Wednesday marked 12 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks. The attacks thrust radical Islam into the spotlight and arguably ushered in an era of Islamophobia. But do stereotypes about Muslims actually go back much further?
Dr. Deepa Kumar is an Associate Professor at Rutgers University and the author of the new book Isalmophobia. She’s presenting a lecture tonight on the University of Texas campus titled “Constructing the Muslim Enemy from the Crusades to 9/11.”
Kumar recently spoke with KUT. Here are some excerpts from that conversation:
- The Roots of the "Muslim Enemy":
"At various points in the relationship between the East and the West, this idea of a dangerous Muslim enemy has been mobilized by the political elite in order to justify political agendas. … So the first moment is in the 11th Century in the context of the Crusades."
- How the "Muslim Enemy" May Factor Into Resistance to Involvement in Syria:
"...There may be sections of the anti-war opinion that is also racist, that also says, 'Oh these brown people, we're simply tired of rescuing them,' and so on."
- Why Texas Should Teach About All Radical Faith & Terrorism:
"I absolutely think that students should be taught about radical Islam. But the way in which to have this conversation is to have it in the context of how, over the last three decades of the 20th Century, we have seen not only a rise of Islamic fundamentalism, we have seen a rise of Christian fundamentalism, we have seen a rise of Hindu fundamentalism, we have seen a rise of Jewish fundamentalism."
- One Thing People Should Know About Muslims:
"Muslims are human beings just like anybody else. … De-humanization is the first step in violence against any group of people and we have to militate against that and understand that Muslims are just like everyone else."
Check out the extended interview for more from Dr. Kumar:
You can see Deepa Kumar deliver her lecture, “Constructing the Muslim Enemy from the Crusades to 9/11” at the Avaya Auditorium inside the Applied Computational Engineering and Sciences Building, 201 E. 24th St. on the University of Texas campus. The event begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.