--Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate in Physics
Let me start by defining a phobia as an irrational or unjustified fear. Let me follow by declaring there is no such thing as Islamophobia.
In the late 80's, Sir Salman Rushdie wrote a book of fiction called "The Satanic Verses." In the Muslim faith the satanic verses refer to passages in scripture which are deemed to be incorrect. Therefore, the prophet Muhammad is presumed to have been under a misapprehension cause by Satan when writing these passages. Rushdie's book was declared blasphemous and a violation of free speech by an Ayatollah (Muslim leader) in Iran and a Fatwa (death sentence by any Muslim so inclined) was ordered. Although Rushdie never was harmed, thanks to police protection, several people associated with the book's publishing (mostly translators) were attacked and some were killed.
To illustrate the impact this Fatwa has had, consider this endorsement made by Cat Stevens (now Yusef Islam), writer of the classic rock song "Peace Train:"
In August of 2004, Dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh directed a short film written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (a woman raised in Islamic Somalia) about abuse of women in Islam, called "Submission." In November of 2004, Van Gogh was stabbed to death mid-day in the middle of a street in Amsterdam. Ayaan, whose life was threatened in a letter stuck with a knife on Van Gogh's body, has been in hiding ever since.
Tell me if you think this admittedly provocative exposé calls for vigilante murder?
In 2005, a Danish newspaper published a dozen cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammad. This "blasphemy" was so egregious for the devout that after the initial protests and political bullying by Muslim leaders in Denmark were ignored, months of civil unrest escalated to fire-bombings at Danish embassies in various countries and hundreds of deaths.
All the while, in America--the birth place of free speech--publications showing these cartoons were pulled from the shelves of bookstores and the satirical American cartoon "South Park" had their first ever banned episode (episodes 200, 201; I am told these are available on DVD with Mohammad replaced by a teddy bear; also, the Scientology episode was reinstated after being briefly pulled for legal reasons, so it doesn't really count as "banned").
As I have shown, Muslims have done everything they can to make us fear them. In fact, I'm fairly certain a quick google search will show that many Muslim leaders have said this outright. They don't hate western culture because we are in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nor do they hate us for supporting Israel. They hate us because they view free speech and free expression as threats to their religion and world view. It is just a matter of time until one of these hate-filled Muslim leaders succeeds in acquiring an atomic weapon, as promised.
There is nothing paranoid or irrational about fearing someone who has attacked and has promised to attack again with exponential force. "Islamophobia" is a meaningless word made-up by moderates who are too fearful to expose the real problem. Islamofascism is, however, a real word suggesting a real, demonstrable threat. Again, Christopher Hitchens puts it best: