Today’s worst Islamophobes are not hailing from the ranks of the far-right movement, instead they claim to be liberals.
THE DISEASE OF Islamophobia, the irrational and categorical hatred of Muslims and their religion – just as its corresponding malaise of anti-Semitism against Jews, racism against African-Americans, misogyny against women, or homophobia against the LGBQT – will need a sustained course of critical thinking and persistent examination before we understand its pathological origins and globally expose and discredit its chief ideologues.
Today in the United States the rising attacks by white supremacists against Jewish, Muslim, and African-American people, institutions and icons have all come together under one propaganda outlet code named “alt-right”, whose chief ideologue Stephen Bannon (the Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the “alt-right”) is now sitting right next to the president of the US in the Oval Office as his top consigliere.
What is the nature of this disease, and where does it come from? We already have a number of excellent studies on the matter, among them I might mention Peter Gottschalk and Gabriel Greenberg’s Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy; Deepa Kumar’s Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire; Nathan Lean’s The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims; and Carl Ernst (Ed), Islamophobia in America: The Anatomy of Intolerance; and to which we must add Terry Eagleton’s exquisite dismantling of the New Atheists, Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate.
These studies have all been necessary and groundbreaking but nowhere near sufficient. The disease of Islamophobia – like any other kind of phobia – has varied symptoms and requires continued critical diagnosis. >>>