Fig. 1. Estimated unconstrained structural equation model. Coefficients displayed in the following order: German-Turks/French-Maghrebis/British-Pakistanis; †p < .055, *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.
The mysterious diagram above is not something I made up. It is not a product of the fetid fervor of my imagination. It is in fact part of the latest research in one of the most cutting-edge disciplines in the Social Sciences: the study of Perceived Islamophobia.
Not surprisingly, this new field was incubated in the intellectual hatcheries of the Norwegian fjords. The authors of this paper on Perceived Islamophobia are Jonas R. Kunsta, of the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, and David L. Samb and Pål Ulleberga of the Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen.
Islamophobia is possibly the single most pressing problem facing the world today, so these scientists’ research is timely indeed. It will supply a solid base of empirical data to help guide policy planners and lawmakers throughout the nations of the West. I’m certain that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu will be among the first to express their gratitude to these three esteemed scholars, whose efforts lay the groundwork for new national anti-defamation laws, as required by the United Nations in its struggle to combat the defamation of religions.
Perceived islamophobia: Scale development and validation
by Jonas R. Kunsta, David L. Samb, and Pål Ulleberga
“Islamophobia” has been used as an umbrella term capturing different types of religious stigma towards Muslims. However, the operationalization of the term for research purposes varies greatly, where little attention heretofore has been paid on how islamophobia affects Muslim minorities’ lives.
Against this background, we aimed to develop and validate the Perceived Islamophobia Scale (PIS). In the first study (167 German-Arabs, 184 German-Turks and 205 British-Pakistanis), exploratory factor analyses of a preliminary item pool gave support of a three-factor scale in all samples. Subscales were computed for each factor (i.e., perceptions of a general fear of Islam and Muslims, fear of islamization, and islamophobia in the media), which were reliable across the samples.
In all samples, the PIS was positively related to psychological distress and in two samples this relation remained significant, after controlling for experiences of discrimination. In Study 2 (262 German-Turks, 277 French-Maghrebis and 249 British-Pakistanis), confirmatory factor analyses supported the structural equivalence of the scale's three-factor solution. The PIS was positively related to perceived stress and discrimination. Lastly, PIS predicted higher levels of religious and ethnic identification, controlling for discrimination.
The PIS seems to be a valid and reliable measure across different Muslim minority groups. The fact that perceptions of islamophobia in two samples negatively predicted psychological distress after controlling for experiences of discrimination, suggests that anti-discrimination laws may be insufficient in protecting Muslim minorities of the negative effects of stigma on psychological well-being.
- We develop and validate the Perceived Islamophobia Scale (PIS).
- The scale measures perceptions of societal islamophobia among Muslim minorities.
- Three subscales: general fear, fear of islamization and islamophobia in the media.
- PIS positively relates to psychological distress, stress and discrimination.
- PIS is positively related to Muslim participants’ ethnic and religious identities.
- The scale seems to be a reliable and valid measure across cultural groups.
- Psychological health
- Perceived islamophobia