What is Islamophobia? The Politics of Anti-Muslim Racism
For more on this topic, see Unpacking the Effects of Islamophobia
Culture Talk: Good Muslim, bad Muslim
Like many immigrants, we came to this country empty-handed. We believed in American democracy—that with hard work and the goodness of this country, we could share in and contribute to its blessings. We were blessed to raise our three sons in a nation where they were free to be themselves and follow their dreams.9
We looked around and we thought, we have been here for a while and we are very comfortable now. Our mosque is established, we are raising our children as Muslims and sending them to Muslim schools. We are a part of the mainstream. But we haven’t really done anything for the larger society. We are using the generosity of this country to make a good life for ourselves, but we need to do something to give back. I wanted us to be excellent citizens, not just good citizens.
Subjectification of the Muslim
...ideology ‘acts’ or ‘functions’ in such a way that it ‘recruits’ subjects among the individuals, or ‘transforms’ the individuals into subjects by that very precise operation which I have called interpellation or hailing, and which can be imagined along the lines of the most commonplace everyday police hailing: ‘Hey, you there!’... the hailed individual will turn round. By this mere one-hundred-and-eighty-degree physical conversion, he becomes a subject. Why? Because he has recognized that the hail was ‘really’ addressed to him, and that ‘it was really him who was hailed’ (and not someone else). Experience shows that the practical telecommunication of hailings is such that they hardly ever miss their man: verbal call or whistle, the one hailed always recognizes that it is really him who is being hailed. And yet it is a strange phenomenon, and one which cannot be explained solely by ‘guilt feelings,’ despite the large numbers who ‘have something on their consciences.’24
Look, a Negro!
I came into the world imbued with the will to find meaning in things, my spirit filled with the desire to attain to the source of the world and then I found that I was an object in the midst of objects.
Sealed into that crushing objecthood, I turned beseechingly to others. Their attention was a liberation, running over my body suddenly abraded with nonbeing...But just as I reached the other side, I stumbled and the movements, the attitudes, the glances from others fixed me there, in the sense in which a chemical solution is fixed by dye.25
Islamophobia and race
The Jews were the early ‘‘outsiders’’ of premodern Europe. In the Crusades Jews were as fiercely assaulted as Muslims and a series of expulsions drove the survivors from most of the later imperial powers as they were consolidated as nation-states (in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries) and as imperial ambition dawned. The Inquisition founded in 1229, came by the sixteenth century to embody fairly racial anti-semitism with its renewal of persecutions against conversos or novos cristoes. Now it was no longer the Jew’s beliefs, but his or her essence, as depicted in the doctrine of limpieza de sangre, that was seen as unredeemable; thus even conversion was not acceptable: only expulsion or extirpation would generally suffice.34
2 Gunter, Booth and Ryan Lenz. “100 Days in Trump’s America.” Southern Poverty Law Center. https://www.splcenter.org/20170427/100-days-trumps-america. April 27, 2017.
4 Bush’s speech immediately following the attacks on September 11, 2001.
5 Obama’s speech in Cairo, 2009.
6 Mamdani, Mahmood. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror. New York: Three Leaves Press, 2004.
7 Alsultany, Evelyn. Arabs and Muslims in the Media After 9/11: Representational Strategies for a ‘Post-Race’ Era. American Quarterly, Volume 65, Number 1, March 2013, pp. 161-169.
8 One example is that of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali woman who left Islam after 9/11. Hirsi Ali wrote many books including Infidel: My Life, in which she argues that Islam is inherently incompatible with freedom and democracy. Hirsi Ali has been invited to speak on many mainstream media outlets, and her “insider status” as a Muslim woman lends credibility to her narrative that Islam is violent toward women. Hirsi Ali’s success points to the ways that corporate media has specifically used Muslim women to advance the image of the “good Muslim.”
11 Howell, Sally. “(Re) Bounding Islamic Charitable Giving in the Terror Decade.” UCLA Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law. Volume 10, No. 1. 2010-2011.
12 Mamdani, Mahmood. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror. New York: Three Leaves Press, 2004.
13 Lewis, Bernard. “The Roots of Muslim Rage.” The Atlantic. September 1990.
15 Huntington, Samuel. “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs. August 1993.
16 Lewis, Bernard. “The Roots of Muslim Rage.” The Atlantic. September 1990.
19 Volpp, Leti. “The Citizen and the Terrorist,” UCLA Law Review, Volume 49, 2002.
21 Huq, Aziz. “Concerns with Mitchell D. Silber & Arvin Bhatt, N.Y. Police Department, Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat (2007).” Brennan Center for Justice. https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/Justice/Aziz%20Memo%20NYPD.pdf
22 Said refers to Orientalism as a discourse. He writes, “ I have found it useful here to employ Foucault’s notion of a discourse, as described by him in The Archaeology of Knowledge and in Discipline and Punish, to identify Orientalism. My contention is that without examining Orientalism as a discourse one cannot possibly understand the enormously systematic discipline by which European culture was able to manage—and even produce—the Orient politically, sociologically, militarily, ideologically, scientifically, and imaginatively during the post-Enlightenment period.” (Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books, 1978.)
23 Volpp, Leti. “The Citizen and the Terrorist.” UCLA Law Review, Volume 49, 2002.
25 Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. London: Pluto, 2008. Print.
26 Volpp, Letti. “The Citizen and the Terrorist.” UCLA Law Review. Volume 49. 2002.
27 Patel, Faiza and Meghan Koushik. Countering Violent Extremism. Brennan Center for Justice. March 16, 2017. https://www.brennancenter.org/publication/countering-violent-extremism.
28 Naber, Nadine. “Look, Muhammad, the Terrorist is Coming!” Race and Arab Americans Before and After 9/11: from invisible citizens to visible subjects.” 2007.
30 Rana, Junaid. (2007). 'The Story of Islamophobia,' Souls, 9:2,148-161.
31 Asad, Talal. Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.) p. 53.
32 Rana, Junaid. (2007). 'The Story of Islamophobia,' Souls, 9:2,148-161.
34 Howard Winant. The World is a Ghetto, 41.
35 Rana, Junaid (2007). 'The Story of Islamophobia,' Souls, 9:2,148-161.
36 Jackson, Sherman. “Islam, Muslims, and the wages of racial agnosia in America.” Journal of Islamic Law and Culture, Vol. 13, No. 1. April 2011, 1-17.
37 Rosa, Margarita. Du’as of the Enslaved: The Malê Slave Rebellion in Bahía, Brazil. Yaqeen Institute. April 5, 2018. https://yaqeeninstitute.org/margarita-rosa/duas-of-the-enslaved-the-male-slave-rebellion-in-bahia-brazil/
38 Rana, Junaid. (2007). 'The Story of Islamophobia,' Souls, 9:2,148-161.