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Journal of Religion & Society, Supplement Series


Supplement 13

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This essay argues that there is a predominant media narrative that asserts that Islam is inherently violent, Muslims are foreign and dangerous, we should remain alert and suspicious, and policies or acts of aggression against them are therefore justifiable. Routinized replication of simplistic, patterned, and easily recognizable Muslim identities leads to real social consequences. I demonstrate the dynamics at work in constructing Muslim media identities through an investigation of recent incidents, including the Charlie Hebdo and Chapel Hill shootings, several anti-Muslim crimes, and the media declarations encircling these events. These types of events are best understood within a context where persistent seemingly transparent anti-Muslim bias is part of social life due to the production and circulation of recognized Muslim identities. Overall, I argue that “identity” is not fixed, essential, or natural, and, therefore, examining the processes of identification rather than identity will be the most productive.


Copyright 2016 Kristian Petersen.

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