‘Islamaphobia’- Are you afraid of Islam?

Dr. Melvin Leaman and

Dr. Melvin Leaman and Rugiatu Conteh

By: Ashley Reding

Lincoln University’s department of Philosophy and Religion hosted the forum titled, “Islam and ‘Islamaphobia’” this past Monday in Grim hall auditorium.

Melvin Leaman, a professor of the religion department introduced the guest speaker and students were looking forward to gaining a better understanding of the Islamic culture.

The forum featured Rugiatu Conteh, the Outreach and Communications Director of Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Not only were Islamic beliefs and practices up for discussion, but the term “Islamaphobia” was discussed as well.

Based on Conteh’s definition, ‘Islamaphobia’ is closed-minded prejudice against or hatred of Islam or Muslims.

“Islamaphobia is an outdated term,” said Conteh “using the term Anti-Muslim bigotry, arguing the fact that it’s more hatred towards the people rather than the religion.”

Conteh addressed the audience by asking them what exactly feeds into this hatred. The audience narrowed it down to three factors: terrorists, negative media, press coverage, and ignorance.

Conteh also addressed basic stereotypes within the Islamic or Muslim culture that are monolithic; seen as ‘other’, inferior, manipulative, devious and self righteous.  Conteh went on to say that such comments in today’s society are seen as natural and common.

“We hope that this forum will help people move towards a greater understanding and cooperation,” said Leaman.

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