Fear, Faith and Fair Portrayals of Muslims

This panel discussion, recorded for NPR’s 1A radio show, was around the positive representation of Muslims in Hollywood.

Guests

Aasif Mandvi Actor; co-writer and star of the Peabody Award-winning Web series “Halal In The Family.”
Melena Ryzik Culture reporter, The New York Times.
Reza Aslan Host, “Believer” on CNN; TV producer; author of “No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam.”
Waleed Mahdi Assistant professor of US-Arab Cultural Politics at The University of Oklahoma.

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Liberal or Imperial: U.S. Discursive Formations of the Muslim Image

 

transformation Navigating popular conversations around Islam and Muslims across eastern-western socio-cultural and geopolitical terrains reveals a critical site of inquiry that necessitates unpacking the discursive formations of the Muslim image, particularly in the twenty-first century. For a more focused analysis, I propose a case-study reading of the discourses shaping the popularized images of Muslims in the United States. To properly ground this reading in theory, I suggest an examination of two prominent discourses, i.e., American Orientalism and American Exceptionalism. Then, I explore a conflicting paradox essential to the U.S. global identity that celebrates America as a set of timeless and universal human ideals yet confines to the reality of the United States as a nation-state. It is this seemingly contradictory characterization of the United States–I argue–that misconfigures Americans’ attitude towards and sustains their perceptions, if not misconceptions, of Islam and Muslims; thereby offering a breathing ground to the sensational narratives of Islamophobia and clash of civilizations.

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Youth & Revolution: A Call to Reform Higher Education in Yemen

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At the onset of Yemen’s current transformation process, students emerged out of the country’s post-secondary institutions as a contending voice challenging status quo politics that produced unbearable conditions of corruption, unemployment, and disenfranchisement for 30 years. The revolutionary moment was eventually disrupted along partisan, sectarian, and tribal negotiations, often mediated by regional and international power players.

To understand the underpinnings of this disruption, it is critical to underline the paradoxical role of the Yemeni higher education system in producing active yet docile citizens as well as playing a significant role in solidifying trends of socio-political instability and uncertainty in the country.

Towards that end, the chapter captures the contours of this paradox by investigating three policy-oriented dimensions in current higher education establishments, i.e. admission policy, teaching methodology, and campus politicization. The significance of this work lies in its critique of the failure of the Yemeni higher education system in producing conditions for students to claim agency and consolidate a front that transcends current counter-revolutionary sociopolitical forces.

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رحلتي البحثية تعود الى مرحلة الثانوية ورغبتي في تطوير نقد ما حول صراع الحضارات

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بدأت في عقد التسعينات اهتم بقضية الصراع الحضاري والثقافي بين العالمين الغربي والشرقي، من جهة، وبين العالم الغربي والإسلام من الجهة الأخرى. ولعل سبب هذه الاهتمامات هو اطلاعي على نظرية صمويل هنتنغتون المعنونة بـ”صراع الحضارات”، والتي من خلالها حاول التنظير لنظام عالم جديد يلي الحرب الباردة، وهو ذلك العالم الملئ بعناصر الإحتراب، و خاصة بين “الغرب المسيحي” و “الشرق المسلم”. وهذا يعني أن الصراع الحضاري سيكون مبنيا على أسس دينية ذات طابع جيوسياسي. أثناء انشغالي بتلك الاهتمامات كنت في المرحلة الثانوية، وتملكني شعور نقدي مكنني من النظر الى عالمنا بشكل مختلف.
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