Islamophobia: with or without Islam?

Thomas K Sealy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
163 Downloads (Pure)


Islamophobia has been a controversial concept ever since it first gained popular currency. One of the main sticking points over the term is whether or not if refers to religion. For both detractors and advocates of the term alike, religion should be or is removed from the meaning of Islamophobia, which is conceived as a form of anti-Muslim racism. Islam, we might say, is thereby re-moved from Islamophobia. Yet, in doing so it falls short on two of its key objectives: identifying the particular forms of discrimination that Muslims face in society and subsequently providing a positive basis from which to address this discrimination. This article asks if we should put Islam back into Islamophobia and, if so, on what basis? Drawing on existing literature as well as a study of converts to Islam, it suggests that Islam as a religion is both an important feature of Islamophobia as well as central to the identities of many Muslims. It then suggests why and how we should think about including religion into the scope of thinking on Islamophobia and how it is addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number369
Number of pages13
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The interviews this article refers to are from fieldwork from a research project that was funded by the ESRC, grant number ES/J50015X/1

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Islamophobia
  • religious identity
  • religious hatred
  • ethno-religious
  • converts to Islam


Dive into the research topics of 'Islamophobia: with or without Islam?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this