Inspired by similar projects created for other contemporary social justice movements, such as Black Lives Matter and the Standing Rock protests, a group of academics have put together an open-source syllabus on the long-standing and ongoing problem of anti-Muslim discrimination in America. The primary purpose of the #IslamophobiaisRacism syllabus, is to “reframe ‘Islamophobia’ as ‘anti-Muslim racism’ to more accurately reflect the intersection of race and religion as a reality of structural inequality and violence rooted in the longer history of US (and European) empire building.” The widespread use of the term “Islamophobia,” according to the syllabus’s creators, “frames these forms of discrimination and their roots solely as a problem of religious discrimination. Calling this a ‘phobia’ suggests that this discrimination is solely a problem of individual bias, which obscures the structural and systemic production of anti-Muslim racism.”

The compilers of this resource all work broadly within Islamic Studies, but come to the topic from a wide variety of angles. As a result, the #IslamophobiaisRacism syllabus covers an impressive array of subjects. The five main sections of the syllabus cover race, empire, and Islam; the production and reproduction of anti-Muslim racism; the impact of anti-Muslim racism; policing, security, surveillance, and anti-Muslim racism; and resisting anti-Muslim racism. The materials provided in each of these sections, to say nothing of the breadth of the topics themselves, are enough to fill an entire semester course.

The diverse backgrounds, both academic and otherwise, of the people behind the syllabus is also reflected in the variety of sources and formats included in it. The syllabus’s recommended readings range from traditional academic journal articles to Huffington Post pieces. The visual media in the syllabus is even more varied, including everything from the classic film The Battle of Algiers, to video clips of the National Poetry Slam Finals to rapper Mos Def demonstrating how Guantanamo Bay prisoners were force fed.

Even well-meaning non-Muslims can fail to grasp how deeply racialized Islam is in America, and how institutional structures create and perpetuate anti-Muslim discrimination. The #IslamophobiaisRacism syllabus is a crucial resource for anyone- professors, students, and activists alike- looking to dismantle the anti-Muslim culture poisoning American society.

You can access the entire #IslamophobiaisRacism syllabus here.

Here is some further reading, listening, and watching on Muftah about topics covered in the #IslamophobiaisRacism syllabus:

3 Documentaries About the Lives of Muslim-Americans, Post 9/11

How Attempts to Humanize Muslims Often Do the Exact Opposite

How Minorities Are Used to Promote Islamophobia

Islamophobia in America, Then & Now: a Podcast with David Felix Suttcliffe and Adama Bah

Murder of an Arab-American Christian Underscores Racism and Xenophobia Behind Islamophobia

Why Muslims Are Uneasy About Voting for Clinton

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  • Sorry, but Islam isn’t a race, it’s an ideology that seeks to absorb all races. Islamophobia means fear of Islam and its domination through Sharia and jihad, which is what all non-Muslims in their right mind should have. The whole idea of equating fear of Islam assaulting the West with racism is itself a form of jihad, an attempt to play non-Muslims for suckers, and nobody falls for it. The real word for hatred of Islam is Misoislamism, just as hatred for woman is misogyny. Any non-Muslim who has studied Islam and its history should be a misoislamist, not just an islamophobe. Even Muslims are afraid of Islam for what it might do to them if they are perceived to deviate from orthodoxy. Islam IS fear, hence Islamophobia is a good not bad word.

  • UstAkıl

    Well, ‘racism’ always makes for a good accusation, but Islam isn’t a race. If you are talking about religious bigotry, call it religious bigotry. Don’t weaken your argument by calling it racism.