Islamophobia and the Commodification of Hate
I know the existence of Islamophobia as a lucrative career path isn’t news for the folks here at LGF, but nonetheless it’s good to have these things as reference material, IMO.
The following article is by Sophia Rose Arjana, a scholar and Professor of Islamic Studies who holds a Ph. D in theology from the University of Denver (more info here). I have her book, Muslims in the Western Imagination, but I’ve only had a chance to read a couple of chapters so far. It’s fascinating, albeit more than a little disturbing.
Deepa Kumar, Todd Green and Nathan Lean are also mentioned in the article. I bought Kumar’s book, Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire, but haven’t had a chance to begin reading it. Green’s The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West and Lean’s The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims are on my Kindle wish list. I’m well aware that some LGF members aren’t crazy about Lean, but he’s done some useful research and the far-right positively loathes him, therefore I’m not going to disregard him.
Islamophobia is big business. As documented in a 2011 study titled Fear, Inc., demonizing Muslims is lucrative, with over $40 million funneled to Islamophobia think-tanks between 2001 and 2009. These funds have been used to create hateful campaigns such as those run by Stop Islamization of America. They have also been used to try to curb free speech. Campus Watch, an arm of Middle East Forum, keeps tabs on university professors in an effort to fire anyone who does not subscribe to a neoconservative political ideology.
Numerous individuals have careers focused solely on the demonization of Muslims, including Robert Spencer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Pamela Geller, and Tawfiq Hamid. These are people whose “expertise” is denigrating Islam and Muslims. As one example, Hirsi Ali makes her living by vilifying Islam and Muslims. Her book titles feature words and phrases like “nomad,” “infidel,” “caged virgin,” and “heretic,” suggesting Islam is uncivilized, exotic, and violent with no diversity or variance in interpretation or practice. She frequently appears on news programs as an “expert” on Islam despite not being a scholar, and is a favorite of Bill Maher, who has lauded her as his “hero.” […]
All but one of the videos below are around an hour in length. I understand that most of you probably won’t have the time or desire to watch four hours of Islamophobia related discussion, but I’m leaving them here anyway for those who might be interested. Three of the discussions are about the authors’ books, and the other two are more general.
Sophia Rose Arjana: Muslims in the Western Imagination
In this second video, which is not specifically about his book, Green discusses what should and should not be considered Islamophobia.
Deepa Kumar: Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire