I have no knowledge and, consequently, no opinion of the degree to which Islamophobia exists in Belgium or France. However, this article at CBS News, titled “What role does Islamophobia play in terror attacks?” really got my Irish up:
Days after the deadly Brussels attacks, which killed 32 people at the city’s airport and a metro station, right-wing demonstrators appeared at a memorial to denounce the country’s Muslim community. A week later, police had to intervene when similar right-wing protesters squared off against anti-racism demonstrators. The confrontations underscore an important, though perhaps uncomfortable, question: to what extent does Islamophobia contribute to the atmosphere of isolation that breeds violent radicals?
“When you have no life objectives, no long-term objectives, you try to find your quest for self elsewhere,” explains Tewfik Sahih, a lifelong resident of Schaerbeek, Brussels, the neighborhood in which the bombs used in the Paris and Brussels attacks were made. “Many people feel discriminated [against] here. Some citizens here don’t feel part of the national community.”
The reason is simple. Whatever happened in Brussels and Paris, Islamophobia didn’t produce the attacks in New York, Washington, Boston, or San Bernardino. Hesperophobia did. That’s from the Greek words hesperos, the West, and phobos, fear, therefore fear or hatred of the West. That has a simple solution. They should stay away from us; we should stay away from them. The Boston Marathon attack in particular had a clear moral: don’t admit Chechens to the United States. Nearly 10% of all of the Chechens in the United States have been either directly or indirectly implicated in the attacks. That’s just too big a risk. That’s not Islamophobia. It’s prudence. If Chechens die violent deaths or due to poverty or disease in their country it will be sad but at least they won’t have to put up with Westerners.
The statistics on hate crimes against Muslims in the United States make it pretty clear. Hate crimes against Muslims are marginal. The numbers are small. Hate crimes against Jews or Christians are much more common than hate crimes against Muslims. The number of hate crimes perpetrated against Jews dwarfs the number perpetrated against Muslims and yet for some reason Jews aren’t setting off bombs in train stations or shooting up Christmas parties.
IMO Islamophobia is primarily a fund-raising tool for haters of the West. They can point to the occasional incident perpetrated by a half-wit or psychotic and deduce from it some enormous conspiracy.