Comparing Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: The State of the Field

An article by Farid Hafez, University of Salzburg, published in ISLAMOPHOBIA STUDIES JOURNAL VOLUME 3, NO. 2, Spring 2016, PP. 16-34.

ABSTRACT
In the European public discourse on Islamophobia, comparisons of antiSemitism and Islamophobia have provoked heated debates. The academic discourse has also touched on this issue, an example being the works of Edward Said, where he alludes to connections between anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Following the 2003 publication of the Islamophobia report produced by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), which discusses the similarities between Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, scholars in various fields began a debate that compares and contrasts anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Participants in this debate include Matti Bunzl, Brian Klug, Sabine Schiffer, Nasar Meer, Wolfgang Benz, and many others. To some degree, the academias of the German- and English-speaking worlds have conducted this discourse separately. This paper surveys, to a degree, the state of the field of the comparative approach to studying Islamophobia and anti-Semitism as a pair, and also presents some central topoi and associated questions. It aims to highlight primary insights that have been gained from such a comparison, including how this comparison has been discussed and criticized, and what similarities and differences have been identified on which levels. It questions which epistemological assumptions were made in taking such a comparative approach, and which political discourses—especially regarding the Holocaust and the conflict in Israel/Palestine (which are not part of this discussion)—have shaped this debate in many forums, including academia. Furthermore, this paper discusses which possible aspects of comparative research on anti-Semitism and Islamophobia have not yet been explored, and where there could perhaps lay more possibilities for further investigation.

Read more
Hafez, Farid. “Comparing Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: The State of the Field.” Islamophobia Studies Journal, Volume 3, No. 2 (Spring 2016): 16-34.

 

Tariq Ramadan’s interpretation of Pope Benedict XVI

*
POPE BENEDICT XVI: SUMMING UP
*CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS SERIOUS PROBLEMS

*
Tuesday, 5 March 2013*

It can only be hoped that the next pope will be better fitted to
grasp the great issues of the day.

Pope Benedict will not have left his mark on history quite as
decisively as his predecessor, John Paul II. The latter’s name
will live after him as an exemplar of openness, of service to
humanity and of dialogue with the world’s spiritual and
religious traditions. When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope
eight years ago, it was expected that he would reaffirm the
central position of dogma, of the principles and the laws of the
Roman Catholic Church. He brought with him a reputation for
theological rigour, strictness in matters of doctrine and
practice, and an inflexible attitude toward other Christian
traditions and other religions. The Church was Truth, and must
reaffirm that truth with clarity and courage. This reaffirmation
was the foundation stone of his conception of the papal function.

The outgoing pope’s great knowledge of theology must of course
be recognised, as must his genuine and sincere meditative
intelligence. He was above all fundamentally Catholic, a man of
profound conviction, driven by an ongoing fixation with
consistency. The first years of his papacy quickly revealed his
deficiencies as well as his qualities, as he learned to interact
with the world of media and communication. Benedict XVI emerged
as inward-turning, expressing himself as a theologian immersed
in texts and traditions; more than a few of his public
statements demonstrated a mixture of Catholic consistency and
media awkwardness. He, and his advisors and representatives,
were often forced to rephrase, explain or clarify a statement, a
formula, a speech. He was by no means a media pope, but a pope
of holy writ, more faithful to norms to be respected than guided
by the imperative of responding to contemporary challenges.

This same scrupulous consistency led him to positions that
proved difficult for the broader Christian family to accept. For
him, after all was said and done, the truth, and the only true
salvation, could not be envisaged outside the Catholic church.

Dialogue with the Protestants, the Orthodox or other Christian
churches were, of course, both necessary and positive but he
could never forget that one imperative. It came as no surprise
that he approached dialogue with the Jewish and Muslim
monotheistic traditions, and beyond them, Hinduism and Buddhism,
with the same consistency: as spiritual traditions, and as
religions, they might well contain an element of truth, but they
could never represent a pathway to the salvation of souls.

Dialogue might well focus on shared ethical principles,
respective practices and social realities, but under no
circumstances could any doubt be cast upon the truth that in his
eyes the Catholic church alone possessed and incarnated: a
position that seemed logical enough to those within, but
logically—and dogmatically—exclusivist when seen from without.
So it was that the pope came to stand for the fraught and
close-minded consistency of the dogmatist. It came as no
surprise that interfaith dialogue was biased, diluted, all but
useless except as an adjunct to missionary competition or the
comparison of positive and negative practices.

It is in this light that his lecture at Ravensburg University in
2006 should be understood. His reading of European history was
charged with fears about the modern era. For him, two threats
loomed over the continent: secularisation that drives religion —
as faith, rules and hopes — to the margins of society, and the
arrival of Muslims whose numbers, practices and growing
visibility represented, for him, a major challenge for the
Catholic church.

Forcefully, rather clumsily and with historical inaccuracy, Pope
Benedict XVI asserted Europe’s Greek and Christian roots. His
insistence on rereading the past, on reducing the cultural
origins of Europe to the Hellenic rationalist tradition and the
Christian faith, were designed to reaffirm European identity.
While millions of Muslim citizens live in Europe they remain
foreign to Europe’s deep identity, which must be affirmed,
defended and protected.

Historical truth is another matter, of course. Islam, like
Judaism, is part and parcel of the European soul, a soul shaped
by their thinkers, philosophers, architects and authors, their
artists and merchants. Islam is, historically and
contemporaneously, a European religion; the pope’s remarks must
be viewed through the prism of fear, fear of the Muslim
presence, and driven by the urge to revitalise missionary
activity in the very heart of Europe.

Benedict XVI viewed interfaith dialogue through the same prism.
In the course of our encounters, the last one in Rome in 2009,
it proved impossible to broach theological fundamentals and
principles: the discussion quickly turned to our respective
practices, and to the treatment of Christian minorities in the
Orient.

Of course we could point to shared values, but even then,
dialogue rapidly veered off into comparisons, reciprocity, and
even competition. Debate on the treatment of Eastern Christians
cannot and must not be avoided; discrimination is a fact and
Muslims must respond in full candour, but this cannot become a
pretext for shirking fundamental theological questions, or, more
generally, the obligation to place things in their proper
historical and political context.

The fact that the rights of Muslims are often better protected
in the secular West has very little to do with Christianity,
just as occasional discrimination in Muslim-majority societies
cannot be attributed to certain interpretations of Islam alone.
It is impossible to disregard the political and historical
factors that go well beyond strict interfaith dialogue. To
confine dialogue—with other religions in general and with Islam
in particular — to missionary posturing (against the “threat” of
Islam in the West) and systematic criticism (underlining the
contradictions of Muslim majority societies) can only deprive it
of its value and limit its potential for improving mutual
awareness and promoting fruitful, respectful, pro-active and
harmonious co-existence.

The church must face facts: it has a serious youth problem. The
final years of Pope John Paul II and the retirement, at 85, of
Benedict XVI symbolise an era: the church today seems frail, on
the defensive, far from the common people, stubbornly fixated on
principles that millions hear and few apply. The churches of
Europe, and more generally in the West, are emptying; those who
remain are increasingly old.

It can only be hoped that the next pope will possess
youthfulness of spirit combined with seriousness and theological
competence, that he will be better fitted to grasp the great
issues of the day, both within the Church and at the heart of
contemporary society. It can only be hoped that he will be
capable of articulating a less abrasive message, one more open
to other traditions; one that, even though the faithful quite
naturally understand it as the “truth,” never neglects dialogue
and mutual respect, all the while standing firmly for a
pluralist and inclusive West as the embodiment of the Catholic
message.

To the recognition of diversity within (the presence of other
Christian traditions) and without (the world’s other spiritual
traditions and religions) must be added full and open debate
within the church on rules and practices. The celibacy of
priests, the exclusion of women from the clerical hierarchy, the
acceptance of divorce, the use of contraception, or the ethical
response of the Catholic church to contemporary scientific and
technological issues are only a few of the questions to which
the incoming pope will be called upon to respond: not against
Catholic principles, but with the triple exigency of fidelity to
those principles, to the critical re-examination of the sources,
and to the acceptance of responsibility for the state of our world.

Every religious and spiritual tradition must submit itself to
the process of criticism and self-criticism. Such a process will
demand the full support of a Pope, of priests and competent,
self-assured, courageous and qualified representatives (rabbis
and ulama) of other faiths who will reject defensive attitudes
and accept that their first responsibility is to awaken minds
and hearts to the meaning of life and death, to the dignity of
beings in their diversity, and the affirmation of overarching
(universal and shared) goals that any society would neglect at
its risk. The church today awaits this message and pastoral
guidance, as do all of the world’s religious and spiritual
traditions.

Essay: Constructing the Self, Constructing the Other

In her essay US-Turkish philosopher Şeyla Benhabib criticises the current lack of any serious multicultural dialogue between the civilisations. Instead, European and US intellectuals continue to focus on “Islamo-fascism”, thereby blocking any constructive debate on Islam and migration in the West

Last year marked the 50th Anniversary German-Turkish Recruitment Agreement, when Turkish guest-workers began to arrive in Germany, and this was celebrated with big fanfare by Turkish and German politicians on all sides. But the ink had hardly dried on some of these articles and the speeches had hardly ended, when the immigrant community in Germany was shaken to their core because of a set of murders committed by a neo-Nazi terrorist cell from the east German town of Zwickau, disregardfully referred to with the phrase “Döner-murders”.

These so-called Döner-murders involved Turkish street vendors, some of them selling flowers, some of them selling Döners. The murders were committed in the years from 2000 to 2006 but came to light only in the spring of 2011. This reminded the immigrant community – now going on to 60 years of presence in unified Germany – of the arson attack in Moelln in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, in which three Turkish women in were killed in 1992 when a house was set on fire and a grandmother and her grandchildren were burned down.

Multiculturalism in Europe

The recent victory of socialist François Hollande in France’s 2012 presidential election was certainly a turning point for the social and economic politics of France. Unfortunately, this is less true when it comes to immigration, race, and culture, evidenced by Hollande saying he would firmly support France’s ban on niqabs, or face-covering Islamic veils, and his stance against Turkish accession to the EU.

François Hollande has made clear that he will address the material conditions and worries of French citizens. But he has been quite silent on questions pertaining to cultural diversity and social cohesion, for the simple reason that he shares with Sarkozy the same conception of French national identity, defined as an abstract community of citizens bound together by principles of equality and liberty. In these conditions, the cultural and religious background of citizens is not part and should not interfere with civic solidarity and public life.

However, such an ideal has been increasingly difficult to uphold when Muslims, among other cultural and regional groups, are claiming their right to express their specificity in public space, which has in turn raised the anxiety and fears of a lot of French citizens. These fears have been the main reason for the long-standing political success of the National Front, from its founder Jean-Marie Le Pen to his daughter Marine, the current leader of the party . At the same time, Muslims of all colors and stripes keep asserting that there is no contradiction between being French and being a Muslim.

Nations or groups need to exist in opposition to an ‘Other,’ and in today’s national imagination, Islam plays that role. It may be impossible for societies to completely rid themselves of this polarizing rhetoric.

That said, societies differ in how much their political imaginations are subjected to open critical discussion. Accordingly, it is necessary for French politicians across the political spectrum to explicitly reject economic and social issues being linked to cultural issues or the ‘Islamization’ of Europe. It is also imperative for policymakers to change the dominant narrative of French national identity by including Islamic culture and history.

Such a change would involve a new education project where, from history to arts and culture, Muslims are not described as the Other. It means acknowledging the cross pollination of philosophical and scientific ideas as well as the multiple encounters of artists, merchants, clerics, and migrants from medieval times to the immigration waves after WWII. Most Muslims already acknowledge France as their home and have made numerous artistic and cultural contributions to the French ‘patrimoine.’ The challenge is to reshape French imagination so Muslims can be seen as legitimate fellow citizens.

 

Jocelyne Cesari, Research Fellow in Political Science and Director, Islam in the West Program, Harvard University

How are Muslim women doing in political cartoons?

Political cartoons are a powerful medium because, although they are not news, they facilitate the delivery of specific messages. Political cartoons work in two ways: they reflect particular ideas and/or aspects of pop culture, and they influence the audience’s own views. Due to their simple approach (drawings and funny dialogue), they are often more accessible than regular newspaper coverage or even TV.

Yet, because political cartoons tend to be a safe mode of expression, they can easily become influenced by gendered stereotypes. This is not because cartoonists are evil misogynists (although some might fit this description), but because they need to connect with particular cultural-accepted views on gender and gender relations. Women are treated differently than men, in that they tend to be taken less seriously, they rarely have agency, they are often hyper-sexualized and many times examined under a “virgin-whore” framework.

When it comes to Muslim women as represented in political cartoons catered to non-Muslim Western audiences, a few prevalent themes can be easily identified. I tend to collect political cartoons of Muslim women, posted on Facebook and elsewhere online. The themes I mention in this post are pretty representative of many other cartoons out there, and the images included here are just a sample. Muslim women seem to look the same, and usually wear hijabs, niqabs and/or abaayas (the blacker, the better!) When it comes to the niqab in political cartoons, it tends to serve the purpose of deleting the women’s presence, voice and agency. This resonates with the idea that niqabi women are already oppressed, so why depict them with an agency that they do not have?

Another theme present in political cartoons is the prevalent attention to Muslim women’s bodies. While Western women (such as female politicians) tend to be hyper-sexualized through sexy clothing, over-done makeup, and high heels, Muslim women are hyper-sexualized through the cartoonists’ obsession with their “exotic” way of covering. This reflects the “covered vs. uncovered” dichotomy that is often discussed in the Western media where uncovering is equated with freedom and covering with oppression (see Sex and the City 2). It is also commonly expressed that Muslim women’s bodies are not their own, but someone else’s (like the state, their male relatives, secular and religious institutions, or the media).

Room for Debate: Is Americans’ Religious Freedom Under Threat?

Companies have pulled their ads from a TV show that portrays Muslims as benign. Religious groups may be required to offer insurance that covers drugs that can induce abortions. A federal judge rejected a ballot initiative on same-sex marriage partly because of its religious arguments. Are these just bubbles in the American melting pot, or signs that religious freedom is under threat?

Thomas Farr and Timothy Shah, of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, organized this discussion.

Religion in the Public Square by Tim Shah and Thomas Farr

Is religious freedom under threat in America today? Yes and no. Compared to Eritrea, where the government habitually forces Pentecostals into unventilated shipping containers until they renounce their beliefs, American religious freedom is in very good shape. But comparative evils abroad are a poor reason to be complacent about liberty at home. Today, in fact, multiple threats warrant special vigilance.

Liberty Is Elusive for Sikh Americans by Rajdeep Singh

For religious minorities in the United States, the promise of religious freedom remains unfulfilled. Sikh Americans, in particular, continue to face relentless challenges in the post-9/11 environment. Worse still, American law affords inadequate protection to Sikhs against religious discrimination and, in some cases, reflects deep-seated stereotypes about American identity.

As American as Religious Persecution by Noah Feldman

Religious liberty has two parts: freedom to worship and freedom from discrimination on the basis of religion. On the first front, the United States is doing great – and has been since the 1700s, well before we even had the First Amendment. Religious dissenters, dissidents and schismatics have long seen the United States as their Canaan, Mecca or Valhalla. Large spaces and the need for immigrants gave birth to the American tradition of laissez faire in religion, and a principled commitment to toleration has firmed up this commitment derived at first from self-interest.

A Campaign Against Patriotic Muslims by Salman Al-Marayati

Yes, religious freedom for the Muslim American is under threat. Fear-mongering toward America’s Muslims and their faith is very clear. The Center for American Progress issued a report this year concluding that anti-Islam groups are financed by a $43 million industry. This garrison of Muslim-haters views Islam as either a theological or political threat in the United States, and their work is reminiscent of the pre-Nazi propaganda produced by Wilhelm Marr that regarded Judaism as a threat to Germany.

Recently, a reality TV show called “All-American Muslim” was aired on TLC, and it became a controversy because it did not include a terrorist. Advertisers are being pressured to pull their support because the show was “offensive.” In other words, Islam cannot be defined by the mainstream in America. It must be defined through the lens of extremism.
Popular books about Islam in bookstores are “The Trouble With Islam Today” and “Why I Am Not a Muslim.” Law enforcement officials are being trained by anti-Muslim bigots so that profiling of Muslims is the norm. Hate against Muslim children in elementary and secondary schools is on the rise.

Human Rights vs. Religious Freedom? By Helen Alvare

Skepticism about the good of religious liberty is growing. Recently, the federal government stopped working with experienced, highly regarded agencies whose religious conscience prevented their providing abortions or contraception; federal employees said they awarded grants instead to lesser-ranked providers. Under proposed federal health care mandates, almost no religious employers would be exempt from providing insurance that covers contraception, including forms that function as early abortifacients; only organizations that primarily serve and hire co-believers qualify for the exemption. Commentators accurately quipped that the ministries of Jesus Christ and Mother Teresa would not qualify. The rhetoric accompanying these moves is hyberbolic: Representative Nancy Pelosi accused Catholic institutions of a willingness to let women “die on the floor.”

Federal Law, at Least, Is on Our Side by Hamza Yusuf

My friend, Cheikhna bin Mahfudh, was about to fly from Los Angeles to San Francisco recently and needed a quiet spot for his noontime Muslim prayer. Fortunately, his business class ticket gave him access to an exclusive airport lounge. Just when he was about done praying, which involves four units of standing, bowing and prostrating, and can look like yoga to the uninitiated, an employee came up to him and said, “Sir, it is not permissible to pray here!” He replied: “I was just exercising. Is that a problem?” The bemused man then said: “Oh, sorry. I thought you were praying.”

Public space is sacred in America. It has the sanctity of that small space you carve out on the grocery checkout conveyor belt, where the little bar you set down lets others know that they cross that line with consequences. We don’t like it when others don’t conform, when they deviate from the norm, and when they do, we become flustered.

A Risk Even for the Majority by Winnifred Fallers Sullivan

Asking whether religious freedom is under threat implies that we know what religious freedom is. Religious freedom has multiple histories and is understood differently in different times and places. For example, for some today, religious freedom connotes the possibility of an individual to believe or not as she chooses and to act consistently with that belief within the bounds of law. For others, religious freedom implies the right of religious communities to a degree of autonomy or self-governance. A few would argue that religious freedom demands withdrawal and separation from a larger society so as to enable a common way of life. Still others would say that the priority today should be religious coexistence, rather than freedom; that freedom is a misguided goal, whether for individuals or communities, the appropriate goal being to live with difference and without conflict. And of course, to enforce any version of religious freedom also requires a determination as to what counts as religion.

Falling Short of Our Ideals by Michael Mconnel

This nation was founded on the principle of freedom of religion – the right of individuals, families, churches and voluntary religious associations of all sorts to live their lives in accordance with their own understanding of God’s will. That commitment remains strong today.

But our practice often has fallen short of the ideal, as Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims and others could attest.

Five myths about Muslims in America

By Feisal Abdul Rauf, Published: April 1, 2011

I founded the multi-faith Cordoba Initiative to fight the misunderstandings that broaden the divide between Islam and the West — each perceived as harmful by the other. Millions of American Muslims, who see no contradiction between being American and being Muslim, are working hard to bridge this gap. It is therefore not surprising that they have become the target of attacks by those who would rather burn bridges than build them, and the subject of recent congressional hearings exploring their “radicalization.”
What myths are behind the entrenched beliefs that Muslims simply do not belong in the United States and that they threaten its security?

1. American Muslims are foreigners
2. American Muslims are ethnically, culturally and politically monolithic.
3. American Muslims oppress women.
4. American Muslims often become “homegrown” terrorists.
5. American Muslims want to bring sharia law to the United States

10th Anniversary of 9/11 and Muslim Americans: the Need for a New Narrative

John L. Esposito and Mona Mogahed

While post-9/11 resulted in necessary Western government responses to counter international and domestic terrorism, this tragic event has been widely exploited by far-right neocons, hardline Christian Zionist Right and xenophobic forces. Islam and mainstream Muslims have been brush-stroked with “terrorism,” equated with the actions of a fraction of violent extremists. Major polls by Gallup, PEW and others reported the extent to which many Americans and Europeans had and have a problem not only with terrorists but also with Islam and all Muslims.

It is truly time for a new narrative, one that is informed by facts, and that is data-driven, to replace the shrill voices of militant Muslim bashers and opportunistic politicians chasing funds and votes. Key findings from the recently released Abu Dhabi Gallup Report, Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future, offer data that provide a good starting point — a very different picture of Muslims in America today.

This September 11th provides an opportunity to remember the past but also to recognize that truth is stranger than fiction, the fiction constructed by preachers of hate whose fear-mongering has infected our popular culture and society. Now is the time to reassess and rebuild our national unity on the facts.

Euro-Islam Special: A MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR A GREATER INCLUSION OF ISLAM IN THE UNITED STATES?

Jocelyne Cesari
Director of the Islam in the West Program
MINERVA Chair, National War College
jcesari@fas.harvard.edu

With the contentious Congressional hearings on the “radicalization in the American Muslim Community” now open, there is an opportunity to reflect on how fear can tear at American security and social cohesion.

Hearing supporters cite an increase in the last two years of the number of Muslim-Americans indicted for terrorism-related charges. This includes well-known figures like Fort Hood murderer Major Nidal Malik Hasan, Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, and Colleen LaRose, a.k.a. “Jihad Jane.”

Despite this rise, hearing opponents insist that the number of violent extremism acts planned or conducted by Muslims remains negligible. A study published February 2 2011 by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security in Durham, N.C. shows that from September 11, 2001 to the end of 2010, the number of Muslim-Americans involved in terrorist plots against domestic targets remains quite low at 70. Brian Jenkins, a senior terrorism expert with the RAND Corporation, documented 46 cases of domestic radicalization between September 11, 2001 and December 2009.
Hearing supporters, however, counter that the quantity of the attacks does not reflect the potential destruction that some Muslim terrorists seek. In other words, it’s not the number of perpetrators, but the potential destruction, that is so worrisome.

It can also be argued that hearing proponents base their support for the hearings on the false assumption that practicing Muslims are a danger for American society. But most data, including a 2007 poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, and a 2009 Gallup survey, suggest the opposite: that Islamic religiosity and cultural identification are not obstacles to loyalty to America, but vehicles to civic engagement. Not surprisingly, these attitudes are consistent with those of practicing members of other religious groups. Moreover, the current discussion on religion and loyalty should not revolve solely around mosques, as surveys also show that a majority of Muslim-Americans do not even attend mosques.

For these hearings to have any positive outcome, a more efficient approach would be to move the core of the discussion to: how to include Islam and Muslims in our nation’s narrative? This is work that needs to be done, first and foremost, by America’s leaders, as well as the media, civic and religious groups, and individual members of society. As New York Times columnist Bob Hebert wrote on March 8, “(T)here have always been people willing to stand up boldly and courageously against such injustice.”

On March 10, the hearings provided a platform for at least two individuals who used the occasion to weave Muslims in the American narrative. In his testimony, Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, tearfully etched into America’s consciousness the story of Salman Ahmad, a Muslim paramedic and New York Police Officer cadet killed trying to help fellow New Yorkers on 9/11. Giving Muslims a historical hug, Congressman Brian Higgins, a Catholic, stated in his remarks that America’s tradition is not just “Christian-Judeo,” but “Christian-Judeo-Islamic.”

This is not empty feel-good talk, but the prefiguration of how historical references can be used to achieve symbolic integration and counter the dominant narrative that tends to present Islam and Muslims as an alien religion.

Updating a national narrative is a huge political and symbolic task, something equivalent to the effort that led to the integration of the African American and Native American past into the dominant American narrative. This could be accomplished by telling the stories of the estimated 10 percent of all African slaves brought to the United States who were Muslim, or the long-standing presence of Islam within several ethnic and cultural communities, and the hybridization of Islam to the American pop culture. What better antidote to the shadow of Bin Laden than Malcolm X?
Unless the hearings are the first step to such a discussion, they will offer little help to either reducing the risk of radicalism or increasing American cohesion. If they move us closer to a more inclusive narrative, then something will have been accomplished.

Historical Events and Spaces of Hate: Hate Crimes against Arabs and Muslims in Post-9/11 America

Ilir Disha, James C. Cavendish and Ryan D. King

Social Problems
Vol. 58, No. 1 (February 2011), pp. 21-46
(article consists of 26 pages)

Abstract:
This research investigates variation in hate crime offending against Arabs and Muslims across U.S. counties in the months before and after September 11, 2001. Four questions are of particular interest. First, what were the determinants of anti-Arab and Muslim hate crimes prior to 9/11? Second, in what social contexts were Arabs and Muslims at greatest risk of victimization? Third, to what extent did hate crimes against these groups increase after the terrorist attacks? And last, did the predictors of hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims change appreciably after 9/11? Findings show that hate crimes targeting Arabs and Muslims increased dramatically in the months following 9/11, although the structural determinants and geographic concentration of these crimes remained largely consistent after the attacks. Negative binomial regression results further suggest that counties with larger concentrations of Arabs and Muslims have higher incidents of such hate crimes, which likely reflects the availability of targets for this type of offending. At the same time, the likelihood of victimization for a given Arab or Muslim person is lowest in counties where the percent Arab or percent Muslim is highest, in line with a power-differential perspective on discrimination and intergroup violence. The findings imply that terrorist attacks may indeed incite retaliation and set off a wave of hate crime offending, but the location of these crimes is likely to remain consistent after a galvanizing event.