Islamophobia, both as a term and concept, has a storied and complicated history, and understanding its many layers in our current historical moment remains...

Islamophobia, both as a term and concept, has a storied and complicated history, and understanding its many layers in our current historical moment remains important for any number of audiences and purposes. By focusing on contemporary incarnations but also giving historical context, Todd Green accomplishes an admirable task in The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West (Fortress Press, 2015). Professor Green combines lucid and accessible prose with meticulous attention to detail and extensive footnotes; he strikes an impressive balance while simultaneously aiming at a scholarly and lay audience. The book explores the contours of Islamophobia both in North America and Europe, which outlines instructive similarities and differences, as the phenomenon surfaces in various contexts, within an array of colonial and political histories.

Green organizes his book in smart fashion, making the chapters accessible on their own (for teaching purposes, for example), though likely best understood in sequence as each chapter builds organically on what precedes it. He explores the history of Orientalism, impact of 9/11, “professional Islamophobes,” media portrayals of Islam and Muslims, and offers some prescriptions at the end for combating Islamophobia. Green combines historical analysis, social-scientific polls, and also conducts interviews with the likes of Keith Ellison, Ingrid Mattson, and Tariq Ramadan, all of which contribute to the richness of the text. In terms of applications, any number of college instructors could consider adapting this text for use in the classroom, and it will also interest scholars who focus on Islam in the West, critiques of Orientalism, religion and politics, as well as the lay reader who seeks an erudite yet digestible introduction to the enigma of Islamophobia.


Elliott Bazzano is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Le Moyne College. His research and teaching interests include theory and methodology in the study of religion, Islamic studies, Quranic studies, mysticism, religion and media, and religion and drugs. His academic publications are available here. He can be reached at (bazzanea@lemoyne.edu). Listener feedback is most welcome.

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