News Release

Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire


DEEPA KUMAR, dekumar at, @ProfessorKumar
Kumar is professor of media studies at Rutgers University and author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire: Twenty Years after 9/11See book launch event.

She just wrote the piece “Afghan Women Betrayed: The Legacy of Imperial Feminism.” She also wrote the article “Bias Against Muslims Must End,” which states: “In the 2016 election, Donald Trump ran on a racist, anti-immigrant platform that was central to his victory. Then he passed the Muslim ban as sop to his supporters. But even before Trump, anti-Muslim racism had already become institutionalized in U.S. society.

“Take, for instance, the FBI’s longstanding program of sending agents provocateurs into Muslim communities to entrap vulnerable populations — typically poor, Black and brown men often with mental disabilities — to plan attacks. The logic is that all Muslims are “potential” terrorists and that the FBI should nab them before they commit a crime.

“This bizarre logic is reminiscent of Stephen Spielberg’s dystopian film ‘Minority Report,’ based on Philip K. Dick’s 1956 novella, about a police ‘pre-crime’ unit that arrests people who are believed to be predisposed to criminal activity. …

“The Movement for Black Lives shed light on how anti-Black racism is not simply about hate speech and individual prejudice, but is rooted in the structures of U.S. society. Similarly, anti-Muslim racism is not simply religious intolerance or misunderstanding, but a structural form of racism.

“It is not enough to end the Muslim ban. We must also halt all racist practices used by the security establishment, from entrapment and surveillance to preemptive prosecution. It is not enough to withdraw from Afghanistan. We must also end the global drone program and instead invest in infrastructure in all of the war-torn countries impacted by the United States.”