Recently, I published a piece on Islamophobia in America for Oxford Islamic Studies Online’s Focus On series, which is a portal of the Oxford site that is available to the public and hosts scholarly pieces on a variety of issues. Click this image above, or visit this link to view the piece.

Last week’s Heritage Foundation panel on the 2012 attacks in Benghazi was bound to be an ugly affair, what with the presence of panelist Brigitte Gabriel, a self-described “terrorism analyst” with a laundry list of offensive statements about Islam and Arabs. Sure enough, when attendee Saba Ahmed, an American University law school student, explained that not all Muslims are terrorists, Gabriel retorted that “the peaceful majority were irrelevant” in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the way that peaceful Germans were irrelevant during the Holocaust.

That prompted much hand-wringing, primarily on cable news, about the supposed silence of “moderate Muslims” in this supposed age of Islamist extremism. What no one on either side of the debate questioned, though, was the legitimacy of the phrase “moderate Muslims” itself.

Read more at The New Republic, where this piece was originally published on June 25, 2014.

How Wild Anti-Muslim Bikini Stories Spread on the Internet

 

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Here’s a classic example of how anti-Muslim hate grows on the Internet:

One week ago, the Internet was abuzz over reports that Saudi Arabia fined three Italian tourists $3500 for wearing bikinis in the presence of Muslims. The story was circulated on an obscure Italian-language news site, which referenced an earlier story published on April 28, 2014 at Giornale de Corrriere.

Here’s a screenshot of the original piece:

The original story, published on April 28, 2014

The original story, published on April 28, 2014

 

The sensational headline was too good for Muslim-baiters. Though not one single Western news source mentioned the story (which in today’s world should have sent up major red flags), they rushed forward without taking a moment to verify the source and reproduced it on their blogs. Off it went, zipping through the web and social media.

Continue Reading…

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

 

The controversy over Brandeis University’s decision to withdraw its honorary degree invitation to Somali-born American activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali is puzzling. Not because it wasn’t the right decision — it was — but because of two specific ways that the school, major media organizations, and Hirsi Ali’s supporters and detractors described her. Continue Reading…