Definition of Islamophobia

This definition is intended to be a resource to aid in learning and understanding. It is not a policy definition. For policy definitions, please visit the Policies, Procedures, and Practices section of the website.

Working definition of Islamophobia

The United Nations has adopted the following working definition of Islamophobia, which was presented at the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in November 2020:

Islamophobia is a fear, prejudice and hatred of Muslims that leads to provocation, hostility, and intolerance by means of threatening, harassment, abuse, incitement, and intimidation of Muslims and non-Muslims, both in the online and offline world. Motivated by institutional, ideological, political, and religious hostility that transcends into structural and cultural racism, it targets the symbols and markers of being a Muslim.

The United Nations has designated March 15 of each year as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia and has called for “a global dialogue on the promotion of a culture of tolerance and peace, based on respect for human rights and for the diversity of religions and belief.”

The e-book, “Guidelines for Educators on Countering Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims: Addressing Islamophobia through Education,” is available as a free download from UNESCO.