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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Islamophobia is not a real word - at least not yet

Many Americans and especially Republicans are over reacting to an unrealistic fear of Muslims and people who practice the Islam faith. In fact a new phobia is being created in the lexicon of unjustified fears. Although the phobia being created isn't a real word, the widespread unfounded proliferation of Islamic religious fear will probably become a "real word". "Islamophobia" will undoubtedly become a new word used to scapegoat anyone who's from the Middle East. Of course, that's the danger of inventing words. In the absence of a proper definition, the new words or "neologisms" take on meanings all their own without regard for a confirmed definition. (A definition of neologisms is at the link.)
Unfortunately, Islamophobia will likely be a new entry in the American dictionary soon.

Wikepedia describes Islamophobia, in the absence of a definition. The term entered into common English usage in 1997, with the publication of a report by the Runnymede Trust condemning negative emotions such as fear, hatred, and dread directed at Islam or Muslims. While the term is now widely used, both the term itself and the underlying concept of Islamophobia have been heavily criticized.

The causes and characteristics of Islamophobia are still debated. Some scholars say it's a type of racism. Some commentators have posited an increase in Islamophobia resulting from the September 11 attacks on the US, while others have associated it with the increased presence of Muslims in the United States, the European Union and other secular nations


Since the 9/11 attacks, Arab Americans have evolved from an invisible group in the United States into a highly visible community that directly or indirectly has an effect on the United States' culture wars, foreign policy, presidential elections and legislative tradition.

Speaker of the US House Paul Ryan, a "newby" Repubican Congressiional leader, announced that it's his personal responsibility to protect American security by preventing Syrians and Iraqi refugees from entering the US  without extraordinary vetting.  In so doing, and by backing up his unfounded fear mongering with heretofore unheard of rapid legislation, Speaker Ryan,, who is a Roman Catholic, has expanded the ambiguous definition of "Islamophobia' to include Syrians and Iraqi refugees. 

It's exceedingly odd that Republican leadership in the US House can't budge on legislation to tighten up gun safety regulations, but somehow leap to rescue Americans who may be threatened by Syrians and Iraqi refugees who, by and large, aren't even among us.   
Here are the facts:  In 2014, there were 12, 569 people in the US who died of gun violence.  I couldn't find even one person who died in the US as a result of Syrian violence. If someone died as a result of a Syrian attack in the US, then I'd appreciate hearing about it.  Nonetheless, Republicans would certainly have cause to worry if twelve thousand five hundred and sixty nine people had died as a result of Syrian refugees being in the US.  Obviously, Repubicans don't care to  stop gun violence. Unfortunately, they have no problem creating unnfounded fear and Islamophobia about Syrians and Iraqi refugees.

In my opinion, Republicans are afraid of Muslim refugees because they don't want to increase the Democratic voting population in the US.  Gerrymandering has worked for Republicans, because they've figured out how to win elections by making sure voting districts favor their candidates.  Islamophobia is a neologism and a euphamism both at the same time.  What the fear really  means is "fear of Democratic voters".  Now you see how quickly neologisms can change forms, like mutating influenza viruses.  

Some etymologists (people who study word origins) may be unwilling to give Islamophobia a proper definition. No problem because, for the purposes of spreading unwarranted and unjustified fear of all immigrants who might eventually vote Democratic, I believe Republicans are satisfied with the neologism, just the way it is, even though, they know the word makes no sense. 

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