What is the significance of islamophobia in urban geography

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Societies are built on the principle of social integration. As a result of this, it is common to find people of different demographic backgrounds living within the same community or human geography. This has been the practice for a very long time. However, society and communities to be specific are dynamic in nature, meaning they change with time. With the urban geography to be specific, it has over the years experienced some forms of changes, which include the fact that people become more connected to others than others. This has resulted in Islamophobia. Islamophobia is said to exist when there is a strong or intense hatred, fear or dislike for Islam as a religion (Jonas et al., 2015). Islamophobia normally takes a socio-political perspective within the urban human geography. In this paper, some of the core effects or significance of the practice are discussed.

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Imagined community and its effect

One of the core concepts that Jonas et al. (2015) touched on was imagined community. According to them, “imagined community is that sense of belonging to a particular place, religion, or country, which people often share in common despite having met each other in person” (p. 262). In a typical urban geography, the concept of imagined community goes a long way to create a form of smaller community within a bigger one. However, this smaller community comes with its own effects and significance on the way people conduct themselves, which is generally negative. Using the instance of Islamophobia, it would be noted that once people have a perceived dislike for Islam and form an imagined community that excludes Muslims, they tend to see such Muslims as enemies. Meanwhile in a typical urban geography, it is important that the principles of democracy and rule of law are made to prevail (Hopkins, 2004). With an imagined community that tends to exclude Muslim, it could go a very long way to defeat the ideals of democracy and rule of law, which seeks to foster inclusiveness in the national developmental agenda. For example when leaders who are Islamophobia take office, they could sideline Muslims just with the reason that they do not belong to the imagined community that they form. This situation however fits into the context of genocide if the neglect goes a long way to negatively impact on the wellbeing of the Muslims.

Hate crimes associated with Islamophobia

Both Jonas et al. (2015) and Hopkins (2004) touch on the concept of hate crime, which have a direct significance on Islamophobia. There is hate crime with crimes that are motivated by race, sex, religion or other forms of prejudice are conducted. In the research by Hopkins (2004), respondents who were in the age group of 16 to 25 clearly admitted to the fact that they experience discrimination and other forms of social rejection from other people who are Islamophobia. The situation actually worsened with the September 11th 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York. Regrettably, when people have such ideas of social discrimination and acts of unfairness against them, it could result in a two-way negative impact of action and reaction. That is, the dislike for Muslims due to their perceived violent nature could actually cause other people to be violent against them. Such actions however among to hate crime (Hopkins, 2004). Once the Muslims also feel attacked or unsafe within the neighborhood, they could also be forced to retaliate by returning acts of crime perceived to be committed against them. Indeed there are several stories of extremist attacks which occur with report from terrorists groups assigning their reasons as retaliation for certain acts they perceive to have suffered unfairly. Meanwhile, hate crimes negatively affect the security and safety of the urban geography. For this reason, it will be said that Islamophobia is significant in urban geography in affecting its state of security.

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Impact on social justice

Another concept that Jonas et al. (2015) raised was social justice. That is, the level of justice experienced with the distribution of wealth and opportunities of people within a society or urban geography. Jonas et al. (2015) advocated that in a typical community, it is important that equal levels of opportunities will be created for all people to create wealth and other forms of privileges for themselves. In a typical urban geography, ensuring social justice goes a long way to ensure there is just sustainability among all people in the community. Once this happens, there can be peace, harmony and togetherness. Unfortunately, Islamophobia has negative impact on the preservation of social justice. In simple terms, Islamophobia goes a long way to promote social injustice against Islamic communities, whereby there is uneven or unequal distribution of social amenities and other facilities that make the lives of people easier. The situation becomes more serious in instances where there are leaders who also have Islamophobia mentality. That is, such leaders perceive that helping Islamic communities to develop will be used as an avenue for them to become very powerful in carrying out their social schemes and actions, most of which are perceived to be negative. With this indication also, it can be expected that if Islam as a religion can be repackaged in a way which isolates itself from violence and crime committed by extremist groups, then a better social identity can be created for its within the urban geography.


The paper has clearly established that Islamophobia cannot be considered as a good development within the modern urban human geography. This is because the practice is contrary to the core principle of social integration, based on which communities were built before. Today, people are becoming more and more selective about who they feel comfortable to live with and conduct business with. This is having several long term and short term effects, some of which include serious situations such as imagined community, hate crimes and several negative impacts on the environmental and social justice. It will therefore be concluded that it is important that stakeholders and policy makers come together to be conscious of the need of ensuring better harmony among people of different religions. While doing this, the individual religions must also position themselves in ways that they can be considered as safe and trustworthy to live with.

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  1. Hopkins, P. E. (2004). Young Muslim men in Scotland: Inclusion and exclusion. Children’s Geographies, 2(2), 257-272
  2. Jonas, E. G. A. (2015). Urban Geography: A Critical Introduction. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.
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