The aim of this paper is threefold. First, based on ongoing theoretical discussions on the dimensionality of Islamophobia, this study analyzes whether Islamophobia empirically constitutes a one-dimensional construct or rather a multidimensional construct consisting of anti-Muslim prejudice and anti-Islam sentiment. Second, the effects of symbolic, realistic, and terroristic (safety) threats on Islamophobia were analyzed concurrently. Finally, within the framework of the revised Integrated Threat Theory (Stephan & Renfro, 2002), and in order to test the mediating effect of threats, SDO is tested as an antecedent of perceived threat and Islamophobia. Respondents from Berlin (N = 355) participated in an online survey. The results indicate that Islamophobia empirically constitutes a two-dimensional phenomenon, consisting of anti-Muslim and anti-Islam sentiment. Whereas symbolic threat is related to both types of Islamophobia, realistic threat is associated only with anti-Muslim prejudice, and terroristic threat is associated only with anti-Islam sentiment. Finally, the results indicate that the relationship between SDO and both dimensions of Islamophobia is mediated by threats. Symbolic threats mediate the relationships between SDO and both dimensions of Islamophobia. Realistic threats mediate the relationship between SDO and anti-Muslim prejudice and terroristic threats between SDO and anti-Islam sentiment.
In response to critical stances voiced in regard to a comparative approach toward Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, the aim of this paper is to account for these critiques, and to statistically re-analyze the two phenomena in their structural and dispositional similarities and differences. First, an alternative perspective on Islamophobia is proposed, which differentiates between anti-Islam sentiment and anti-Muslim prejudices, and additionally includes anti-Muslim conspiracy beliefs as an integral component. Second, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic prejudices and conspiracy beliefs are then compared in their social psychological correlates. For this purpose, an online survey was conducted with young adults from Berlin (N=450). The results indicate similarities and differences in the underlying social psychological mechanisms of both phenomena. Both anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic prejudices are partially explained by a personal ideology of inequality, e.g., social dominance orientation, the belief-in-a-just-world ideology, and racism. However, regarding the conspiracy beliefs, conspiracy mentality (Bruder et al. 2013)—a psychological construct that measurs a general propensity towards conspiratorial thinking—better predicted anti-Semitic conspiracy beliefs than anti-Muslim conspiracy beliefs.
Despite any factual evidence for support, the idea of a secret "Islamization of Europe" is finding increasing support among different groups in Germany (Benz 2011; Shooman 2009; Shooman 2014). Anders Behring Breivik, who killed seventy-seven people on the 22 July 2011 massacre in Norway, was, beside other factors, motivated by the “belief in a Muslim conspiracy to take over Europe” (Fekete 2011).
The revised integrated threat theory (Stephan and Renfro 2002) is tested as a framework for analyzing Islamophobic conspiracy stereotypes (Kofta and Sedek 2005) in Germany. Threats (symbolic and realistic) were analyzed as mediators between different antecedents (in-group identification, ambiguity intolerance, clash of civilizations) and the dependent variable, conspiracy stereotypes. Respondents from Berlin (N = 355) participated in an online survey (Summer 2014). First, the findings indicate that higher education and political orientation towards the left are negatively related to conspiracy stereotypes and threats. Furthermore, the findings of the structural equation model indicate partial mediation via symbolic threats for clash-of-civilizations intergroup conflict and education on conspiracy stereotypes. Full mediation is reported for in-group identification and ambiguity intolerance via symbolic threats.
Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher University of Cambridge