Third International Conference on Islamophobia

Examining the Global War on Terror: Challenges, Policies, and Consequences


Friday-Tuesday, March 26-30, 2021


Policies of socio-political nature are often used to cover what are realist power objectives. In the nineteenth century, free-trade became an excuse by colonial powers to peddle drugs and destruction into China, while the “War on Drugs” in the United States resulted in the disproportionate mass incarceration of African Americans for the past four decades. These examples demonstrate how public policies coded in the language of moral certitude result in consequences that allocate its benefits and burdens unequally among the ruled. This year’s CIGA conference on Islamophobia isolates the Global War on Terror as an international policy in the name of security and peace, as masquerading what really is an institutional language of animosity against and hegemony over Muslims and other disfavored communities worldwide.


The Third International Conference on Islamophobia builds on three years of collaborative work with world renowned scholars on the subject. The conference has moved past theorizing Islamophobia simply as an individual or communal religious prejudice. In the face of relatively fading American power, Islamophobia is better understood against the backdrop of a global racial hierarchy, which is again trying to impose a future world order. The Global War on Terror marks a distinct shift away from a multilateral, rules-based order inaugurated after the Second World War. The Global War on Terror, as a universal state of emergency, has afforded the United States, above all else, the arbitrary decisionism in labeling any political actor operating against its interests or dictates as terrorist or supporting terrorism. The unprincipled and often expedient ways in which this particular language is abused among imitating states demonstrates that it unravels multilateral international institutions, while at the same time grants specific powers the ability to stand outside and above International law.

This attitude has even been recently adopted for geopolitical and strategic objectives by not only other states such as India, Myanmar, and Israel, but also by Muslim majority regimes under the tutelage of an international system bent on marginalizing existing or potential independent Islamic powers. To read this global shift in Islamophobic terms means to re-frame the question: Why has terrorism as a global program resulted in a disproportionately large number of deaths and destruction of Muslims and Muslim societies as opposed to others?  This question opens a new space of analysis bringing together tools honed by scholars of cultural studies, Islamophobia, and race, with thinkers and practitioners in international relations, politics, and law.


Since 2018, the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University (IZU), has organized an annual International Conference on Islamophobia, featuring some of the most notable scholars from Turkey and around the world. The first conference in 2018 explored the impact of Islamophobia on culture, society, politics, and international relations, while the second conference in 2019 explored the impact of Islamophobia on the different epistemic notions of Islamophobia and its impact at otherizing a new racial category for the purpose of political hegemony by analyzing its discourse and geopolitics.


This conference was supposed to take place in April 2020, but it was postponed because of the tough reality and uncertainty of Covid-19. But it will be convened now virtually and online.  And since there are different time zones of presenters from around the world, there will only be two sessions per day, which would extend the conference from three to five days


This year, in addition to CIGA and IZU, the 2021 International Conference on Islamophobia would be co-sponsored by several distinguished international institutions, demonstrating broad experience, involvement, and commitment across continents. The conference’s co-sponsors include Hamad Bin Khalifah University in Doha, Qatar, the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC) in South Africa, the Coalition for Civil Freedoms (CCF) in the U.S., and CAGE in the U.K.


Furthermore, the conference will feature nine panels. Each panel contributes a significant aspect to the conference’s focus on the Global War on Terror in order to scrutinize it from the standpoint of its actual impact on Muslim societies and communities around the world. A major objective of the conference is to bring together leading scholars and experts in their respective fields in order to intellectually engage in thoughtful discussions on some of the major issues related to Islamophobia and how it’s used as a convenient tool to advance a dubious ‘global war on terror’, which is a euphemism for setting new rules for hegemony and control. Another major objective of the conference is to explore the range of appropriate responses to these dangerous approaches. The panels will not only analyze these topics and present prescient assessments, but will also attempt to present practical solutions to difficult challenges ahead.



CIGA’s Vision


To be a premiere research institution for ideas, analysis, and policy recommendations on global affairs impacting the Muslim World, and to foster future relations with world powers based on shared principles, common interests, and mutual respect.


CIGA’s Mission Statement


The Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) is an independent, nonprofit, research and public policy institution based in Istanbul, Turkey, and affiliated with Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University. Its mission is “To conduct high quality research and analysis, educate the public and policymakers, train experts, and propose novel ideas and policy recommendations regarding global policies and relations impacting the Islamic world, and the development and progress of Muslim societies.”





Conference Co-sponsors


The College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University was established as a home for contemporary Islamic studies and to provide a unique platform for faculty and students to contribute to intellectual debates on Islam in a global context. It has six graduate and postgraduate degree programs and several distinguished research centers and clusters under the Research Division, which brings together scholars and thought leaders from around the world and fosters intradisciplinary dialogue and scholarship.


The Afro-Middle East Centre (AMEC) is based in Johannesburg, South Africa and aims to foster, produce and disseminate the highest quality of research on the Middle East, to maintain public discussion and to help shape the public discourse on issues related to the Middle East.


The Coalition for Civil Freedoms (CCF) is a not-for-profit independent organization based in Washington, DC, the United States, whose mission is to defend civil liberties and freedoms, promote a fair U.S. criminal justice system, and advocate for the rights of political prisoners targeted in the war on terror.


CAGE is an independent grassroots organization based in London, the United Kingdom, that strives for a world free of injustice and oppression. It campaigns against discriminatory state policies and advocates for due process and the rule of law.