Islamophobia: Genesis, Challenges & Response

  1. Private Islamophobia: the fear, suspicion, and violent targeting of Muslims by individuals or private actors. This animus is generally carried forward by non-state actors’ use of religious or racial slurs, mass protests or rallies, or violence against Muslim subjects.
  2. Structural Islamophobia: the fear and suspicion of Muslims on the part of institutions — most notably, government agencies — that is manifested through the enactment and advancement of policies. These policies are built upon the presumption that Muslim identity is associated with a national security threat, and while they are usually framed in a facially neutral fashion, such policies disproportionately target Muslim subjects and disparately jeopardize, chill, and curtail their civil liberties.
  3. Dialectical Islamophobia: a systemic, fluid, and deeply politicized dialectic between the state and its polity: a dialectic whereby the former shapes, reshapes, and confirms popular views or attitudes about Islam and Muslim subjects inside and outside of America’s borders. Therefore, the third dimension of Islamophobia focuses on “dialectical Islamophobia,” which is the process by which state policies legitimize prevailing is-conceptions, misrepresentations, and tropes widely held by private citizens.

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