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Total number of comments: 3 (since 2013-11-28 16:53:33)

EmmaZunz

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  • Schama: Islamophobia Recalls anti-Catholic, Anti-Jewish Nativism of America's Past
  • Wertheim: Modern-day Racism: A Mixture That Calls for Some Clarification
    • Actually, British anti-Catholicism circa 17-19th century might be the closest analogue:

      a religion associated with a domestic minority,

      with foreign countries (Ireland, France),

      with autocratic dictatorships (France, Spain),

      with terrorist plots (Guy Fawkes),

      with war (Spanish Armada, Louis XIV),

      with transnational loyalty (Pope),

      even with the fear and suspicion that the King is one of them! (Charles I & II, James II)

      and with public riots against church buildings (certainly in London).

    • Thank you for this interesting essay.

      I think your categories may be valid, but they are not exhaustive.

      It seems to me there is at least one further category, one that is not exclusively connected with race but which could be: the association of a domestic minority with a foreign regime, movement, ideology, or other transnational loyalty perceived as threatening, leading to a "scare".

      For me, the current Islamophobia looks a bit like a Red Scare or the "Loyalist" panic in the UK in the 1790's (where revolutionary feeling became associated with loyalty to France, once it came to war).

      People are associating Muslims with a transnational Islamist agenda, which is why they are posing questions like "Is Hamas a terrorist group" as shibboleths. I suppose 9/11 is the ultimate expression of a revolutionary Islamist ideology and movement, against which the US is fighting wars, and the Cordoba House is perceived as failing to respect the meaning of Ground Zero. Obviously, for rational people, there is no reason at all not to build a mosque near GZ. But war has made people's thinking black and white, with-us-or-against-us. Islam is probably permanently discredited in huge swathes of the US now, and failure to respect the shibboleths and to be totally at one with the War on Terror, and to share in the mass mood, means Muslims are perceived as joining the other side.

      So you have Muslims in the US perceived as radical (probably the average US Muslim's views on foreign policy really are liberal or radical, compared with the overall average) and transnational, during a time of wars fought against other Muslims and against movements that claim Islam as their inspiration. It's a recipe, not for racism as such, but for a "scare" directed at a religious minority, which is often de facto a racial or ethnic minority.

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