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.
I am grateful to the World Jewish Congress for inviting me to share my thoughts with this most distinguished gathering on the issues of Islamophobia and antisemitism. I would like to pay tribute to the Maimonides Foundation and Lord Janner for organizing this, my second visit, to the holy city of Jerusalem. I am acutely aware of the honour given to me, the first European Muslim ever to be invited to address the World Jewish Congress.
This article explains the failure of Pegida Austria as a social movement organization by testing three prominent theories of social movement theory: political opportunity structures, ideology, and resource mobilization. The failure of Pegida to play a role in Austrian politics is ascribed to the dominant role the Freedom Party (FPÖ) already plays in the Austrian parliament, the FPÖ’s issue dominance on anti-immigration and Islamophobia in public discourse, and the relative scarcity of individuals capable of mass mobilization outside the spectrum of political parties. The analysis is based on a crucial-case study that does a comparative content analysis of the FPÖ and Pegida platforms to assess the ideology argument. The political opportunity and human resource arguments are analyzed with process tracing. The findings reveal that all three theories jointly help to explain the failure of Pegida Austria.
The perceived crisis triggered by the current refugee influx highlights the contradiction at the heart of human rights discourse. Modern humanity has been constructed as both European and as universal; the racialized “Other” against whom the “modern human” disturbs this construction by laying claim to human rights from the very heart of Europe. The sexualized violence reported in Cologne on New Year’s Eve fed into racialized fears of refugees and immigrants promoted by groups on the radical right, even as racialized fears returned to mainstream discourses. Critical responses to the racism of the radical right unfortunately also participate in racialized discourses by resorting to “Europe” or “European values.” This analysis suggests the need to consider Europe as a field of power, one in which the contestation over what Europe is or should be results in concrete, racialized disparities in access to social mobility, education, or public agency. A project for racial, gender and economic justice requires the thinking of Europe as an ongoing project of world-making. The call to revisit or reclaim “European” values cannot succeed here. Nor can a response to the new right (or the newly normalized racism of the center) allow the new right to determine the parameters of debates about possibilities for the future.
Auto-ethnographical Reflections at the Jewish Museum Berlin
Victoria Bishop Kendzia
This article explores the issue of ethnic attributions versus options pertaining to Jewishness in Germany. The methodology is a combination of standard ethnographic fieldwork with Berlin-based high-school students before, during and after visits to the Jewish Museum Berlin (JMB) and auto-ethnography detailing and analysing my own experiences in and outside of the research sites. My goal is to illustrate particularities of interactions in sites like the JMB by contrasting the way in which Jewishness is handled in and outside of the standardised research situation. Further, the material points to continuities between anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. My analysis aims to open up further, productive discussion on this point.
Reading Muslim Masculinities through Muslim Femininities in Ms. Marvel
Shenila S. Khoja-Moolji and Alyssa D. Niccolini
In this article we examine the production and operation of the character, Kamala Khan, a Muslim American-Pakistani superheroine of the Ms. Marvel comic series, to glean what this reveals about Islam and Muslims, with particular attention to representations of Muslim masculinities. We argue that Ms. Marvel's invitation to visualize Muslim girls as superheroes is framed by a desire to interrupt rampant Islamophobia and xenophobia, yet, in order to produce such a disruption it relies on, and (re)produces, stereotypical conceptualizations of Muslim masculinities as mirrored in men who are conservative, prone to irrational rage, pre-modern, anachronistic, and even bestial. However, as the series progresses we notice the emergence of representations of complex and complicated Muslim masculinities that cast doubt on these tired, hackneyed ones, thus making way for a comic to undertake the pedagogical work of resistance. We see this graphic novel, like the shape-shifting Kamala herself, as wielding potentially dynamic and transformative power in social imaginaries.