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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

What is Islamophobia?


On April 9, Loyola’s Office of International Programs hosted “Understanding Islamophobia,” lectured by Peter Hopkins, a professor of social geography and the dean of social justice at Newcastle University, United Kingdom. Hopkins earned his doctorate from the University of Edinburgh and his bachelor’s from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. He focuses on how racism, sexism, ageism, sizeism, and Islamophobia affect people’s everyday lives.

André Colombat, dean of international programs, introduced Hopkins. Colombat is “very grateful for tonight that Professor Hopkins was able to visit us and share some of his research and thoughts on Islamophobia with us.”

Islamophobia, according to the Runnymede Trust, is “unfavored hostility towards (sic) Islam.  Refers to practical consequences of such hostility and unfair discrimination against Muslim individuals and communities and to the exclusion of Muslims from mainstream politics and social affairs.”

Hopkins stressed some challenges of Islamophobia. “It prevents legitimate criticisms of Islam and Muslim. It is a phobia of Islam and not Muslims. Some would argue that this is not a valid concept because there is no universal definition, and it cannot be a phobia because one cannot fear a set of beliefs or value system.”

To fight against Islamophobia, Hopkins informed us that “we can call it out and report it, develop resistance strategies, or challenge the media and groups spreading these exaggerated views against Islam and Muslims. We can improve public standing through educating others or engaging in politics.”

Grace Garrett ‘21 said, “Though Dr. Hopkins brought up some really valid points when talking about Islamophobia, there is such a huge debate over the term itself, and he clarified the meaning really well. Hearing him talk put a lot of things into perspective for me, and I realized how much of a problem Islamophobia is and how prominent it is.”

Loyola students can learn more about Islam by taking classes on these subjects that are offered by the university. Some examples are HS107D Making of the Modern World: Middle East, HS397 Women in the Middle East, PS304 Politics of the Middle East, and SC376 Israel-Palestine: Con, Med, Peace.

Additionally, the Arabyola Club and Middle East Relief Initiative are clubs on campus that help to raise awareness about the culture and issues in the Middle East.

To learn more about the classes at Loyola, check out Loyola’s class catalogue.

To find more information about Arabyola, check out their website. To learn more about the Middle East Relief Initiative Club, check out their Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

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What is Islamophobia?