News Release

Trump Islamophobia as Cover for Empire

9781781685587_Muslims_Are_Coming_NIP-max_221-0d7c65bcca3a726c6f0e6f6d719fa2faIn a recent interview on CNN, Donald Trump stated: “I think Islam hates us. There is something — there is something there that is a tremendous hatred there. There’s a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it.” He reaffirmed those comments in Thursday night’s debate in Florida.

While many are reflexively condemning Trump’s statements, some analysts are arguing that — while Trump is clearly being Islamophobic — he is also raising a critical issue: there is hatred  — an anger at least — among Muslims. They state that it is critical to examine the reasons for that anger — rooted in longstanding U.S. government policy toward predominantly Muslim countries.

ARUN KUNDNANI, arun at kundnani.org, @ArunKundnani
Kundnani is the author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror and a lecturer at New York University. He said today: “Yes, there is anger. But its roots are in U.S. foreign policy rather than religion; its basic context is Empire — not Sharia. We prefer to believe the problem is their culture, not our politics — but the opposite is closer to the truth.”

Kundnani was featured on the news release “Trump’s Islamophobia is Tip of Iceberg,” and appeared on CNN late last year alongside Trump supporters.

The current U.S. bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq — allegedly targeting the so-called Islamic State — recently passed 10,000 air strikes, see airwars.org. Also, see recent Institute for Public Accuracy news releases: “25 Years of Bombing Iraq,” and “Drone Killings: Obama Administration ‘Wedded to Drive-by Shooting Strategy.'”

See Kundnani’s writings at kundnani.org — including his articles “The Guantánamo in New York you’re not allowed to know about,” and “The belief system of the Islamophobes.”

He recently wrote the draft paper: “Islamophobia: Lay Ideology of U.S.-Led Empire,” in which he analyzes Islamophobia as an ideology that “offers an everyday ‘common sense’ explanatory framework for making sense” of crisis such as terrorists attacks. He argues that it does so “in ways that disavow those events’ political meanings (rooted in empire, racism, and resistance) and instead explain them as products” of a “Muslimness.”

Kundnani states that this Islamophobia within U.S. and Western culture in effect pretends that there is a fixed “other” that must be opposed.

He argues: “This maneuver is also an act of projection in the psychoanalytic sense: the racist and imperialist violence upon which U.S.-led capitalism depends cannot be acknowledged in liberal society so it is transferred onto the personality of the Muslim and seen as emanating from ‘outside’ the social order. Imperial violence is then only ever a proportionate response to the inherently aggressive and threatening nature of the fanatical Muslim enemy. In these ways, a Western self-image of innocence and beneficence can be maintained by screening out resistance to the U.S.-led system of global capitalism.”