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An extract from  criticalmuslimstudies.co.uk  introducing and assessing REPORTS of ISLAMOPHOBIA: 1997 and 2017 [S. Sayyid & AbdoolKarim Vakil].

“. . . The 1997 report was the first comprehensive combined survey and policy intervention on an increasingly prominent phenomenon and against the context of heightened global problematisation of Muslims as Muslims . . . The 2017 report does not repeat the impact of the original report; perhaps never could. In any case, it is a very different document.  The 1997 report was the work of a commission; the present report is an edited collection. It is based neither on community consultation, nor on new research and evidence into the policy areas it covers, but rather on commissioned chapters by academics summarising their research in different registers.

. . . The 2017 report signals a welcome shift in its short definition of Islamophobia as anti-Muslim racism. But to describe Islamophobia as anti-Muslim racism is only an advance if racism is not being used merely as a euphemism for bigotry. Racism means not so much a set of beliefs and attitudes that individuals hold, but rather a form of governmentality that establishes systems of practices and protocols which distribute power and opportunity unevenly across populations. Islamophobia belongs to the genre of racism understood as racialised governmentality. What is brought to bear in the experience of passing through airport security, is not just the individual beliefs and attitudes of the security staff, it is also their training, the expectations of their senior managers, the establishment of key performance indicators, the assessment of targets, all the panoply of the contemporary organisation of workflow, as well as the multiple registers of insecurity nested in successive technical and regulatory framings of securitisation.  The problem is not the definition of Islamophobia as anti-Muslim racism per se, but that in the context of this report what it signals is a failure to grasp the sense in which Islamophobia is racism fully.

. . . The globalization of Islamophobia presents a challenge not only of scale but of significance. This was a challenge that perhaps the writers of the original report could not envisage. Islamophobia in 1997 was for them essentially a problem akin to those that afflicted other ethnically marked population in the UK. In a sense, the 1997 report was only extending the conceptual policy matrix to a community that hitherto had been obscured, that of Muslims. But the globalisation of Islamophobia does not mean the multiplication of national sites in which the phenomena is present, rather its institutional embeddedness in the international system. This is illustrated by the way in which standard measures that curtail and regulate expressions of Muslimness are now part of the trans-national machinery of the war on terror. It is represented by the way in which Islamophobia provides a common platform in which various geopolitical actors coalesce and co-operate.

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