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The Mainstreaming of Islamaphobia

The Mainstreaming of Islamaphobia

By J.F. Sullivan….
While the 9/11 attacks are likely the dominant catalyst, it may be more appropriate to mark the mainstreaming of Islamaphobia with the emergence of Pamela Geller and the Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) group in 2010. Their provocative ads, purported to protect Muslim converts to Christianity, read, “Leaving Islam? Fatwa on your head? Is your family threatening you?” Their campaign was only a small part of what could be viewed as a larger response to the proposed Park 51 complex also known as Cordoba House and the Ground Zero Mosque.

Going to a Tea Party with Paul Revere and Jesus

Going to a Tea Party with Paul Revere and Jesus

By J.F. Sullivan….
This has been an odd year for history, politics and religion. While Sarah Palin has provided the media and the rest of the country with many gems, the recent spate of mangled metaphors has illuminated what appears to be something of trend, if not a new strategy when history and religion are combined. The development of alphabetic literacy (writing with vowels) by the ancient Greeks allowed speech to be directly represented. As a result, reality could be recorded, communicated and preserved in this new form. While originally intended to aid in memory and recall, it instead helped to create a repository (books and scrolls) where information could be stored, not only preserving it, but eventually creating a collection that exceeded anyone’s ability to memorize. By writing something down, it indeed preserved it, but it also allowed the possibility for comparison, which helped to create the concept of history as fact.

A Defense of Romanticism

A Defense of Romanticism

By J.F. Sullivan….
What Jones points out is that in the attempt to respond to the Orientalism that Said illuminated, we may have thrown the baby out with the bath water. While Jones treats Said more harshly than I think he deserves, the point is well taken. Does romanticism play a role in cultural understanding which helps to alleviate phobias and stereotypes? I would argue that it does. Romanticism is not history and was never intended to be taken literally or understood to be historically accurate. What it does do is inspire. Many who would go on to become some of the greatest of Orientalist scholars were raised on a diet of travel writing, art, and fantastic and exotic stories about the oriental world (again primarily the Middle East)

The Problem of Identity

The Problem of Identity

Originating in the Hebrew Bible, The Ten Commandments were later adopted by the other scriptural monotheists in the Abraham tradition: Christianity and Islam. I Am, more than simply a concept of self, imparts a sense of identity. The concept of identity for the Hebrews, early Christians or Muslims may have been more community oriented, with God being the primary holder of individualistic identity, but in the modern post-Enlightenment world, identity has become multiple and individual.

"Traces of the Calligrapher"

“Traces of the Calligrapher”

By J.F. Sullivan From the post-9/11 fear of Islamic terrorists to the most recent flap over the Cordoba House and the proposed Qur’an burning event, there is a growing trend that has conflated almost anything Islamic or Arabic, religious or cultural, into a single negatively perceived monolith.  It is against this backdrop that Emory University’s Michael […]

Gunfight at the…Our Lady of Peace?

Gunfight at the…Our Lady of Peace?

While others can ponder the social and theological implications of the law, there is a religio-political aspect of this law that seems to have been overlooked—holy ground. The concept of the church functioning as holy ground or sanctuary has been around for as long as the concept of sacred space.

Touchdown Zeus!

Touchdown Zeus!

On Monday, June 14th, lightning struck and burned a 62-foot statue of Jesus in Monroe, OH. The statue was nicknamed “Touchdown Jesus” because of its raised arms. So is the lightning-wielding Olympian God Zeus finally getting some payback after the destruction of his own statue by Christians in the fifth century BCE? Or, is this a statement from some other god unhappy with monotheistic dominance?

The Muslims Are Coming!

The Muslims Are Coming!

Whether intentional or not, “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” plugged into an already existing anti-Muslim sensibility in America that has been smoldering after its initial wave following 9/11. The issue at the heart of these challenges is identity. For many people, America is a heterosexual, white Christian male. When that image begins to change, people begin to react in opposition to that change, while others embrace it.

fatwaPhobia

fatwaPhobia

No one likes their religion being skewered, so some response is always expected, but groups within Islam seem to present their tradition as a special case, not only for their intense reaction to any negativity surrounding their religion, but the consistent appeal to violent response.