, expanding on the original Runnymede Report from 1997 that introduced the term “Islamophobia” into widespread public and political discourse. Allen 2010, Bazian 2019, and Said 1978 address theories, concepts, and/or methodologies undergirding the academic study of Islamophobia. Cesari 2011, The Bridge Initiative, Green 2019, and Zempi and Awan 2019 offer broad introductions to and comparisons of Islamophobia in Europe and the United States. Beydoun 2018 introduces the legal and political dimensions of Islamophobia in America, while Bayrakli and Hafez 2015– and Taras 2012 focus on Islamophobia in diverse European contexts.

  • Allen, Chris. Islamophobia. London: Routledge, 2010.

    A theoretical introduction to the concept of Islamophobia, accompanied by a critique of the essentialized definition employed by the Runnymede Trust’s original 1997 report on Islamophobia.

  • Bayrakli, Enes, and Farid Hafez, eds. European Islamophobia Report. 2015–.

    An annual report published by the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) that tracks the state of anti-Muslim sentiment and discrimination in over thirty European countries.

  • Bazian, Hatem. “Islamophobia: An Introduction to the Academic Field, Methods, and Approaches.” In Islamophobia and Psychiatry. Edited by H. Steven Moffic, John Peteet, Ahmed Zakaria, and Rania Awaad, 19–31. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2019.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-00512-2_2

    Introduces the broader themes and methodologies found in the emerging academic field of Islamophobia studies.

  • Beydoun, Khaled A. American Islamophobia: Understanding the Roots and Rise of Fear. Oakland: University of California Press, 2018.

    DOI: 10.1525/9780520970007

    While the book struggles to acknowledge and engage with many of the seminal studies on the structural and systemic manifestations of Islamophobia, it nonetheless offers important perspectives on and analyses of the legal and political forces driving Islamophobia in the United States.

  • The Bridge Initiative.

    An online research project based at Georgetown University that offers educational resources, original research, and scholarly commentary on anti-Muslim bias and discrimination. Includes concise and accessible fact sheets on prominent anti-Muslim individuals and organizations in Europe and North America.

  • Cesari, Jocelyn. “Islamophobia in the West: A Comparison between Europe and the United States.” In Islamophobia: The Challenge of Pluralism in the 21st Century. Edited by John L. Esposito and Ibrahim Kalin, 21–43. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

    A concise essay that broadly compares the ways that Islamophobia manifests itself in Europe versus the United States, with a particular emphasis on the political, cultural, and religious challenges facing European Muslims.

  • Elahi, Farah, and Omar Khan, eds. Islamophobia: Still a Challenge for Us All. London: Runnymede, 2017.

    Updated study of Islamophobia in Britain by the Runnymede Trust, covering a wide range of topics including the impact of Islamophobia on British Muslims in relation to employment, hate crimes, counterterrorism, and health. The original 1997 study signaled the introduction of the term “Islamophobia” into the larger public and political discourse in Britain and eventually in other Western nations.

  • Green, Todd H. The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West. 2d ed. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2019.

    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctvcb5c4r

    Comprehensive survey of the historical roots and contemporary manifestations of Islamophobia in Europe and the United States. Offers introductions to many of the most common themes addressed in the study of Islamophobia. Helpful starting point for scholars and students new to the subject.

  • Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Vintage, 1978.

    Groundbreaking study that deconstructs Western assumptions and stereotypes about the “Orient” (the Middle East and North Africa). Maintains that Western discourse about Muslims and Arabs in the 19th and 20th centuries reflects colonial interests and power. Said’s book provides the theoretical and analytical framework for a large number of academic studies of Islamophobia.

  • Taras, Raymond. Xenophobia and Islamophobia in Europe. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012.

    A broad survey of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant attitudes in Western Europe, with in-depth case studies of France and Germany.

  • Zempi, Irene, and Imran Awan, eds. The Routledge International Handbook of Islamophobia. London: Routledge, 2019.

    A multidisciplinary collection of essays introducing various facets of Islamophobia. Focuses mostly on Europe and North America.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.