“Femen: are these naked breasts Islamophobic?“, an article published in the Weekly Mail & Guardian, focuses on the perception of some former members and other commentators that the supposedly “feminist” group Femen is Islamophobic. It is a response to criticism (by Femen enthusiasts such as Men for Femen and others), of the previous article, Femen: from enthusiasm to disenchantment, according to which the allegation of Islamophobia has no substance.
The current article makes use of the widely-accepted definition of Islamophobia developed by the British-based Runnymede Trust. Given the intensity of the discourse around Islam, this definition is likely to be challenged by some as would be any definition. However, those that do so should come up with an alternative definition that still enables one to make satisfactory distinctions between secular religion critique and ‘phobia’ or ‘prejudice’ .
Note: A non-English native reader told me that the phrase “one can argue about minor things here” created the impression that Femen’s Islamophobia is a minor matter. This phrase refers to the allocation of the Runnymede criteria to the different Islamophobic statements by Femen, and is the result of an unfortunate edit done by the newspaper. Femen’s Islamophobia is no minor matter and impacts directly on the well-being of Muslims living in the countries in which they operate.