Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire

In response to the events of 9/11, the Bush administration launched a “war on terror” ushering in an era of anti-Muslim racism, or Islamophobia. However, 9/11 did not create Islamophobia, an ideology which has become the handmaiden of imperialism. This book examines the historic relationship between Islamophobia and the agenda of empire-building.

Click to Listen to Deepa Kumar Speak on the Book

About the author

Deepa Kumar is an Associate Professor of Media Studies and Middle East Studies at Rutgers University. She is the author of Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization and the UPS Strike. She has offered her analysis on Islamophobia to numerous outlets around the world including the BBC, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Mexico's Proseco, China International radio, and Gulf News from Dubai.

Reviews

"This is a timely and crucial book. From historical roots to ideological causes, Islamophobia is studied in a holistic, profound and serious way. The reader will understand why we need to stop being both naive and blind. There will be no peaceful and just future in our democratic societies if we do not fight this new type of dangerous racism."
—Tariq Ramadan, Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies, Oxford University

"Deepa Kumar's book Islamophobia and the Politics of Empoire is powerful, necessary and a true work of solidarity."
—Ali Abunimah, Founding Editor ofThe Electronic Intifada

"Deepa Kumar's Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire could not be more timely. In this deftly argued book, Kumar unearthes a genealogy of colonial construction that goes back to the earliest contacts between Muslims and Europeans. But the real power of her argument is when she grabs the politics of ideological domination by the throat and, with an astonishing moral and intellectual force, sets the record straight as to who and what the players are in turning a pathological fear of Muslims into a cornerstone of imperial hegemony. This is a must read on both sides of the Atlantic, where from mass murderers in Europe to military professors at the US military academies are in the business of manufacturing fictive enemies out of their fanciful delusions. Deepa Kumar has performed a vital public service."
—Hamid Dabashi, Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

"This important book sets out to debunk Orientalist myths in particular that historical encounters between Islam and the West can be understood through a clash of civilisations framework. The author explores the specific historical and political contexts of this relationship from the Crusades to Obama providing a nuanced and extensive analysis. Kumar presents these arguments with a force and passion that is supported by a wealth of evidence. A must for scholars of Islam, social and political science and international relations."
—Elizabeth Poole, author of Reporting Islam: Media Representations of British Muslims

"In this remarkable primer Deepa Kumar expertly shows how racism is central to contemporary US imperial politics in ways similar to previous imperial wars, including the one that constituted the United States over the dead bodies of indigenous “redskins.” An antiracist and antiwar activist, as well as a model scholar-teacher, Kumar has written a comprehensive and most readable guide to exposing and opposing the hatred of Islam."
—Gilbert Achcar, Professor of Development Studies & International Relations, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

"Against the historical backdrop of the rise of pax Americana in a unipolar world, Deepa Kumar's Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire stands out as a powerful and comprehensive overview of Islamophobia, forcefully underscoring its role as a keystone to maintaining US political and economic power abroad while simultaneously managing American politics and critical dissent at home. Prof. Kumar meticulously maps historical developments within the formation of American Islamophobia and names the players, institutions and strategies central to the phenomenon, insightfully marking its permutations within Right wing civilizational discourses and the soft power and humanitarian discourses of American liberals."
—Stephen Sheehi, author of Islamophobia: The Ideological Campaign against Muslims

"Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire will be indispensable to anyone wanting to understand one of the most persistent forms of racism in the US and Europe. Kumar demonstrates that Islamophobic myths did not arise spontaneously after the end of the Cold War but are rooted in centuries of conquest and colonialism, from the Crusades to the 'War on Terror'. Arguing with precision and clarity, she shows how these myths have been systematically circulated by liberals as much as conservatives, and usefully lays bare the complex ways in which the US foreign policy establishment has, in different contexts, instrumentalized Islamic political movements and exploited anti-Muslim racism. Kumar's text will be a crucial corrective to those who fail to see that the origins of the 'Islam problem' lie in empire not sharia."
—Arun Kundnani, author of The End of Tolerance : Racism in 21st century Britain

"Deepa Kumar’s Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire is a comprehensive study of the system’s most recent choice of political scapegoat for its failings; the world’s one billion Muslims. Taking her cue from the ‘red scare’ persecution of the American left in the aftermath of World War One, she labels this latest phase of capitalist paranoia, ‘the green scare."
—Sean Ledwith, Counterfire