Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire

Reviews | Book Launch VideoPraise

In response to the events of 9/11, the Bush administration launched a “war on terror” ushering in an era of anti-Muslim racism, or Islamophobia. However, 9/11 alone did not create Islamophobia. This book examines the current backlash within the context of Islamophobia’s origins in the historic relationship between East and West. It has been translated into Arabic, Turkish and Indonesian.



“Deepa Kumar’s Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire could not be more timely. In this deftly argued book, Kumar unearths a genealogy of colonial construction that goes back to the earliest contacts between Muslims and Europeans. But the real power of her argument is when she grabs the politics of ideological domination by the throat and, with an astonishing moral and intellectual force, sets the record straight as to who and what the players are in turning a pathological fear of Muslims into a cornerstone of imperial hegemony. This is a must read on both sides of the Atlantic, where from mass murderers in Europe to military professors at the US military academies are in the business of manufacturing fictive enemies out of their fanciful delusions. Deepa Kumar has performed a vital public service.”

–– Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University, and author, The Arab Spring: The End of Postcolonialism

This important book sets out to debunk Orientalist myths in particular that historical encounters between Islam and the West can be understood through a clash of civilisations framework. The author explores the specific historical and political contexts of this relationship from the Crusades to Obama providing a nuanced and extensive analysis. Kumar presents these arguments with a force and passion that is supported by a wealth of evidence. A must for scholars of Islam, social and political science and international relations

–– Elizabeth Poole, author, Reporting Islam: Media Representations of British Muslims

“In this remarkable primer Deepa Kumar expertly shows how racism is central to contemporary US imperial politics in ways similar to previous imperial wars, including the one that constituted the United States over the dead bodies of indigenous “redskins.” An antiracist and antiwar activist, as well as a model scholar-teacher, Kumar has written a comprehensive and most readable guide to exposing and opposing the hatred of Islam.”

–– Gilbert Achcar, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and author, The Arabs and the Holocaust

“Against the historical backdrop of the rise of pax Americana in a unipolar world, Deepa Kumar’s Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire stands out as a powerful and comprehensive overview of Islamophobia, forcefully underscoring its role as a keystone to maintaining US political and economic power abroad while simultaneously managing American politics and critical dissent at home. Prof. Kumar meticulously maps historical developments within the formation of American Islamophobia and names the players, institutions and strategies central to the phenomenon, insightfully marking its permutations within Right wing civilizational discourses and the soft power and humanitarian discourses of American liberals.”

–– Stephen Sheehi, author, Islamophobia: The Ideological Campaign against Muslims

“Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire will be indispensable to anyone wanting to understand one of the most persistent forms of racism in the US and Europe. Kumar demonstrates that Islamophobic myths did not arise spontaneously after the end of the Cold War but are rooted in centuries of conquest and colonialism, from the Crusades to the ‘War on Terror’. Arguing with precision and clarity, she shows how these myths have been systematically circulated by liberals as much as conservatives, and usefully lays bare the complex ways in which the US foreign policy establishment has, in different contexts, instrumentalized Islamic political movements and exploited anti-Muslim racism. Kumar’s text will be a crucial corrective to those who fail to see that the origins of the ‘Islam problem’ lie in empire not sharia.”

–– Arun Kundnani, author, The End of Tolerance: Racism in 21st century Britain

This is a timely and crucial book. From historical roots to ideological causes, Islamophobia is studied in a holistic, profound and serious way. The reader will understand why we need to stop being both naive and blind. There will be no peaceful and just future in our democratic societies if we do not fight this new type of dangerous racism.

–– Tariq Ramadan, Oxford University

Book Reviews:

Middle East Monitor, by Iqbal Jassat (2015).

Marx and Philosophy, by Luis Cordiero Rodreguis (2014)

Dawn (Pakistan), cover story by Salman Hussain.

Erik Love (2013), “Beyond 9/11,” Contexts, 12:1, 70-72

International Socialist Review, Sofia Arias

Counterpunch by Ron Jacobs

Al Akhbar (Lebanon) by Laura Durkay

Counterfire (UK) by Sean Ledwith

Dissident Voice (Canada) by Kim Peterson (co-editor)

New Left Project (UK) by Tom Mills (co-editor)

The Times (Pakistan) by Azmat Abbas.

Cairo Review of the Books (Egypt) by Matthew Duss

Book Launch

Islamophobia Book Launch Video

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