Islamophobia Studies Journal Latest Issues

Below you can find the table of contents for the latest issues of Islamophobia Studies. All articles are Open Access and links to each article are provided below. The journal is hosted on Science Open and can be found here to read online. 

Preface: The Techno-Logics of Digital Islamophobia

Sarah Sharma

McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Introduction: Transnational Feminism in a Time of Digital Islamophobia

Zeinab Farokhi

University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Yasmin Jiwani

Concordia University, Montréal, Quebec, Canada

Cyber Homo Sacer: A Critical Analysis of Cyber Islamophobia in the Wake of the Muslim Ban

Zeinab Farokhi

University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

ABSTRACT: This article takes up Giorgio Agamben’s formulation of “bare life” (1998) and applies it to the contemporary perpetuation of violent Islamophobia in online spaces, producing what I term a figuration of the (Muslim) cyber homo sacer. Particularly focusing upon the proliferation of virulent, anti-Muslim rhetoric and discourse on Twitter, I follow the hashtags #Muslimban and #BanMuslim to demonstrate how Agamben’s concepts of homo sacer, state of exception, and the camp—though with important differences—helpfully illuminate the ways in which current Islamophobic and anti-Muslim sentiment online can be understand as a refiguration of Muslims as bodies which exist in a state of in-betweenness. In this “state of exception,” Muslims become more vulnerable to verbal, emotional, psychic, and ultimately physical violence, at the same time as they become less recognizable to the policies and laws which should, ostensibly, protect them.

Keywords: Muslim Ban, Cyber Islamophobia, bare life, Homo Sacer, Giorgio Agamben, state of exception


The Virtual Killing of Muslims: Digital War Games, Islamophobia, and the Global War on Terror

Tanner Mirrlees

Ontario Tech University, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

 Taha Ibaid

Independent Researcher, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

ABSTRACT: This article argues that digital war games communicate misleading stereotypes about Muslims that prop up patriarchal militarism and Islamophobia in the context of the US-led Global War on Terror. The article’s first section establishes the relevance of the study of digital war games to feminist games studies, feminist international relations, and post-colonial feminism. The second section contextualizes the contemporary production and consumption of digital war games with regard to the “military-digital-games complex” and real and simulated military violence against Muslims, focusing especially on the US military deployment of digital war games to train soldiers to kill in real wars across Muslim majority countries. The third section probes “mythical Muslim” stereotypes in ten popular digital war games released between 2001 and 2012: Conflict: Desert Storm (2002), Conflict: Desert Storm 2 (2003), SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs (2002), Full Spectrum Warrior (2004), Close Combat: First to Fight (2005), Battlefield 3 (2011), Army of Two (2008), Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007), Medal of Honor (2010), and Medal of Honor: Warfighter (2012). These games immerse players in patriarchal fantasies of “militarized masculinity” and place a “mythical Muslim” before their weaponized gaze to be virtually killed in the name of US and global security. The conclusion discusses the stakes of the stereotyping and othering of Muslims by digital war games, and highlights some challenges to Islamophobia in the digital games industry.

Keywords: feminism, Empire, war, militainment, digital war games, Islamophobia, anti-Muslim stereotypes


Gendered Islamophobia in the Case of the Returning ISIS Women: A Canadian Narrative

Yasmin Jiwani

Concordia University, Montréal, Québec, Canada

ABSTRACT: In February 2019, the case of Shamima Begum, hit the headlines. Begum, one of the three East London girls who had left the UK for Syria in 2015, was located in a refugee camp in Syria. Tagged as an “ISIS bride,” Begum’s case raised the profile of Muslim women who had voluntarily left their home countries to join the Islamic State and were now seeking to return. In this paper, I focus on the Canadian women returnees who were and, in some cases, remain wives of ISIS soldiers. I pay particular attention to how they are framed in the Canadian media and the audience response to their portrayals. Against a backdrop of the media’s representation of these women, I examine the comments that audience members posted after a three-part series on the returning ISIS members was broadcast on the Global Television Network during the month of October 2018. Global TV is a 24/7 news channel that can be streamed online on various platforms. I contend that the construction of the returning wives and the responses the series elicited are reflective of the larger currents of racism and Islamophobia that circulate within Canadian society and that have become amplified since the inception of the War on Terror. However, they take on a distinct hue with respect to the framing of gendered agency and critically heighten the affective charge around the issue of returning ISIS fighters and the women who joined the movement. In this sense, the technology making online commenting possible has escalated the extent and intensity of Islamophobia. This article also seeks to demonstrate how Islamophobia is yoked to and animates an anti-government discourse. Thus, in contrast to Canada’s projected national image as a benign, multicultural nation, the user-generated comments paint a picture of a white nation that is overrun with and taken advantage of by racialized minorities.

Keywords: ISIS brides, Canada, Global News, Islamophobia, Muslim women, user-generated comments, Online hate, Canadian TV news


Claiming our Space: Muslim Women, Activism, and Social Media

Faiza Hirji

Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies
and Multimedia, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada

ABSTRACT: This paper addresses the ways in which Muslim women seek to employ online media, particularly social media, to reclaim narratives around space, embodiment, and power. I argue that digital space is, like any other form of media, structured essentially by racism and patriarchy, but I also note the crucial potential for resistance exhibited by Muslim activists such as political leaders Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, Instagram influencer Ayesha Malik, and the largely anonymous women who participated in #MosqueMeToo, encouraged by the journalist and activist Mona Eltahawy. I draw upon a post/anti-colonial feminist framework and the tools of critical discourse analysis in examining specific instances where such women perform acts of resistance that, in turn, trigger a gendered and raced reaction. I note the ways in which some Muslim women, such as Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed, are constructed as media heroes, given that their stories can be co-opted to validate notions of the white colonial savior, while others directly challenge narratives of colonialism and oppression and are thus subjected to backlash. I point to the ways in which some of this vitriol continues to refer back to the notion that Muslim women should be silent, and to the fetishized Muslim woman’s body: how it should look, where it can/should go, and what can be done to it.

Keywords: Islamophobia, feminism, transnational activism, digital media, Muslim women, social media


The Poetry of Suheir Hammad: Transnational Interventions in the Age of Islamophobia and Digital Media

Kenza Oumlil

Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco

ABSTRACT: Given the negative and limited representations of Muslims and Palestinians, and the central role that women play in this spectrum of dominant representations, this article takes interest in the possibilities of circulating dissent and alternative portrayals through digital media. Taking interest in the poetry of Palestinian-American poet Suheir Hammad, which vibrantly emerged in the digital public sphere in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, this analysis focuses on Hammad’s digital interventions to challenge Islamophobia and other forms of discursive and material domination. Based on a textual analysis of Hammad’s poetry, this article is also informed by a semi-structured interview conducted with the artist, as well as other information available in the public domain. This analysis reveals that digital media play an important role in increasing Hammad’s ability to circulate her art to a wider audience. Building bridges across multiple communities and positions of marginality transnationally, Hammad’s work attempts to challenge dominant Islamophobic and gendered discourses about identity. However, similarly to other “minority” artists, “talking back” (hooks 1989) to dominant discourses requires a performativity of identity, and is at the same time anchored to the motivation to unsettle essentialist understandings of identity. Through her writings and poetry performances archived online, Hammad highlights the complexity of identity and reveals both how racialization is socially constructed and the racial ambiguity of Islamophobia. While acknowledging the discursive formation of identity, Hammad’s work also underscores the real, material consequences of discourses of fear and hate in order to regain some agency and symbolic power.

Keywords: Suheir Hammad, Islamophobia, digital media, transnational, poetry

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