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France Program


Demonizing and Otherizing Muslim in Civil Society

Summer 2017 Location: Paris, France
Units: 3 units, Zaytuna or IRDP Certificate, 2017
Application: Apply Here
Cost of Program and Options: Information Coming Soon

Course Description:

The 2017 Islamophobia Studies Summer Institute will focus on the French and European context in contemporary efforts to demonize and otherize Muslims in civil society.  The Institute will trace the various periods and initiatives that were directed at Muslim exclusion and the political, economic, social and ideological forces that brought them to the forefront.  The French Islamophobia example is pertinent in the current period and to the examination of the structural and state initiated approaches directed at Muslim otherness.  The Institute likewise will approach Islamophobia with the added complexities of migration and the refugee crisis, which are used by rightwing forces to gain respectability in the mainstream.  As such, using Islamophobia to transform immigration and the refugee crisis from a human phenomenon caused by war and displacement into a clash of civilization and “demographic threat” that undermine Western civilization.  The Institute will utilize a dynamic mix format that includes v.  Students will be introduced to the civil society and religious institutions that are responding to Islamophobia and the immediate needs of immigrants and refugees.  Students will visit the Paris Grand Mosque, a location with deep significance to Muslims and the French State itself.  The Grand Mosque was built by the French State as a gift to the community for its contribution in the liberation of France in WWI -some 100,000 Muslims died fighting for the Republic.  The Mosque importance increased due to the role it played in WWII as Shaykh Kaddour Benghabrit, the Imam of the Mosque during the period, managed to hide “no fewer than 1,732 Resistance fighters [in]… the cellars of the mosque,” and most were Jews.  In addition, Shaykh Benghabrit “took a great risk” in using the mosque to hide and rescue Jews, while managing to supply them “and the many children among them with Muslim identities” so as to escape the Nazis who were occupying France at the time.  Visits to the Musée Arabe and discussion with key staff members who are responsible for key archival materials and historical collections of texts.  Likewise, students will visit the Army Museum and tour WWI exhibit with a focus on Muslim and colonial troops that participated in the defense of France.  Key encounters with Muslim institutions, community leaders and academics engaged in various scholarly projects including translations of classical texts.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Articulate how religious texts are used both positively and negatively in public debate to address issues of immigration/refugee movements.
  • Compare and contrast regimes and philosophies of immigration based on the historical, political, religious, racial and social forces that inform them.
  • Discuss the problematic of integration.
  • Describe how the concept of race in modern history has emerged as a primary determinant for inclusion and exclusion of immigrants and refugees
  • Critically analyze the current legal discourses on minority rights in the global north and the shifts that can be ascertained over time.
  • Discuss varied limits of tolerance and entertain and evaluate the question “Who gets to decide?”
  • Demonstrate awareness of the connection between the attacks of September 11 and immigration/integration policies in the Global North.
  • Define the relationship between the right to be different and principles of universal human rights and limits imposed on new citizens in the Europe and North America.
The Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project (IRDP) focuses on a systematic and empirical approach to the study of Islamophobia and its impact on Muslim communities. Today, Muslims in the U.S., parts of Europe, and around the world have been transformed into a demonized and feared global “other,” subjected to legal, social, and political discrimination.