It is possible to go back to the time Islam emerged and spread when discussing the reasons for Islamophobia. Christianity suffered the most from Islam spreading swiftly, as it lost many of its believers to Islam. We can also see the rise of Islamophobia in the Christian world, gripping with the pains of the Medieval period, and feeling the pain of defeat after the Andalusian and Ottoman encounters and seeking the Crusade spirit. Yet, we would have to admit that the rage and resentment calmed down after the rise of modernism and capitalism, as the West started to prevail and defeat Muslims in war, science and technology. The West started to see Muslims as an easy to administer crowd, unaware of the riches and resources they owned, and not worth concern. They then even started to accept southeast Asian and African Muslims into Europe, in order to cover up their colonialist years and especially to use these people as cheap labor. Turkey, the extension of their worst nightmare, the Ottomans, was to be their ally to use as a shield against Communism, and which needed assistance for their unemployed masses.
Portraying Muslims and Islam as the enemy and lifting the scabs of the wounds in history to achieve this, and diverting the animosity and hate toward them, was basically discovered in post-modern times. Therefore, if we focus on these recent years, we can make more accurate judgments on the reasons of Islamophobia.
The end of the bipolar world with the collapse of the Berlin Wall and liberal democracy defeating socialism brought about new problems. How were the effects of the brutal Soviet Union, also known as the “Russian bear,” going to be eliminated? And how was the liberal democratic capitalist order going to substitute for Soviet domination? Despite everything, it was much easier to run a system in a bipolar world, as both sides had a pioneer to show their people. Threatening, blackmailing and generating politics based on fear, threatening the world with nuclear weapons, and then giving them hope with toning down politics, was child's play for them. But, after the removal of the bipolar system, how was the world system going to be managed? Who was to be the West's, including the Russian Federation's, mutual enemy? Who was the “other” going to be? The poorly renowned, “end of history” and “war of civilizations” theses emerged in this stage. The US-centered “empire” gained domination throughout the world; yet, it needed a double-ended conflict to ensure movement. The conflict that would provide movement would only be to resurrect the problems in history and act as if their inheritors were still at war with them.
Disregard the term “the war of civilizations,” the only opposition in a world in which modernism was dominant, that stood before development was Muslims... Although Modernism rummaged and changed everything in the Muslim world, it could not totally take the law into its own hands. Muslims always had something to say against or to add when Modernity brought about something new. The problems Hindus and Buddhists caused were nothing compared to that caused by Muslims for Modernism. Besides, there were many reasons for Hindu and Buddhists to see Muslims as the enemy too. The new conflict was fabricated between modernism and Muslims (or Islam.)
Capitalism, the economic infrastructure for Modernism, was based on unequal growth, and had contradictions within itself. As if the sins of colonialism were not enough, the 21st century saw two world wars, and despite its assertions it brought about the biggest massacres and losses in the history of humanity. Despite it being asserted that the Jewish-Christian traditions were very substantial in Western civilization, they turned against each other, thus, the Holocaust was put into action to purge Europe of Jews. The torment of the Holocaust brought about the black hole of modernism, the “Palestine issue” after World War II. By placing Islam and Muslims in the opposite pole and declaring them the enemy, they could cover their own mistakes and incite different Muslim groups to fight on their behalf in the lands inhabited by Muslims. Thus, in this way, they did not have to fight each other.
I am aware that I have attempted a collective analysis by using the term “the West.” Of course the West is not one piece. There are people who really defend the conscientious values that modern civilization has produced. They oppose this movement and do not approve of Muslims being labeled as the “other.” They, of course, are our friends. Yet, I will have to apologize, as I will continue to use the term “the West” in order to define the overall tendency. To be continued.