If you only read one thing this week…

“The Muslim presence in the racist mind” by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
June 28, 2007, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Articles, If you only have 15 mins, Megatrend

Arshin Adib-Moghaddam (a Junior Research Fellow in International Relations and Conflict Resolution in the Middle East at Oxford University) recently published a controversial article in Monthly Review here about the “collective transmutation of the transitory mood of anger after 11 September into hatred channeled primarily towards the Islamic worlds… [and] … the dangers of mobilising collective passions for political ends and the dichotomisation of the world into good and evil… As a result of this massive upsurge of anti-Islamic sentiments, Muslims are simply not judged as individuals anymore. Their very presence calls for management strategies.

His question is “How can we not differentiate between such disparate objects of analysis as the very real threat of a transnational terrorist sect, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, and the Muslim next door? Why this tendency to subsume everything under one mnemonic?

Writing again in the Monthly Review here, “Huntington’s thesis and the dar al-Islamdar al-harb (house of Islam) versus (house of war, forces of evil) dichotomy employed by some neo-fundamentalist scholars in Muslim societies? Both dichotomies, “Islam versus infidels” and “the West versus the Rest,” are intended to enforce categories and draw strict boundaries between supposedly incompatible worldviews. They form a “Janus-faced” intersubjective relationship: the two faces of a body of absolutist thought looking away from each other by necessity of their immanent constitution. The two faces need each other because the “other” is what determines the self.

Is he right?


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