Islamophobia in America offers new perspectives on prejudice against Muslims, which has become increasingly widespread in the USA in the past decade.
The contributors document the history of anti-Islamic sentiment in American culture, the scope of organized anti-Muslim propaganda, and the institutionalization of this kind of intolerance.
In the summer of 2010, the attention of Americans was riveted by two controversies that erupted over the presence of Islam in the United States. One was the theatrical announcement of Pastor Terry Jones, leader of a small religious group in Florida, that he had put the Qur’an on trial for “crimes against humanity” and was planning to burn copies of it on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks against American targets. This threat attracted worldwide condemnation, as well as pleas from international leaders and American officials to abstain from a highly provocative action, and ultimately Jones abandoned that particular plan. The other controversy was related to an attempt by an American Muslim group to establish an interfaith community center and place of worship known as Park 51 in downtown Manhattan, not far from the site of the World Trade Center. Although the project had been approved by a normal zoning process without objection, anti-Muslim bloggers created an enormous dispute by arguing that this so-called Ground Zero mosque was really intended to be a celebration of the 9/11 attacks as a victory of Islam over America. Eventually, the controversy died down shortly after the 2010 elections, leading some commentators to observe that it was a “manufactured story” that had been opportunistically used by politicians as a wedge issue to generate votes. In any case, the massive publicity given to both incidents illustrated the extent to which popular fear and suspicion of Islam, often linked to the 9/11 attacks, had become a widespread element in the climate of opinion in America.
About the Author
Carl W. Ernst is William R. Kenan, Jr., Distinguished Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Title: Islamophobia in America: the Anatomy of Intolerance
Author: Carl W. Ernst
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Length: 2o5 pages
Pub. Date: 2013