THE EVOLUTION OF ISLAMOPHOBIA IN THE WEST: A CASE STUDY OF FRANCE
The pluralist Western societies are witnessing the rise of an exclusivist and polarizing idea – Islamophobia, which is ideologically driven and action-oriented. France is the epicentre of hate against Muslims because of its colonial history and the practice of peculiar secularism, Laicism. Drawing upon Social Constructivism, this paper examines the ideological, populist, and strategic roots of Islamophobia in the West and France in particular. This study identifies the role of language and socio-political frames-cum-rationale that the French leadership uses to construct Islam as a threat to the French Republic. In addition, it attempts to expose the selective representations of the Muslims that, in return, discursively construct the Muslims in France as unacceptable for the native people on French soil. Furthermore, this interpretative study reveals how the French elite uses generalizations to criminalize Islam and Muslim symbols like Hijab, Azan, and beard, which run contrary to their secular values. Finally, this study concludes that Islamophobia is a socially constructed reality that leads to its violent manifestation.