Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire

Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire

by Deepa Kumar


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608462117
Publisher: Haymarket Books
Publication date: 08/07/2012
Pages: 220
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Deepa Kumar is an Associate Professor of Media Studies and Middle East Studies at Rutgers University. She is the author of Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization and the UPS Strike. She has offered her analysis on Islamophobia to numerous outlets around the world including the BBC, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Mexico's Proseco, China International radio, and Gulf News from Dubai.

Table of Contents

Section 1 History and Context

Introduction 1


1 Images of Islam in Europe 9

Early Contact with Islam

Al-Andalus and Muslim Rule in Europe

The Crusades and the Reconquista

From Polemic to Indifference

The Ottomans

Romanticism and the Enlightenment

2 Colonialism and Orientalism 25

Napoleon and "Enlightened" Colonialism

The Characteristics of Orientalism

American Imperialism

3 The Persistence of Orientalist Myths 41

Myth One: Islam Is a Monolithic Religion

Myth Two: Islam Is a Uniquely Sexist Religion

Myth Three: The "Muslim Mind" Is Incapable of Reason and Rationality

Myth Four: Islam Is an Inherently Violent Religion

Myth Five: Muslims Are Incapable of Democracy and Self-Rule

Section 2 Political Islam and US Policy

4 Allies and Enemies: The United States and Political Islam 63

Islam and Modernization

Saudi Arabia and the King of Islam

Iran and Afghanistan: Irrational Mullahs and Freedom Fighters Israel's Enemies

Islamists and the Post-Cold War Era

5 The Separation of Mosque and State 81

Orientalist Myths

The De Facto Separation of Religion and Politics

Modernization and Secularization

The Failures of Islamic Revivalism

Radical Secular Nationalism

6 Political Islam: A Historical Analysis 93

What Is Political Islam?

The Growth of Political Islam

Political Islam: Mixed Fortunes

Political Islam in an Anti-Imperialist Framework

7 The Foreign Policy Establishment and the "Islamic Threat" 113

The Neocons

The Israel Connection

Humanitarian Imperialism

September 11 and the Bush Doctrine

Obama and Liberal Imperialism

Section 3 Islamophobia and Domestic Politics

8 Legalizing Racism: Muslims and the Attack on Civil Liberties 139

Terrorizing Arabs and Muslims

Surveillance, Detention, and Deportation

Preemptive Prosecution

The Terrorism Spectacle

Theories of Radicalization

9 Green Scare: The Making of the Domestic Muslim Enemy 159

Manufacturing the Green Scare

The "Ground Zero Mosque" Controversy

The Rise of the Islamophobic Network

10 Islamophobia and the New McCarthyism 175

The New McCarthyites

"Education" and Media Propaganda

Mainstream and Liberal Enablers

Systemic Racism

Conclusion: Fighting Islamophobia 193

List of Acronyms 201

Notes 203

Index 225

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

This is a timely and crucial book. From historical roots to ideological causes, Islamophobia is studied in a holistic, profound and serious way. The reader will understand why we need to stop being both naive and blind. There will be no peaceful and just future in our democratic societies if we do not fight this new type of dangerous racism–– Tariq Ramadan, Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies, Oxford University

Deepa Kumar's Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire could not be more timely. In this deftly argued book, Kumar unearthes a genealogy of colonial construction that goes back to the earliest contacts between Muslims and Europeans. But the real power of her argument is when she grabs the politics of ideological domination by the throat and, with an astonishing moral and intellectual force, sets the record straight as to who and what the players are in turning a pathological fear of Muslims into a cornerstone of imperial hegemony. This is a must read on both sides of the Atlantic, where from mass murderers in Europe to military professors at the US military academies are in the business of manufacturing fictive enemies out of their fanciful delusions. Deepa Kumar has performed a vital public service–– Hamid Dabashi, Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

This important book sets out to debunk Orientalist myths in particular that historical encounters between Islam and the West can be understood through a clash of civilisations framework. The author explores the specific historical and political contexts of this relationship from the Crusades to Obama providing a nuanced and extensive analysis. Kumar presents these arguments with a force and passion that is supported by a wealth of evidence. A must for scholars of Islam, social and political science and international relations–– Elizabeth Poole, author of Reporting Islam : Media Representations of British Muslims

In this remarkable primer Deepa Kumar expertly shows how racism is central to contemporary US imperial politics in ways similar to previous imperial wars, including the one that constituted the United States over the dead bodies of indigenous “redskins.” An antiracist and antiwar activist, as well as a model scholar-teacher, Kumar has written a comprehensive and most readable guide to exposing and opposing the hatred of Islam–– Gilbert Achcar, Professor of Development Studies & International Relations, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire will be indispensable to anyone wanting to understand one of the most persistent forms of racism in the US and Europe. Kumar demonstrates that Islamophobic myths did not arise spontaneously after the end of the Cold War but are rooted in centuries of conquest and colonialism, from the Crusades to the 'War on Terror'. Arguing with precision and clarity, she shows how these myths have been systematically circulated by liberals as much as conservatives, and usefully lays bare the complex ways in which the US foreign policy establishment has, in different contexts, instrumentalized Islamic political movements and exploited anti-Muslim racism. Kumar's text will be a crucial corrective to those who fail to see that the origins of the 'Islam problem' lie in empire not sharia–– Arun Kundnani, author of The End of Tolerance : Racism in 21st century Britain

Deepa Kumar’s Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire is a comprehensive study of the system’s most recent choice of political scapegoat for its failings; the world’s one billion Muslims. Taking her cue from the ‘red scare’ persecution of the American left in the aftermath of World War One, she labels this latest phase of capitalist paranoia, ‘the green scare.’—Sean Ledwith, Counterfire

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