Deconstructing Islamaphobia

Muslim Matters

Deconstructing Islamaphobia

By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS

Camp Meeker (Calif.)–September 2nd–During the last weekend in April in Berkeley, there was a remarkable symposium on “Deconstructing Islamophobia: Globalization, Immigration and Construction of the “Other” that sought to develop a theoretical framework to understand the relationship between Islamophobia as a recent principle of the “Colonial” present.  (A persistent argument in Academia is that the “Colonial subject” is still present, but in a different form in this Post-Colonial Age).

In today’s world, Islam and Muslims are dreaded as the “Other,” and the threat they pose is already connected to every local, regional and global process.  The practice of “Othering” Islam and Muslims is under way with devastating consequences to the Community and a virtual state of siege has set-in–not only to the affected communities, but to the larger society as well.  Comprehensive treatments of Islamophobia have not been gazed into thoroughly enough in the countries to which Muslims have lately immigrated–especially Europe.  The traditionally powerful elites within these Northern Hemisphere Metropoles (imposing dominant societies) have engaged in extending and maintaining the patterns of racial, gender, Colonial, ethnic and religious discrimination that has previously marked the prevailing nations in the Occident.

In the past, approaches to race and gender remained distant from the subject, and, furthermore, had not yet embarked into the incorporation of the “Other” that is Islam and Muslims.  Eventually, though, the European Islamic Community has begun to discover their neighbors, and, thereby, to deconstruct and systematize the procedures that gave birth to Islamophobia, and, in this manner, to alter the interconnectedness to the historical “Other” of race, gender and the “Post-Colonial” within the European Union (EU). 

The first speaker (on April 25th ) was Dina al Kassim who conversed on the subject of the media.  The discussion between Islam and the European public has been disasteraous!   For instance, the controversial sacrilegious Danish cartoon brought up the conflict between Islamic religiosity and the so-called Western Post-Modern concept of the “Freedom of Religion.”  This was succinctly a conflict between the values and culture of Islam and the Nordic West as a result of “the positioning of the two spheres into one locale!”

Thus, the Danes have positioned the disempowerment of their Arab citizens into the linguistics of “Freedom of Speech,”  It is most dangerously “a metaphor of mistranslation!”  Peculiarly, Islamophobia has arisen as an attribute of Globalism. This international pressure coerced many Muslims to emigrate from their countries of origin in the first place.  Interestingly, “The Arab marketplace has become a symbol for global [economic] integration.”

In the Arab world itself, secular States have arisen (e.g. Egypt).  Therefore, “Political names…are no longer abstractions.”  The dominant image of Arab Globalism is “Business as usual.”  On the other hand, religion has been relegated to the private realm” in the new nation states of origin.

Al Kassim, intriguingly, asserted, “Unitarianism [which Islam is in the sense of believing in one God] is one way to survive Globalism!” 

Back to Copenhagen, Denmark lost 50% of its trade to Islamic countries last year because of a boycott instituted by the outrage over the cartoon insulting the Prophet (s), or, in other terms, that Viking country lost 15% of its GNP (Gross National Product) from the sanctions!

Despite this upheaval, two worlds (cultures) are being fused into one!  For as Dina al Kassim declared conclusively, “’Unitarianism’ can only lead to Globalism!”  


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