July 24, 2023

Recent books on Islamophobia show that its effects are far-reaching: systemic Islamophobia continues to cast a long and dark shadow over the lives of Muslims across continents. Here is this month’s Book Bundle.

From the War on Terror to the far-right conspiracies, Islamophobia manifests in various forms. In today’s world, systemic Islamophobia continues to cast a long and dark shadow over the lives of Muslims across continents. Rooted in historical and contemporary contexts, this pervasive form of discrimination and prejudice has significant implications for individuals, communities, and societies at large.

Systemic Islamophobia operates within power structures, institutions, and cultural biases, perpetuating inequality, marginalization, and the violation of human rights. Implicitly and explicitly, Islamophobia is reinforced by various layers of society, including governments around the world.

While its manifestations may differ from one region to another, systemic Islamophobia shares commonalities across countries and societies. It operates as a product of historical legacies, geopolitical dynamics, cultural narratives, and power imbalances. It thrives in contexts where Muslims are viewed as the “Other,” perpetuating stereotypes, prejudices, and negative portrayals that undermine their rights, dignity, and societal inclusion.

The impact of systemic Islamophobia is far-reaching. Muslim individuals and communities face challenges in various domains of life, as the titles included in this Bundle will show. They experience heightened surveillance, racial profiling, and discriminatory legislation, hindering the realization of fundamental human rights and the pursuit of justice and equality. Furthermore, the interconnetedness of discrimination makes the issue even more pressing for all.

Recognizing and understanding systemic Islamophobia is essential for dismantling its deeply entrenched structures. It requires comprehensive analysis, dialogue, and collective action which this collection hopes to envoke.

The Rise of Islamophobia in the War on Terror Book cover

The Rise of Global Islamophobia in the War on Terror: Coloniality, Race, and Islam delves into the complex and far-reaching consequences of the ‘War on Terror’ on global perceptions of Muslims. The book examines the intersection between Islamophobia, and various social, economic, and political factors that have shaped its prevalence.

The authors convincingly argue that the ‘War on Terror’ has not only intensified anti-Muslim racism but has also provided a framework that perpetuates a global Islamophobic narrative. By framing Muslims a perpetual enemy, this conflict has fostered a climate of fear and suspicion, fueling the growth of nativist and populist movements worldwide.

One of the book’s strengths lies in its comprehensive analysis of the different forms and manifestations of Islamophobia. Through an examination of localized histories, conflicts, and contemporary geopolitical realities, the authors map out the intricate ways in which Islamophobia has taken shape across the global North and South. This approach adds depth to the understanding of the diverse factors contributing to the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment.

The book offers a nuanced and comprehensive analysis of the connections between interpersonal and institutional racism. While highlighting the deeply rooted nature of Islamophobia, the book also sheds light on the activism and resistance that have emerged to confront this issue. By featuring narratives of individuals and groups challenging Islamophobia, the authors provide hope and inspiration for those seeking to combat this pervasive form of discrimination.

Naved Bakali and Farid Hafez, The rise of global Islamophobia in the War on Terror: Coloniality, race, and Islam (Manchester University Press 2022) ISBN: 978-1-5261-6175-8, 264 pages

Islamophobia in France: The Construction of the Muslim Problem Book cover

Islamophobia in France: The Construction of the “Muslim Problem” presents a groundbreaking examination of the multifaceted nature of Islamophobia in the country. Authored by Abdellali Hajjat and Marwan Mohammed, the book challenges the prevailing notion that Islamophobia arises solely from individual bias but rather that Islamophobia in France is deeply entrenched within existing structures of power and control.

The book sheds light on pivotal moments in French history that have contributed to the marginalization of Muslim communities. It highlights the 2004 ban on veils in schools, followed by the 2010 legislation that prohibited face-covering clothing in public spaces, primarily targeting women who wear burqas. President Emmanuel Macron’s public statements regarding the hijab’s compatibility with French ideals further illustrate the pervasive Islamophobia within the country. These cultural biases not only perpetuate discriminatory practices but also position the Muslim population as scapegoats for broader issues surrounding immigration in France.

Hajjat and Mohammed go beyond surface-level analysis to uncover the structural dimensions of Islamophobia in France. They argue that French elites strategically employ Islamophobia as a state technology to exert control and contest the presence of specific groups of postcolonial immigrants and their descendants. By exploring the data on Islamophobia and examining its functioning in contemporary French society, the authors paint a comprehensive portrait of the mechanisms through which Islamophobia operates.

Islamophobia in France is an English translation of Abdellali Hajjat and Marwan Mohammed’s Islamophobie: Comment les e´lites franc¸aises fabriquent le “proble`me musulman.” and an essential contribution to the field, providing a nuanced and insightful examination of the systemic nature of Islamophobia and its consequences on Muslim communities in France.

Abdellali Hajjat and Marwan Mohammed, Islamophobia in France: The Construction of the “Muslim Problem” (University of Georgia Press, 2023) ISBN-10 0820363251, 306 pages

The New Crusades: Islamophobia and the Global War on Muslims Book cover

In The New Crusades: Islamophobia and the Global War on Muslims Khaled A. Beydoun presents an essential examination of Islamophobia from a legal and ground-up perspective. Drawing on his intellectual prowess and moral imperative, Beydoun presents a compelling analysis of the network of anti-Muslim campaigns unfolding worldwide and offers a comprehensive analysis of how Islamophobia is utilized by both democratic and authoritarian regimes to persecute Muslim populations.

The New Crusades does not shy away from challenging the established narratives. It delves into the role of the War on Terror in fueling and intensifying anti-Muslim campaigns around the world. Beydoun skillfully illustrates how Islamophobia operates as a unifying thread, perpetuating state and social bigotry and igniting hate-mongering from both liberal and right-wing factions. Through trenchant analysis and firsthand accounts from Muslims on the ground, the author brings to light the various manifestations of Islamophobia in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and beyond.

The book’s global perspective sets it apart, as Beydoun incorporates on-site experiences, interviews, and a diverse range of contexts. This approach enhances the authority of the narrative and makes it accessible and engaging for scholars, students, and the general public.

The New Crusades unravels the distinct systems of demonization and oppression that have emerged across the post-9/11 geopolitical landscape. Whether it is the imposition of hijab bans in France, state-sponsored hate speech and violence in India, or the existence of concentration camps in China, Beydoun examines how Islamophobia operates as a global phenomenon, perpetuating discrimination on multiple fronts.

The book powerfully reveals the unsettling reality that Islamophobia remains one of the few acceptable forms of hate in the world today. By exposing this truth, Beydoun calls attention to the urgent need for collective action against Islamophobia and its far-reaching consequences. By weaving together social science, law, and captivating narratives, the author highlights the pervasive impact of Islamophobia on Muslims across the globe.

Khaled A. Beydoun, The New Crusades: Islamophobia and the Global War on Muslims (University of California Press, 2023) ISBN: 9780520356306, 390 pages

Fear of a Muslim Planet: Global Islamophobia in the New World Order Book cover

In Fear of a Muslim Planet: Global Islamophobia in the New World Order Arsalan Iftikhar, a renowned American Muslim human rights lawyer, offers a comprehensive exploration of global Islamophobia. The book refers to the chilling reminder of the Christchurch massacre, where a white supremacist perpetrated a horrific act of violence against Muslim worshippers in New Zealand. Iftikhar draws attention to the manifesto left by the attacker, titled “The Great Replacement,” which espoused the belief that Muslims posed a threat and sought to replace white people. This incident serves as a starting point for exploring the dangerous legacy of this theory and its influence on extremist acts.

Iftikhar goes on to emphasize that the victims of the “Great Replacement” theory extend beyond Muslims alone. The tragic attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, which targeted Jewish congregants, exemplifies the broader impact of this ideology including the infamous actions of Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik.. The perpetrator’s anti-Semitic and Islamophobic motivations, fueled by anti-immigration sentiments, underline the interconnected nature of discrimination.

Throughout the book, Iftikhar critiques the presidency of Donald Trump, which he argues has contributed to the exacerbation of Islamophobia in America. He dissects Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies, including his claim that “Islam hates us” and his call for a complete ban on Muslims entering the US. Iftikhar contends that Trump’s leadership has fueled the growth of Islamophobia.

The book goes beyond the United States and the Western world to shed light on global Islamophobia. Iftikhar highlights the genocidal levels of Islamophobia in countries like China and Myanmar, where Muslim communities face severe oppression. Additionally, he addresses the European focus on policing Muslim women’s hijab, exposing discriminatory policies that curtail religious freedom.

Arsalan Iftikhar, Fear of a Muslim Planet: Global Islamophobia in the New World Order (Skyhorse Publishing, 2021) ISBN-13 978-1510761872, 288 pages

The Suspect: Counterterrorism, Islam, and the Security State Book cover

The Suspect: Counterterrorism, Islam, and the Security State offers a captivating and deeply personal exploration of the impact that two decades of policing and counterterrorism have had on the state of mind of Muslims in Britain. Drawing from his own experiences, author Rizwaan Sabir takes readers on a compelling journey through British counterterrorism practices and the pervasive policing of Muslims.

Sabir’s narrative describes his wrongful arrest and detention on suspicion of terrorism. He recounts the distressing process of being unjustly made a target in the “war on terror.” With candor and vivid detail, he outlines the events leading up to his arrest, including being found in possession of the Al-Qaeda Training Manual, which he had downloaded for legitimate postgraduate research purposes. Sabir sheds light on the excruciating experience of being subjected to suspicion and surveillance solely based on his Muslim identity.

Throughout the book, Sabir recounts the harrowing aftermath of his arrest. He vividly describes the relentless monitoring and scrutiny he faced upon release from custody. This included frequent stop-and-search encounters, detentions at the border, surveillance by police and government departments, and an attempt by the UK military to recruit him into their psychological warfare unit. The author’s firsthand account provides a chilling insight into the intrusive and discriminatory practices endured by Muslims in the name of national security.

Sabir argues that the profound harm inflicted on individuals like him is not merely the result of government planning errors but rather a deliberate consequence of employing a counterinsurgency warfare approach to combat terrorism and police Muslim communities. Through his writing, Sabir advocates for and building networks of solidarity and support to challenge the injustices perpetuated by these policies and practices.

The Suspect serves as a powerful call to action, urging readers to recognize and resist the profound injustice faced by Muslims. By sharing his story, Sabir empowers readers to challenge the harmful narratives and practices that perpetuate the policing of Muslims.

Rizwaan Sabir, The Suspect: Counterterrorism, Islam, and the Security State (Pluto Press, 2022) ISBN: 9780745338484, 256 pages