The Death of Islamophobia: The Rise of Islamo-Racism | Race Files

Understanding the nature of Islamo-racism is also essential to understanding the contemporary realities of being “apparently Muslim.” In these communities, race and religion have commingled to form aspects of an othered identity which is not only outside of the mainstream, but one that has been criminalized by the State. Furthermore, Islam and Muslim Americans have been deceitfully vilified by influential political, religious, and media figures. As a consequence, visible religious identity has emerged as a primary factor rendering individuals vulnerable to the social degradation— and potential violence— that has plagued peoples of color throughout our history. Putting Islamo-racism in historical perspective also illuminates our understanding of an old societal disorder. The contemporary use of religion as a tool with which to differentiate and designate the “other” in public life— a space once occupied in our past by every community of color— mimics closely the role of race in our collective history. Once we historically contextualize Islamo-racism, we can see clearly how identity (or perceived identity) is again being deployed by demagogues to divide Americans, for personal gain. Ultimately, identifying Islamo-racism as a strain of racism illuminates a major impediment to building a more egalitarian nation, one in which people are judged for their character instead of their race, ethnic, or religious identity. By rejecting the fanciful specters conjured by the peddlers of this latest brand of American racism, we must stand against the rising tide of bigotry sweeping the nation with renewed vigor in the Age of Obama. If we cannot find the courage to fight this battle now, it will continue to vex future generations.

Source: The Death of Islamophobia: The Rise of Islamo-Racism | Race Files