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Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy Hardcover – July 26, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Gottschalk, a professor of religion at Wesleyan University, and his former student Greenberg analyze what Islamophobia is and how it is manifested through political cartoons, many of which are included with revealing results. The authors say that Islamophobia—a racistlike bias against Muslims based on stereotypes—is very real, manifesting in some cartoons that are obviously biased and others that appear on the surface to be more sympathetic. Cartoons, symbolic of wider feelings and paranoia about Islam, reflect misunderstandings and prejudice among Westerners and, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, often serve to widen cultural chasms, particularly between Muslims and American Christians. Symbols and caricatures, like the veil, the mosque, scimitars and large-nosed profiles, can be misused or conflicting; for example, the scimitar, frequently used to depict Muslim violence, is of doubtful Muslim heritage but is actually used in American military uniforms. Gottschalk and Greenberg offer a particularly chilling comparison of cartoon depictions of Jews prior to World War II and their Muslim counterpart caricatures today. Even cartoons mocking conservative Christians are more neutral and less intentional in their hatred, say the authors. With its incendiary cover art and on the heels of the Danish cartoon controversy, this book should attract well-deserved attention. (Oct.)
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This ground-breaking book should be read and reread-readers will become acutely aware how cartoonists have repeatedly disparaged all things Muslim and Arab. The book teaches us to see beyond damaging stereotypes. It is a remarkable achievement, illustrating that although there exists a fine line between satire and racism. (Jack G. Shaheen, author, Reel Bad Arabs)
If 9/ll jolted Americans into a new awareness of Islam, it has produced less insight and understanding than caricature and fear. Part of the knowledge gap is due to Muslims themselves, but the larger problem derives from deliberate distortions projected via the media (radio, TV, print and the Internet) in concert with scurrilous scholarship and Christian right Islamophobes. This deftly constructed and amply illustrated volume by Gottschalk and Greenberg will expose Islamophobic distortions while also providing a much needed antidote to their public venom. (Bruce Lawrence, Duke University)
As Islamophobia threatens to become the new anti-Semitism, Islamophobia: Making Islam the Enemy becomes 'must' reading. Gottschalk and Greenberg perceptively and graphically demonstrate the extent to which prejudice and discrimination against Islam and Muslims have become inherent in American mainstream culture. (John L. Esposito, author, What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam)
Islamophobia is an important contribution to the understanding of prejudice as a common factor in American culture, particularly the media. The analysis of political cartoons convincingly shows how pervasively anti-Arab and anti-Muslim attitudes have become accepted, even by people who probably consider themselves fair-minded. This study needs to be read by everyone concerned with the problems of religious and racial bias in America today. (Carl W. Ernst, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
A must read for anyone interested in understanding the underlying challenges that Muslims face in America. Provides an important insight into the stereotyping of Muslims that daily projects them as the different 'other.' (Yvonne Haddad, Georgetown University)
Islamophobia. Making Islam the Enemy is a very well-written, timely and incisive book about a topic that is finally starting to win the attention of the American public. The authors take the reader through a journey of Western suspicion and prejudicial depiction of the religion of Islam, from the Crusades to more recent political encounters with Muslim powers. They present a fascinating review of American media presentations of Islam and Muslims, including film, television and political cartoons. Islamophobia is a fairly presented, sharply critical exposé of the roots and manifestations of western fear and suspicion of this important world religion. It should be required of every high school and college student of history, political science and American social studies. (Jane Smith, Hartford Theological Seminary)
Gottschalk, a professor of religion at Wesleyan University, and his former student Greenberg analyze what Islamophobia is and how it is manifested through political cartoons, many of which are included with revealing results...With its incendiary cover art and on the heels of the Danish cartoon controversy, this book should attract well-deserved attention. (Publishers Weekly)
Contains a thoughtful discussion and is bound to stimulate interest among readers. (Middle East Journal, Winter 2008)
This slim volume by Gottschalk and Greenberg is a splendid teaching tool for classroom use, not only because it provides a readily accessible narrative about American stereotyping of Islam and Muslims, but also due to its focus on the political cartoon. This would be a beneficial text for undergraduate courses on Islam or the Middle East, since it is both accessible and tackles a popular art form that has almost universal appeal. (Daniel Martin Varisco, Hofstra University; author of Islam Obscured: The Rhetoric of Anthropological Representation Contemporary Islam, December 3, 2008)
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Top customer reviews
This book starts off by reviewing the reaction of Muslims to the cartoon that appeared in the Danish news paper Jyllands-Posten, which portrayed the prophet Muhammad in a less than stellar light. From here the authors trace the depiction of Islam and Muslims throughout history and how this idea of the religion and its followers as backward, violent and primitive remains well-entrenched in the minds of many Western non-Muslim people. In the introduction, the authors make a statement that I think is right on target: That is they (views held by Americans) demonstrate how natural for so many Americans the image of Muslims as irrational aggressors and Americans as righteous innocents abroad and at home has become, so that any other perspective becomes not a counterargument but a challenge to an unquestionable world order." The authors skillfully present information to back up this statement.
From the history of Western perceptions of Islam, the authors go on to analyze political cartoons depicting Islams. Just before doing this they make a necessary distinction between caricature and stereotype. This is key, because I think for many people, caricatures and stereotypes are one and the same. Most people respond to visual stimuli and in the case of the cartoons, their lack of familiarity with Islam, coupled with a general post-9/11 resentment toward Muslim culture, allows them to formulate opinions based on the animations they read in the newspapers. For example, how many people know the difference between a Muslim and an Arab? The authors contend that too often people categorize all Muslims under the same category (violent, backward, oppressive, etc.)without any reference that may inhibit the formatin of inaccurate perceptions.
I could go on, but it is best for readers to read this book for themselves. I found it very interesting that in the 1950s cartoonists depicted Muslims as lazy and effeminate. Now, the depictions are much more savage in their portrayals. It seems that many cartoons follow the political winds blowing from Washington, DC.
The first chapter deals with a very good but brief overview of Western interaction and reaction to Islamic civilization and Muslims. What is important to note is that this all came about way before 9/11 and that because of this long history, people in the West have an ingrained and often warped image about what the religion of Islam represents.
In this book, the focus is primarily the role of political cartoons in mainstream media that help shape everyday peoples' image of Islam and Muslims. The proceeding chapters give excellent examples of the imagery and effectiveness of conveying stereotypical images of Muslims and Islam.
For those interested in learning about Islamophobia, I recommend this book along with Dr. Mohamed Nimer's Islamophobia and Anti-Americanism: Causes and Remedies. For good essay on the topic, I recommend Dr. Ibrahim Kalin's essay entitled "Roots of Misconception: Euro-American Perceptions of Islam Before and After 9/11" which can be found online.
Most recent customer reviews
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