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Anti-Oppression Guide: Anti-Islamomisia

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None of us can be silent. We can't be bystanders to bigotry. And together we've got to show that America truly protects all faiths. --President Barack Obama


What does Islamomisia look like?

Support Resources for Muslim Folks

Informational Resources for Allies

Wondering about the use of "Islamomisia" instead of "Islamophobia?" Check out information about the change HERE.

A note on the scope of this guide:

This guide is intended to provide general information about anti-oppression, diversity, and inclusion as well as information and resources for the social justice issues key to current dialogues within the Lesley Community. This guide is by no means an exhaustive list of anti-oppressive initiatives nor does it capture all of the many facets of the larger conversations about the issues listed here. This guide serves as an introduction to these issues and as a starting place for finding information from a variety of sources.


Islamomisia (also called Islamophobia) is prejudice plus power; anyone with any religious beliefs can have/exhibit religion-based prejudice, but in North America (and throughout much of the western world), people who follow Christianity have the institutional power, therefore Islamomisia is a  systematized discrimination  or antagonism directed against Muslim people due to their religion, or perceived religious, national, or ethnic identity associated with Islam. Like anti-Semitism, Islamomisia describes mentalities and actions that demean an entire class of people

Criticism of Islam should not be automatically conflated with bigotry against Muslims. Islamomisia is not the rational, respectful interrogation and/or criticism of Islam based on factual evidence, just as criticism of the tenets of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other religions does not necessarily indicate bigotry or prejudice. Islamomisia is the irrational fear of, discrimination against, and antagonism toward Muslims simply for being Muslims.

Further information

 Islamophobia: The Right Word for a Real Problem

Anti-Islamomisia is strategies, theories, actions, and practices that challenge and counter Islamomisia, inequalities, prejudices, and discrimination based on religion, religious or ethical beliefs, and/or perceived religious, national, or ethnic identity.

What does Islamomisia look like?

Islamomisic Microaggressions are  commonplace verbal or behavioral indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults in relation to the beliefs and religious practices of Muslims. They are structurally based and invoke oppressive systems of religious/Chrisitian hierarchy. Islamomisic Microinvalidations, Microinsulsts, Microassaults are specific types of microaggressions.

Note: The prefix "micro" is used because these are invocation of religious hierarchy at the individual level (person to person), whereas the "macro" level refers to aggression committed by structures as a whole (e.g. an organizational policy). "Micro" in no way minimalizes or otherwise evaluates the impact or seriousness of the aggressions.

Six Categories of Common Islamomisic Microaggressions (from Subtle and Overt Forms of Islamophobia: Microaggressions toward Muslim Americans):

  1. Endorsing Religious Stereotypes: statements or behaviors that communicate false, presumptuous, or incorrect perceptions of certain religious groups (e.g., stereotyping that a Muslim person is a terrorist or that a Jewish person is cheap)
  2. Exoticization: instances where people view other religions as trendy or foreign (e.g., an individual who dresses in a certain religion’s garb or garments for fashion or pleasure).
  3. Pathology of Different Religious Groups: Statements and behaviors in which individuals equate certain religious practices or traditions as being abnormal, sinful, or deviant (e.g., telling someone that they are in the “wrong” religion).
  4. Assumption of One's Own Religious Identity as the Norm: Comments or behaviors that convey people’s presumption that their religion is the standard and behaves accordingly (e.g., greeting someone with “Merry Christmas” conveys one's perception that everyone is Christian or similarly saying “God bless you” after someone sneezes conveys one’s perception that everyone believes in God).
  5. Assumption of Religious Homogeneity: Statements in which individuals assume that every believer of a religion practices the same customs or has the same beliefs as the entire group (e.g., assuming that all Muslim people wear head coverings).
  6. Denial of Religious Prejudice: Incidents in which individuals claim that they are not religiously biased, even if their words or behaviors may indicate otherwise.

'Muslim Dress' Prank Exposes US Racial Profiling

This video shows a policeman's very different reactions to two young men who argue first in English, then later in Arabic.

Muslim Woman Needs Help With Flat Tire | What Would You Do?

A Muslim woman needs help with her car. Will reactions differ if she wears a hijab or regular street clothes? 

Misconceptions about Islam (ISLAM IS NOT TERRORISM)

This video discusses how ISIS are NOT Muslims and how Islam is misunderstood for a religion that promotes terrorism and violence due to ISIS.

Race and the Meaning of Terror 

Fusion’s Nando Vila explains how Muslims who commit mass acts of violence are easily deemed terrorists, while white people who do the same thing are not.

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Support Resources for Muslim Folks

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Informational Resources for Allies

Religious/Christian Privilege

Comic about Christian Privilege

In the United States and many other Western nations, Christianity and its various denominations and religious practices hold institutional and cultural power. Christian privilege  is the unearned benefits that Christians in the US receive that members of other faiths (or non-religious people) do not. Some examples are below:

  • I can expect to have time off work to celebrate religious holidays.
  • Holidays celebrating my faith are so widely supported you can often forget they are limited to my faith (e.g. wish someone a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Easter” without considering their faith).
  • I can worship freely, without fear of violence or threats.
  • When swearing an oath, I will place my hand on a religious scripture pertaining to my faith.
  • Politicians can make decisions citing my faith without being labeled as heretics or extremists.

Religious/Christian Fragility

Religious or Christian fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of religious stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as tears, argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate Christian or dominant religious equilibrium. (adapted from "White Fragility)

Christianity's religious dominance in the U.S. allows most American Christians to live in social environments that insulate them from challenging encounters with beliefs or people who differ from themselves. Within this dominant social environment, Christians come to expect social comfort and a sense of belonging and superiority. When this comfort is disrupted, Christians are often at a loss because they have not had to build skills for constructive engagement with difference. They may become defensive, positioning themselves as victims of anti-Islamomisic work and co-opting the rhetoric of violence to describe their experiences of being challenged on religious privilege. (adapted from "Christian Fragility")

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Conversations About Anti-Islamomisia

Celebrating Muslim Folks

Image: Muslim hijabi woman popping her collar with mirror sunglasses and amazing eyebrows. Text reads "Forgot to be oppressed. Too busy being awesome."

The Nur 25 - Muslims That Are Breaking Barriers and Lighting Up the World

Blair Imani Opens Up About Being Queer, Black and Muslim

Muslim Slam Poet: ‘If You Need Me To Prove My Humanity, I’m Not The One Who’s Not Human’

Being Black and Muslim (video)

We're Muslim, Don't Panic (Video)

#CanYouHearUsNow? 8 famous speeches by Muslim women

The Struggles Of A Ramadan Fast (In A Non-Muslim Office) (Video)

Muslim Americans Are Tweeting Amazing Pictures Of Themselves

Representing the Muslim American Experience

Young Muslim American women try to succeed in politics in ways their fathers couldn’t

The Adventures of Hijabi Librarian

Muslims Win Eurovision, the London Mayoralty & the Great British Bake Off

9 Famous Americans You Probably Didn't Know Were Muslim

Amazing People (Muslim Inventors and Scientists)

15 Important Muslim Women in History

I AM A MUSLIM - Amazing Contributions of Muslim Americans (Video)

Muslim inventions that shaped the modern world

8 Great Modern Innovations We Can Thank Muslims For

Challenging Islamomisia

Unboxing Islamophobia (video)

"Islamophobia": 2016 National Poetry Slam Finals

Muslim-American Women Are Using This Powerful Hashtag to Take a Stand Against Donald Trump

Harvard Launches Free Online Class To Promote Religious Literacy (from Council on American-Islamic Relations)

The Bridge Initiative

Why We Must Challenge Islamophobia In All Its Forms

Muslims Read Hate Comments (Video)

Colleges Addressing Needs of Muslim Students

We're Muslim, Don't Panic (Website)

Trump "Tells it Like it is"

What do American Muslims think of the election and its presidential candidates?

Muslims are facing a civil rights crisis in America, and it’s the media’s fault

Islamophobia Today (eNewspaper)

'Islamophobia': U.S. cities face anti-Muslim backlash

Radiohead new song 'Burn the Witch' video animator confirms it is about Islamophobia and the refugee crisis


In an effort at full disclosure, it should be noted that the collaborators on this guide occupy some of the oppressed identities outlined here, but not all of them. We have attempted to bring together quality, relevant resources for the anti-oppression issues in this guide, but we are not immune from the limits and hidden biases of our own privileges and perspectives as allies.

We welcome and greatly appreciate any feedback and suggestions for the guide, particularly from the perspectives and experiences of the marginalized groups listed and not listed here.

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