Rad Reading: "Muslims in the Western Imagination"

by Abaki Beck

Text: Introduction to Muslims in the Western Imagination

Author: Sophia Rose Arjana

Quote to Highlight: In sacred rituals that are public, such as the performance of prayer, Muslims represent a particularly irritating affront to liberalism. The pejorative statements made about Muslims in the public sphere are largely tolerated—a tolerance that is unthinkable for other communities.

Quick Summary:  This is the introduction to a book on the portrayal and viewpoints of Muslims in Western imagination. The author argues that Muslims are viewed as "monsters." Each chapter in the book examines the concept of a “Muslim monster” in different historical time periods: from medieval times to contemporary portrayals in film. She argues that these representations - of Muslims as violent, terrorists, almost sub-human - impact politics (like the banning of minarets or burqas in Western countries) and normalize violence against Muslims, both by states and by individuals. Several other chapters of the book are also available on our website, including: Muslim Monsters in the Americas, The Monsters of September 11, and The Muslim Monster.

File it under: Islamaphobia, Muslims, media representations

Type of text:  Academic text with limited jargon and theory


POC Online Classroom strives to make readings and resources that celebrate the intellectual tradition and knowledge production of marginalized communities more accessible. Rad Reading is a new series that highlight texts to read and writers to support! We will post every Tuesday.