Islamophobia is a word that is prac tic ally ubiquit ous in today’s discourse on Islam. The situation of Muslim minor it ies in the West is frequently framed both by academ ics and by pundits in terms of the ‘need’ to combat the ‘evils’ of Islamophobia. The United Nations has organ ized seminars on ‘Confronting Islamophobia: Education for Tolerance and Understanding’,1 and such websites as Islamophobia Watch were created to denounce ‘opinion columns and news items that we believe advoc ate Islamophobia and those writers and organ iz a tions taking a stand against Islamophobia’.2 The Vienna-based European Union agency European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC-since March 2007 it became the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights-FRA), with a specific focus on Europe, released a much-publi cized, cross-national report on ‘discrim in a tion and mani fest a tions of Islamophobia’ since 2001.3

Yet the wide spread mention of Islamophobia is a recent devel op ment. The 1997 document that offi cially estab lished the EUMC includes no refer ence to Islamophobia, but rather specifies the ‘phenom ena of racism, xeno pho bia and anti-Semitism’.4 Literature on the European extreme right has mirrored the increas ing ubiquit ous ness of the term Islamophobia in the public sphere. Though there is an ongoing debate on the defin i tion of ‘extreme right’ and its short com ings,5 the consensus has been to ascribe the label to highly nation al ist, antisystem, and exclu sion ary (often racist) parties. In this light, Jean-Yves Camus, for example, has pointed out the emer gence in the extreme right imagin a tion of Islam as the ‘new enemy’,6 and has noted that ‘racist rhet oric today [has] an undeni able Islamophobic dimen sion’.7 In academia, however, Islamophobia was not until recently seen as a basic feature of the extreme right’s ideo lo gical and value system. The term itself was absent in early liter at ure. It is true that Islam has been a target of some extreme-right parties for a consid er able time. For instance, Identité, a Front National (National Front) magazine, dedic ated a 1990 issue to the ‘awaken ing’ of Islam, and stressed both its ‘incom pat ib il ity’ with European culture and that it consti tuted once again in history ‘a danger for Europe’.8 The schol arly tend ency, however, has been to consider ‘Islamophobia’ as primar ily a dimen sion of xeno pho bia,9 and ‘antiMuslim’ narrat ives as part of a broader anti-immig ra tion outlook of extreme-right parties,10 or as a consequence of aggress ive foreign policy visions in post-commun ist Russia.11