Khaled Beydoun discusses his book, "American Islamophobia: Understanding the Roots and Rise of Fear." He will be joined in conversation by Ifrah Magan. A Q/A and signing will follow the discussion.
Presented in partnership with the UChicago Muslim Students Association
At the Co-op
About the book: "I remember the four words that repeatedly scrolled across my mind after the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. ‘Please don’t be Muslims, please don’t be Muslims.’ The four words I whispered to myself on 9/11 reverberated through the mind of every Muslim American that day and every day after.… Our fear, and the collective breath or brace for the hateful backlash that ensued, symbolize the existential tightrope that defines Muslim American identity today.”
The term “Islamophobia” may be fairly new, but irrational fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims is anything but. Though many speak of Islamophobia’s roots in racism, have we considered how anti-Muslim rhetoric is rooted in our legal system?
Using his unique lens as a critical race theorist and law professor, Khaled A. Beydoun captures the many ways in which law, policy, and official state rhetoric have fueled the frightening resurgence of Islamophobia in the United States. Beydoun charts its long and terrible history, from the plight of enslaved African Muslims in the antebellum South and the laws prohibiting Muslim immigrants from becoming citizens to the ways the war on terror assigns blame for any terrorist act to Islam and the myriad trials Muslim Americans face in the Trump era. He passionately argues that by failing to frame Islamophobia as a system of bigotry endorsed and emboldened by law and carried out by government actors, U.S. society ignores the injury it inflicts on both Muslims and non-Muslims. Through the stories of Muslim Americans who have experienced Islamophobia across various racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines, Beydoun shares how U.S. laws shatter lives, whether directly or inadvertently. And with an eye toward benefiting society as a whole, he recommends ways for Muslim Americans and their allies to build coalitions with other groups. Like no book before it, "American Islamophobia" offers a robust and genuine portrait of Muslim America then and now.
About the author: Khaled A. Beydoun is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, and Senior Affiliated Faculty at the University of California-Berkeley Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project.
A Critical Race Theorist, Professor Beydoun’s research examines the legal construction of Arab and Muslim American identity, the foundational and modern development of Islamophobia, and the intersection of national security policy, civil liberties and citizenship. A leading scholar on legal matters germane to civil rights and Muslim America, Professor Beydoun’s scholarship has been featured in top law journals, including: the Columbia Law Review, the California Law Review, the UCLA Law Review, the Harvard Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review, and the Illinois Law Review. His book, "Islamophobia: An American Story" (Univ. of California Press), will be released in early 2018.
Complimenting his legal research and scholarship, Professor Beydoun is an active public intellectual. In addition to his regular commentary in Al-Jazeera English, Professor Beydoun’s insight has been featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Time, Salon, and ESPN; and television and radio news programming including CNN, the BBC, Fox, NBC and ABC News. In addition, Professor Beydoun has served as a consultant for the U.S. Census Bureau, the African American Policy Forum, and a number of colleges and universities. Professor Beydoun also serves on the U.S. Commission for Civil Rights, appointed to serve on the Michigan State Committee in 2017.