Phobias, “Islamophobia” and the suffix “-phobia”

It should be made explicit fully that there are words bearing the subject suffix that had and have accepted currency. I believe that a treatment of the subject suffix and term phobia is helpful, but that it is only preface to a beginning of an understanding of what is represented by “islamophobia”.

Omitting Freud, defining phobia as, “an irrational and excessive fear of an object or situation”, and taking arachnephobia (or arachnophobia) as an example, when the fear of black widow spiders is excessive then it rises to the level of neurosis or an anxiety-disorder–a phobia. Notice that I have not made reference to “irrational”: The statement, “…fearing a dangerous black widow spider is not irrational”, is not correct. (I read that here.)

If I have a fear that I will meet a black widow spider when on 100th floor of a building, then is my fear rational? If I do not know their habitat—the black widows’ natural environment—does this ignorance make my fear less irrational?

Let me get to my proposition: A focus on the misapplication of “-phobia” within the term “islamophobia” does not address the problem. The English language is over-full with such errors. For example, the abject bastardization of and poisonous misunderstand caused by applying the terms “evolve” and “evolution” outside biology.

Those of us who are fighting the concept-as-slur known by the name “islamophobia” face several problems. One such problem resides within ourselves: When we don’t begin with the definition being employed by the wielders of the term, we risk spinning our wheels like a squirrel in a circular cage.

Therefore, we must determine the definition being employed and ignore the term designated as it’s representation.

After we remove this problem within ourselves, we then take the next step and ask: What specifics within the charge being asserted are correct? Some of your heads may have exploded at that question. If someone calls me a thief and a liar, then I might react with a defense of myself. This is putting the cart before the horse when I don’t first ask myself whether the charge is correct. I don’t want to get too far ahead.

What is the definition of the term “islamophobia” being employed? If I assume that there is one definition for all individual usage, then am I making a very bold, possibly reckless, assumption? Perhaps, not. The uncertainty is removed after completing this first task of defining the respective meanings being used and represented by the term.

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