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.