My friend Salman Adil Hussain on Islamophobia. Published in Chapati Mystery. He reviews “Islamophobia: The Ideological Campaign Against Muslims” by Stephen Sheehi.
Sheehi’s book, however, is not to be taken as a defense of Muslims, or Islam, or religion in general. Islamophobia, as Sheehi shows, is about power and domination; Islam and Muslims, as ciphers to be utilized instrumentally towards that end, are somewhat incidental to it. As an anti-Islamophobia strategy, defending Islam, portraying and representing it in positive light, or showing Muslims as model human beings and citizens is at best ineffectual, and at worst, one that is beholden to the very framework of Islamophobia. In Sheehi’s words: “The very idea that Islam needs to be defended … is Islamophobic, as it completely erases the intricacy of the religion and reduces the cultural, regional, and religious variations to a monolithic religion with a monolithic believer, i.e. The Muslim.” With a conception of Islamophobia unmoored from the purported exceptionality of the Muslim difference, the battle against Islamophobia can be engaged in a framework of global justice and anti-racism, along lines of solidarity across nations and denominations, and within its generative context: empire and capital.
Check it out.
I’m actually reading this book right now.