Fear of Muslims?

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Scott POYNTING, Western Sydney University, Australia
Contemporary anti-Muslim racism is often obscured by the denial that it is racism, as such, or by interpreting ‘Islamophobia’ as fear (justifiable or otherwise) of Muslims by non-Muslims. This paper examines two current forms of ‘fear of Muslims’ in ‘Western’ countries. It argues firstly that the ‘fear’ expressed by anti-Muslims or Islamophobes, is not really about fearfulness; it serves rather as a screen for the contemporary pursuit of colonialism. The paper asserts the salience of the second form of ‘fear of Muslims’, which is actually produced by the first. This is effected through processes whereby, minority Muslim communities are made afraid of openly expressing their faith – and, especially, radical political assertions of it – by vigilantism, public bullying, vilification, discrimination, and racialised state targeting. The paper draws largely from Australian instances since 11 September 2001, but includes a comparative dimension.