Did the Muslims oppose Abu Lahab because he was a bigot? Did the Sahaba oppose Abu Jahl because he was Islamophobic?
There are many enemies of Islam today, people who want to erase Islam. They don’t advocate actually killing Muslims for being Muslim (though sometimes there is that subtext). They simply want to see Islam as a religion destroyed. Examples: Ayan Hirsi Ali, Sam Harris, Pamela Geller, Geert Wilders, and so many more.
Muslims should oppose them on the basis that they are enemies of Islam. But this is not a politically correct reason to oppose someone in this day and age. You can’t oppose or despise another person on the sole basis of that person attacking your beliefs. In a free and open society, we are told, we should respect people for questioning religion. We should even respect those who insult, defame, and lampoon religion because that is what “free speech” and “free thought” entails.
So Muslims, in their goodness, find other ways, politically correct ways to oppose these enemies. They call their enemies “bigots,” “racists,” and “islamophobes.” Those are the categories that provide normative traction in modern society and allow for mobilization. No one is opposed to fighting against bigotry and racism. So Muslims cast their enemies in that light. Which is fine as long as they recognize two things:
1. The real reason to oppose the modern enemies of Islam is that… they are enemies of Islam and hate Allah and His Messenger ﷺ. Don’t lose sight of that. Speaking about racism is at most a practical strategy given the current political and intellectual climate. But please please please don’t mistake that externality for the core of the matter because that will distort your perspective.
2. The accusation of racism can just as easily be made against Muslims themselves. If opposing a religion is bigotry and racism, Islam also opposes other religions. It is right there in the shahada! Our entire religion can be portrayed as dripping with discrimination and bigotry. And, of course, that is what is happening right before our eyes. So we should be careful using rope that one day will be used to hang us.