Kenan Malik has a post asking when does criticism of Islam becomes islamophobia?
Here’s my answer: Never.
And it’s really quite simple: there’s no such thing as Islamophobia. Yes, there are some Muslims that are persecuted because of their superstition, just as there are Christians being persecuted in Muslim countries, and as there’s an anti-atheist bias in public policy among almost every country. But we don’t go around yelling “Atheist-phobia” or “Christian-phobia”. It’s just bigotry and there’s no point in calling it Islamophobia. Zealotry is wrong, and using the term “Islamophobia” is to say Muslim victims are more important than Christian or Atheist or Buddhist victims. (And it goes without saying that Islam is not a race.)
This is a matter of principle. Thought crimes are wrong, period. And that’s exactly what “Islamophobia” is, a word coined to convict someone for what he thinks. It is a secular fatwa, and I find it terrifying that so-called freethinkers are so eager to use it or consider it as something else, other than a shortcut for censorship. When it comes to free speech, religions are fair game, blasphemy is fair game.
“Islamophobia” is an ad hominem fallacy – even worse, is a censorship attempt, is a cop-out.
On the other hand, a phobia is “an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation”. It looks to me, fearing Islam, Christianity or any other religion is neither illogical, nor exaggerated – irrational beliefs are harmful, religions are the root of almost all evil, so it’s quite rational and self-preserving to fear them.