“Racism Is Not An Opinion”

Muslim Responses to Pegida and Islamophobia in Germany

in German Politics and Society
Karolin Machtans German, Connecticut College kmachtan@conncoll.edu

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Islamic organizations in Germany find themselves in a dilemma. On the one hand, they feel the need to take a public stance on the acts of violence committed by Muslim terrorists worldwide. On the other hand, they also feel the need to speak up against the growing Islamophobia in Germany, propagated by movements such as Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident (Pegida). As Islamic organizations in Germany band together, they appear to the German public as a homogeneous group unified by religious and ethnic affiliation, not recognized in their diversity. Hence, the external pressure exerted by German populists and sensationalist media that foment Islamophobia creates the risk of inadvertently reinforcing what one seeks to combat: namely, the stereotype of a monolithic and static entity that Muslims in Germany do not in fact represent. Moreover, the perceived need to speak with one voice might silence necessary debates among the different Islamic associations in Germany.

Contributor Notes

Karolin Ml is Assistant Professor of German Studies at Connecticut College. Her main research and teaching interests are twentieth and twenty-first-century German literature and film, with a special focus on post 1945 German history and culture, minorities and transnationalism, Turkish-German relations, representations of the Holocaust, and individual and collective memory processes. Her first book, Zwischen Wissenschaft und autobiographischem Text: Saul Friedländer und Ruth Klüger, was published by Niemeyer (Conditio Judaica) in 2009. She is the coeditor of a volume on the representation of Hitler in German film (Basingstoke, 2012) and a volume on Iranian-German author Navid Kermani. She has also published numerous articles in the fields of Holocaust and migration studies.

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