For the Love of Islam: US Foreign Policy, Islamophilia, and the Islam Centennial 14

For the Love of Islam US Foreign Policy Islamophilia

For the Love of Islam: US Foreign Policy, Islamophilia, and the Islam Centennial 14

Author: Kathleen M. Foody

Published in: ReOrient: The Journal of Citical Muslim Studies, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Winter 2022), pp. 116-134

Publication Date: December 2022

Publisher: Pluto Journals


This article explores the historical and lingering effects of US government involvement in defining Islam as public and foreign policy. It focuses on the Islam Centennial 14, a US program to celebrate the fourteenth centennial of Islam – and manage the US’s global image – which was active in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Islam Centennial 14 organized a nationally touring museum exhibit, distributed information on Islam to partners and public schools, produced a newsletter, documentaries, and speaker series on Islam. It also culminated in one of the first academic centers in the US devoted to the study of Islam. The Islam Centennial 14’s activities provided a counter-narrative to rising Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiment, while the discourses that swirled around them – including their own press reports, outside conspiracy theories, and academic analyses – foreshadowed more contemporary xenophobic politics. This article presents the Islam Centennial 14 specifically as a case study through which to consider the workings and ramifications of American Islamophilia. It examines how such celebrations of Islam as part and parcel of international and national governance reinscribe both racialized representations of Islam and, however inadvertently, anti-Muslim sentiments. It argues that Islamophilia is an under theorized corollary to more explicit anti-Muslim positions, and one who deployment and effects more than merit sustained attention.

Read the full article HERE.

Source: JSTOR

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