Islamophobia/Islamophilia: Beyond the Politics of Enemy and Friend

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"Islamophobia" is a term that has been widely applied to anti-Muslim ideas and actions, especially since 9/11. The contributors to this provocative volume explore and critique the usefulness of the concept for understanding contexts ranging from the Middle Ages to the modern day. Moving beyond familiar explanations such as good Muslim/bad Muslim stereotypes or the "clash of civilizations," they describe Islamophobia's counterpart, Islamophilia, which deploys similar oppositions in the interest of fostering public acceptance of Islam. Contributors address topics such as conflicts over Islam outside and within Muslim communities in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia; the cultural politics of literature, humor, and urban renewal; and religious conversion to Islam.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"... a collection at once serious and sensible in its scope, ambitions and outcome." —Bruce B. Lawrence, Religion Dispatches
Religion Dispatches
"... a collection at once serious and sensible in its scope, ambitions and outcome." —Bruce B. Lawrence, Religion Dispatches

— Bruce B. Lawrence

The Muslim World Book Review

"In all, this work is a rich and varied fare. What is welcome is the book's developed insight that Islamophilia can also be an act of wishful thinking and fantasy as much as Islamophobia. Morever, the latter can be propagated by Muslims. In all, this is a plea for a grown up engagement with Muslims who are as diverse as Christians and Jews." —The Muslim World Book Review, 31:4, 2011

Religion Dispatches - Bruce B. Lawrence

"... a collection at once serious and sensible in its scope, ambitions and outcome." —Bruce B. Lawrence, Religion Dispatches

Engseng Ho

"Islamophobia/Islamophilia is a spirited volume that takes aim at the confining but dominant debate on Islam, 'for or against.' Its eye-opening cases demonstrate just how much opposed sides share, and reveal surprising alignments and crossovers that happen beyond the binary. Politically astute, analytically acute, and pervasively humanistic, this is a rare contribution that brings clarity to an ideologically charged and muddied field." —Engseng Ho, Duke University

Ussama Makdisi

"Very timely. An excellent contribution to humanistic scholarship by a number of leading scholars. The disciplinary range and nuance of the individual essays in this volume do a great job to illustrate and analyze how ahistorical, demeaning, or apologetic views of Muslims and Islam function and circulate." —Ussama Makdisi, Rice University

American Ethnologist

"Overall, the volume is an impressive collection of serious discursive analyses that heighten our sensitivities to the forms arguments about Islam take; while always indexes of power, it is clear that the shared terms of global debates about Islamic reform do not always correspond to shared meanings." —American Ethnologist

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Andrew Shryock is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. He is author of Nationalism and the Genealogical Imagination and co-author of Arab Detroit and Citizenship and Crisis: Arab Detroit after 9/11.

Indiana University Press

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Read an Excerpt

What is most problematic about Islamophobia is its essentializing and universalizing quality, which casts Islam itself and all Muslims as real or potential enemies.... What is harder to assess is the challenge of countering Islamophobic impulses in ways that do not simply invert or reinforce them by cultivating their opposite: the image of the Muslim as "friend," as a figure identified with the Self, characterized as familiar, and with whom legitimate conflict is not possible.... When 'friendship' is subordinated to the demands of sameness... it can be just as coercive, just as prone to misrecognition, as the sentiments of hostility it is meant to correct.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Islam as an Object of Fear and Affection Andrew Shryock Shryock, Andrew 1

Part One Continuities and Transformations

1 Western Hostility toward Muslims: A History of the Present Tomaz Mastnak Mastnak, Tomaz 29

2 The Khalil Gibran International Academy: Diasporic Confrontations with an Emerging Islamophobia Naamah Paley Paley, Naamah 53

Part Two Modern (Self) Criticism

3 The God That Failed: The Neo-Orientalism of Today's Muslim Commentators Moustafa Bayoumi Bayoumi, Moustafa 79

4 Gendering Islamophobia and Islamophilia; The Case of Shi'i Muslim Women in Lebanon Lara Deeb Deeb, Lara 94

5 Bridging Traditions: Madrasas and Their Internal Critics Muhammad Qasim Zaman Zaman, Muhammad Qasim 111

Part Three Violence and Conversion in Europe

6 The Fantasy and Violence of Religious Imagination: Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism in France and North Africa Paul A. Silverstein Silverstein, Paul A. 141

7 German Converts to Islam and Their Ambivalent Relations with Immigrant Muslims Esra Ozyurek Ozyurek, Esra 172

Part Four Attraction and Repulsion in Shared Space

8 Muslim Ethnic Comedy: Inversions of Islamophobia Mucahit Bilici Bilici, Mucahit 195

9 Competing for Muslims: New Strategies for Urban Renewal in Detroit Sally Howell Howell, Sally 209

List of Contributors 237

Index 239

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