Islamophobia in America: The Anatomy of Intolerance


Northwest Vista College, UNITED STATES


Islamophobia in America, Carl W. ERNST ,


Islamophobia, a form of “othering” that is a potential topic of study in post-secondary cultural geography classes, has a long history in the United States and Europe. It is a substantially complex topic to understand, especially for those with no personal experience with Islam. Yet it is through “shallow and sensationalist journalistic accounts” (Hammer & Safi, 2013, p. 9) that many people obtain their information about Islam and Muslims. Considerable understanding of socio-cultural values, negative social out-group attitudes, bigotry, xenophobia, and nationalism are some of the factors contributing to what might be termed the new racism of this century. Carl W. Ernst has edited an easy to follow, yet substantive, book of five chapters by six authors that spans the history of Islamophobia to gendered Islamophobia, to potential solutions for dealing with issues of Islamophobia as found in Detroit, Michigan. Contributing Anthropology Professor Andrew Shryock posits his perspective that Islamophobia is more than fear and hatred of Muslims; rather it is grounded in the vagueness of our hegemonic models of what it means to be an American and how our national identities are formed (2013). While this book is America-centric, which in this case is in reference to the United States of America, the history of Islam and international comparisons throughout make it worthwhile for any of us striving to teach for an understanding of what cultural geography is and how mixophobia creates the nature of the places in which we live (Anderson, 2010).