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Islamophobia as State Racism (Othering)

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Houria Boutelja classified Islamophobia as state racism in an essay for Decolonial Translation, stating:

“I don’t believe it makes sense to characterize Islamophobia as a “feeling.” The terms “representation” and “imaginary” are often used, even as Islamophobia is institutionalized. In fact, there are Islamophobic laws…To speak of Islamophobia as sentiment is a euphemism. Islamophobia is first and foremost state racism…Such racism has no purpose other than to maintain a population in a subaltern state.”

Boutelja was writing in reference to French secularism laws and her categorisation of Islamophobia as state racism is one which cements the term “subaltern.” A subaltern is, by definition, someone outside of hegemonic power structures of the colonial homeland.

Islamophobia functions as state racism, then, when the state actively places sanctions and measures in place to restrict the freedom of Muslim people.

If you wear skirts that makes…

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