Reading Islamophobia in Azar Nafisi’s “Reading Lolita in Tehran”

One of the more subtle platforms from which RLT promotes its unique Islamophobic agenda is the recurrent rendering of Islam as tantamount to Marxism and Communism in their alleged totalitarianism, strategies, and end results. In her discussion of the political milieu that dominated the immediate post-Revolution sociopolitical landscape in Iran, Nafisi’s memoir is predisposed to equate the predominant Islamic movement of the time with those of the Marxist and Communist parties. Continue reading

“Atomic Ayatollahs”: The ‘Islamic Bomb’ in 1980s American News Media

The ‘Islamic bomb’ is and was shorthand for a perceived pan-Islamic desire for nuclear capability. Eliding nuanced understandings of the significant differences between strands of Islam, the diversity of the ‘Muslim world’, and the many different reasons why a country might (or might not) seek nuclear status, the ‘Islamic bomb’ was a trope that essentialised Islam and implied a monolithic religious bloc. Wilful misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the ‘Islamic world’ and its relationship with nuclear weapons have, however, been a feature of US media reporting since the late 1970s. Continue reading

Islam and Americanness as Antitheses in Contemporary Media Discourses

Tropes created by much of corporate media suggest an incompatibility of ‘Americanness’ and the American-constructed image of ‘Islam.’ Whereas islamophobic tendencies in the US public sphere have been evident for a while, current approaches in the media are reaching new degrees of bigotry by propagating an alleged Islamic threat and evoking an omnipresence of fear. The construction of ‘Islam’ works flexibly enough to perpetually represent an antagonism to ‘Americanness’ which needs to be resisted and fought. Continue reading