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When we think of the word “Islamophobia,” we mostly just think about the more obvious acts of Islamophobia. When someone yells at a Muslim to “go home,” or they call them an offensive name, it is, without a question, an act of Islamophobia. But what about the more subtle forms? Or, what about the philosophies that at first look, do not appear to have anything at all to do with Islamophobia, but are, in fact, deeply rooted in it? Discrimination and bigotry are not always easily recognizable, yet they remain just as damaging all the same.

I have recently come to learn that there are certain parts of the world that, although Muslims may be in the majority, Islamophobia still exists in those regions. And, surprisingly, it is rampant and widespread. One has to wonder why would a person willingly move to a part of the world which is full of the very people that they hate. Wouldn’t they rather stay away from said people, especially given the fact that people are always chanting for them to “go home?” Why go to their “home,” effectively following them after expelling them?

The form of Islamophobia being expressed by these individuals is not a blatantly obvious one (because most of them reside in countries in which Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiments have been deemed illegal, and is grounds for deportation). Rather than outwardly attack Muslims (they still come dangerously close, though, in my opinion), they play the “victim” card, talking about how they are constantly discriminated against, made to work in inhumane conditions, simply for not being Muslim. They compare their “oppression” to assumed “freedoms” that the Muslims are, in their opinion, unfairly enjoying at great cost to the non-Muslims.

When asked to please respect local religion and culture, they go into an uproar, citing it as yet another example of an oppressive Muslim country, full of hypocrisy, and wrongfully targeting specific genders and groups. The recent campaign to educate non-Muslims about proper dress codes in the UAE and Qatar sent many non-Muslim expats into a frenzy, crying foul, and summoning every possible term they could think of, in an attempt to conjure up images of yet more oppression being imposed upon them.

An attack on Islam has been made by many, as their way of somehow demonizing the religion. I have read comments on news articles and forums that spoke of FGM (female genital mutilation), oppression of women, rape, murder, corruption, etc. Serious issues all of them, but none of them have even the slightest to do with dressing modestly while in a Muslim country. In fact, none of the issues that they raise have anything to do with Islam (FGM and oppression have no basis in the religion, and the other issues can be found in every single society in the world). In short, they are doing nothing more than trying to feed the fire of hatred. Just so they can wear halter tops and “daisy dukes” (ridiculously short shorts) to the grocery store.

So, while they may not be walking up to a Muslim woman and spitting in her face (in some countries, that would land them in jail, so I am sure that’s the only thing that keeps them from doing it), at the same time, they sit online, logging into news sites and social forums with servers that sit in the US, UK, Canada, anywhere but their country of residence, and voice their Islamophobic concerns. And they think that we Muslims are too dumb to notice.