Just read this post from Ophelia Bensen "there are other critics of the word islamophobia" and it prompted me to follow it up with some personal reflection and reiteration of the message therein.
Firstly I'd point out it is my position that those who declare all who critique Islam with a blanket accusation of "Islamophobia" are themselves phobic of criticism and guilty of a declaration of false racism, diminishing the suffering of those experiencing very real racism.
What is a declaration of false racism?
I recount the following experience as one example. Others will possibly have had more significant reportages than my slightly banal event but it illustrates my point never-the-less and it is my experience to recount.
When driving some years back my partner and I were very lucky not to be shunted into a rail-hoarding at a level crossing by the erratic overtaking of another driver. Unfortunately a little further ahead this mad man did smash into another car which was making a legal turn. We stopped to offer our assistance as witnesses and to make sure no one was hurt.
The erratic driver launched on a short tirade accusing us of being "friends, you are his relatives" of the driver he'd smashed into. He was of course referring to our race as we and the other driver must have all "looked" to be from the same race perhaps. My partner is from Greek and I from Anglo-Germanic heritage, the other innocent driver perhaps anglo? We didn't know the nationality of the erratic driver before or even following stopping, he could have been Chinese, it wasn't the issue. He drove like a maniac and caused an accident and damage. The other driver deserved witness support and we were in the position to offer it. We reiterated he'd nearly driven us into a rail-hoading and he was clearly in the wrong with the subsequent accident. Though this was obvious he was adamant he was being targeted by a racist agenda. Though he could have encountered much real racism prior our encounter, on this occasion his was a declaration of false racism.
When is racism, real racism?
Though born in Australia my partner has suffered direct racism most of his life. At school he was astonishingly informed by the then Principle that "his kind deserve what they get" when bullied by older boys for being "a wog". The experience of being treated as an inferior would emerge later at work, occur socially (then and still now!) and from strangers in the street "go home wog" as the most popular of the "enlightened" racist directives.
Real racism by example is therefore to be called or treated as a "wog", a term which, in Australia, is intended as a derogatory reference (there is some claim this is largely defused now and intended as a term of endearment between buddies - I'd like to see the survey data backing this claim up). If it is yelled out in the street by a stranger, or used in an argument to put down the opposition by declaring their inferiority based upon their race and origin, what does it mean then..."buddy"? Second and third generation migrants still suffer gibes and outright hate in public or private from other second and third generation migrants, as they presumably are from better European origins? Ultimately anyone not Aboriginal is a new-comer or born from migrant stock but how long before an Australian is an Australian? This is without covering, though not with the intention to ignore, the racism and abuse suffered by Australia's first nation peoples, Aborigines.
Australia at a basic level struggles to acknowledge that racism remains as a distinct under current within its "nationalist" character. It is more than unacceptable to be yelled at to "go home wog" at all let alone on a street in your country of birth, though this happens still and it means this country has a long way to go.
All things considered though does this mean due to the obvious sensitivities surrounding certain sections of the community I cannot robustly critique German, English, Greek, Italian, Aboriginal or Chinese, etc., on grounds of politics, religion or social/cultural/political concerns where warranted, because it would be "racist" for me to do so?
One of the problems for anyone daring to be a critic of Islam is they are lumped in amongst those declaring unveiled intolerance and ignorance. Critics of Islam are very successfully dismissed as being "racist" because this message, though frequently intelligently challenged, this isn't as successful a message as the accusation of racism.
A primarily leftist social and political position supports and perpetuates the myth that the critic and the comment is "racist" first and due to a racism born of the critics' fear of Islam. Though effective, because no one wants to be considered "racist" or "islamophobic", this is is just a blunt object not any sort of valid counter argument and is one used to chill speech and stifle real debate.