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A Definition of Islamophobia in Etienne Dinet's The Pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allah Open Access

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Several sources date the first use of the term islamophobie, the original French version of 'Islamophobia' back to the early 20th century, when scholars Étienne Dinet and Sliman Ben Ibrahim used it in their book The Orient Seen From the Occident.Born in 1861, Étienne Nasreddine Dinet was a French painter who spent many years in Algeria and later converted to Islam. Dinet believed that, amity between Europe and Islam would guarantee peace in the world and committed great efforts to this cause. Shortly before his death in 1929, Dinet completed the Ḥajj, the Muslim pilgrimage, and counted his observations on the Muslim faith and Europe’s hostility towards the religion in a travelogue, The Pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allah. Dinet's book presented one of the first detailed depictions of the phenomenon of Islamophobia in history.Dinet's definition of Islamophobia is often dismissed from contemporary academic literature on the subject. This research project, however, argues that the painter's representation of Islamophobia presents many common themes with modern uses of the word.This thesis first positions Dinet's Ḥajj travelogue in relation with other European travelogues of the era. Then, Dinet's definition of Islamophobia and his depiction of European hostility towards Islam in his work The Pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allah are examined. Finally, Dinet's representation of Islamophobia is compared with modern uses of the term and contemporary understandings of the phenomenon.

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