Islamophobia (or anti-Muslim sentiment) is the prejudice against, hatred towards, or fear of the religion of Islam or Muslims. 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 disputed.
The causes and characteristics of Islamophobia are still debated. Some scholars have defined it as a type of racism. Some commentators have posited an increase in Islamophobia resulting from the September 11 attacks, while others have associated it with the increased presence of Muslims in the United States, the European Union and other secular nations. Steven Salaita contends that indeed since 9/11, Arab Americans have evolved from what Nadine Naber described as 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.