The title of this article is not a question like the one asked by United States (US) President GW Bush in reference to the 9/11 perpetrators, instead it attempts to identify some of the causes of the anti-Muslim sentiment prevalent in American society in particular and the West at large. Interestingly, many writers from the academia-defense complex devoted their efforts to answer that question tendered by president Bush in a way that could help justify the future designs of neocons and liberal interventionists alike at Capitol Hill. The most ‘convincing’ response, among many, was persuasively put forward by Fareed Zakaria. It says, “they [Muslims] hate us because we [US] have a liberal democracy, capitalist economy, and human rights at home. They have taken up arms because they have failed to stay abreast with the forces of globalization and democracy; all because of their anti-modern and inherently violent religion, Islam”. The explanation sounds good to the vulnerable American ears – which have been exposed to propaganda for the last five decades — even though the statement is blatantly divorced from evidence.Empirical evidence from a 2015 poll shows 74 percent of Americans have never worked with a Muslim, and as many as 68 percent do not know any Muslim. Respondents have also been found to have unfavourable opinions about Muslims. This oblivious audience happens to be a perfect blank slate politically ambitious parties and groups write upon through media portrayals. To the degree that 71 percent of Americans vehemently opposed the construction of an interfaith dialogue centre in New York City because of a heated controversy created by the media using captivating worlds like “Ground Zero Mosque”. Islamophobia is another word that is synonymously used for this anti-Muslim sentiment by scholars. In the US, Islamophobia has taken the shape of a lucrative industry that yields dividends to people associated with ‘infotics’ [media-politics-nexus] and the academics defense complex [academia, research, and military industrial complex].Empirical evidence from a 2015 poll shows 74 percent of Americans have never worked with a Muslim, and as many as 68 percent do not know any MuslimThis anti-Muslim prejudice has two dimensions: strategic and populist. The strategic dimension is a recent development and Western in scope. It stemmed from the 1970s oil crisis that not only endangered European recovery from the ruin of World War II but also posed a threat to US efforts destined to deal inflation and the Nixon Shock that required no external challenge along with the Vietnam War. Secondly, Iran’s 1979 Revolution and the resultant hostage crisis which deprived the US of a key regional ally – Iran under the Shah, leaving vital US interests unprotected in the strategically located Persian Gulf. Thirdly, Islamist victory in Afghanistan and their cult in the energy-rich Central Asian Republics. Fourthly, the World Trade Centre bombing of 1993. Finally, the notorious 9/11 attacks that undermined US prestige and invincibility. These events met with an inflammatory strategic response from US hawks, who used these pretenses to stereotype Muslims and demonize Islam for political purposes. The populist aspect is based on the emotions and rhetoric of identity politics associated with Muslims in the US and Europe. It stems from the subjective interpretation of history and cultural incompatibility between two great religions, Islam and Christianity, reflected into the issues of secularism, the veil, economy, and immigration. Primarily because US society and the West at large. These issues manifested into three different debates.Firstly, Western individualist society accuses Islam of not being compatible with modern secular values like individual freedom of thought and expression and rather uses politics of piety with universal collectivism imposed under a central authority. Second, they [West], using the yardstick of the secular nation-state system, judge the Iranian revolution and the Taliban take over in Afghanistan as a return to theocracy – something the West abandoned in 1648 after a bloody protracted war. However, for Muslims, this is a return to the tradition of the Prophet (PBUH).Finally, Orientalist scholars like Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes, and Samuel Huntington use a one-dimensional literal interpretation that constitutes the indispensability of the enemy to go against. Having the luxury of semantics and self-serving generalisation, they foment a discourse of threats against the American and Western values posed by the enemy. Once it was Communism; now Islam and Muslims. There is literature which illustrates Islam as being equal to Hitler’s National Socialism in appeal and Stalinist in irreconcilability, creating a need to fight it with the force and rigor equal to what the US and NATO used during the Cold War.America was under the impression of the strategic dimension of Islamophobia during the Bush days; however, thanks to evangelical Christians’ support, Trump has succumbed to the temptations of the populist dimension of Islamophobia. His Muslim ban and hate against Iran are self-evident. Conducting ‘scientific’ research by cherry-picking unemployed criminal immigrants in Europe and lone wolves in the US are used to generalize Islam and Muslims. This creates further hate and exclusivism.Evidence shows increased interaction is the only way to end this bigotry on both sides. Having an inter-civilization dialogue will not help unless both have intra-civilizational dialogue, as beautifully put by a scholar, 9/11 terrorists did not hijack planes, rather they hijacked Islam. Similarly, Western audience is steered by Islamophobes – who amount to less than one percent of their population.PhD (IR) Candidate at National Defence University, Islamabad, Pakistan. Research Fellow at the University of Maryland, USAPublished in Daily Times, February 27th 2019.