“Islamophobia” is a widely used yet vague and controversial term referring to anti-Muslim bigotry. In recent years, identifying, monitoring, reporting on, and working to ban Islamophobia worldwide has been a major focus of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The OIC is an international body of 56 member states that is based in Saudi Arabia and active within the United Nations. While the United States has formally recognized its work in the past—US ambassadors have observed its sessions and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton co-chaired some of its meetings—American awareness of the organization remains scant.
In 2007, the OIC began issuing regular “observatory” reports on Islamophobia, and since 2009 has published monthly bulletins that cite primarily Western examples of Islamophobia.
Is Islamophobia a serious problem, or is the term itself an ideological cudgel designed to incite fear and criminalize dissent? On January 17, 2014, Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom welcomed Dr. Mark Durie for a discussion of these and other basic questions related to the OIC’s efforts to ban Islamophobia.
Mark Durie is an Anglican pastor, theologian, author, and human rights activist. He is a fellow of the Australian Academy for the Humanities, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum, a Research Fellow at Melbourne School of Theology’s Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths, and Director of the Institute for Spiritual Awareness.