Islamophobia and Muslim Minorities Studies (IMMS)

The Department of Islamophobia and Muslim Minorities (IMMS) works to map and understand the dynamics and manifestations of Islamophobia around the globe as well as issues that touch upon the everyday life of Muslim minorities.  Hereby we understand Islamophobia as a form of anti-Muslim racism, a hostility of Islam that perpetuates negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from social, political, and civic life. Islamophobia’s manifestations are different depending on the specific socio-historical and cultural contexts of the societies, but it is employed in discourse and is rooted in structural racisms and thus projects itself also into the popular opinion of Islam and Muslims and increase of hate crimes committed against Muslims.

The IMMS’s objective is to study and understand Islamophobia’s roots from an epistemological and historical perspectives, outlining the political and cultural factors contributing to its rise, its intellectual framework, and the reasons for its pervasiveness. The cultural and social impact of Islamophobia, including its negative effects on its victims and practitioners will be part of the research agenda. Although regional focus of IMMS’s Islamophobia studies lies on the U.S and Europe, also the question of how Islamophobia is employed as part of Israel’s foreign policy and oppression mechanisms towards the Palestinian people, and its manifestations in Muslim societies. Namely, the historical developments of Muslim societies turning to the Western model of modernization and secularism has created a rhetoric and mechanisms that are used by governments and groups entangled in global power struggles reproducing Islamophobic narratives and discrimination. Thus, Islamophobia is not only a problem of non-Muslim, “Western” societies, but due to the infiltration of the ideological hegemony of the “North” it is also impacting societies in the Global South, especially because of the so called “war on terror”. 

IMMS’s second research area is Muslim minorities and challenges they face in their everyday lives being caught in the middle of discourses on freedom of religion, multiculturalism, immigration and integration, identity politics as well as Islamophobia. Muslim minorities in the U.S and North America, Europe and Australia, Central and South America, Asia and Africa are represented by immigrants and their descendants as well as convert Muslims who are often native - or even indigenous - to the countries in which live. However, just as the “born Muslims”, also converts have to face discrimination and hostility, although the racist discourse differs from that which is used against Muslims with an immigrant background.