ThreadFreedom of speech debate heats up in France after death threats to 16-year-old girl who called Islam "religion of hate"
It's true that Islam isn't a race, but you can be racist against Muslims. And Islamophobia is often motivated by racism and xenophobia. I think people are confusing several different arguments here and talking past each other.
And yes, whilst some phrases that are dogwhistles can sometimes be used innocently, if you're aware that it is a dogwhistle, you should be conscious of that. There are much better and more effective ways to make your argument instead of digging your heels in.