Did the Muslim Brotherhood invent the term “Islamophobia”?

(Updated below)

Today in NRO Andrew McCarthy writes:

“Islamophobia” was coined by the Muslim Brotherhood and seamlessly adopted by its Western confederates.

One of the common means by which the anti-Muslim agitators like to undercut attempts to expose them is to pretend that the term “Islamophobia” was invented by nefarious Muslims. In so doing they hope to create the impression that the actual phenomenon is simply imaginary.

The term was used by the Runnymede Trust in the U.K. back in 1992, in a report entitled A Very Light Sleeper, which then led to a report, also by Runnymede, entitled, Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All, in 1997. Christopher Allen points out that it was used in the U.S. in Insight in 1991, but somewhat differently from the way the term is employed today.

The single piece of evidence that Islamophobes cite that “the Muslim Brotherhood” coined this term comes from the personal recollection of one Abdur Rahman Muhammad:

Muhammad said he was present when his then- allies, meeting at the offices of the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT) in Northern Virginia years ago, coined the term “Islamophobia.”

Muhammad said the Islamists decided to emulate the homosexual activists who used the term “homophobia” to silence critics. He said the group meeting at IIIT saw “Islamophobia” as a way to “beat up their critics.”

That quote comes from CT huckster Stephen Emerson‘s website. Let us assume that this account is completely true. Even on this man’s account, IIIT decided to make use of the term “Islamophobia”, like many have in the last decade. Note the absence of a date, or any kind of corroboration. Also note that IIIT is not the Muslim Brotherhood. And note that the term pre-dates 9/11 by almost ten years.

Claire Berlinski gave this myth some life in 2010, and bears some responsibility for it.

Of course, it is only one small detail in the overall paranoia-inducing fantasy that all (that is, every last one) of the mainstream American Muslim organizations are “fronts” for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Update (May 21):

Some have sent me notes indicating even earlier usage in English and also in other languages such as French (though I don’t see these as being exactly continuous with the use of the term these days). My point was not to determine the first usage of the term, but simply to point out how phony it is to pretend it was invented by “the Muslim Brotherhood”. I put the latter in scare quotes because as used by Islamophobes it’s not meant to be precise or to refer to some actually existing organization with a discernible structure. It is meant to sound ominous and scary.

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