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Professor Jasmin Zine, Author of ‘Under Siege – Islamophobia and the 9/11 Generation’ Interview by Dr. Hatem Bazian

On October 21, Professor Hatem Bazian, the Chair and Founder of CRG’s Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project (IRDP), interviewed Professor Jasmin Zine on her newly and timely release book, Under Siege - Islamophobia and the 9/11 generation. Professor Jasmin Zine is an affiliated faculty member with the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project (IRDP) at U.C. Berkeley, California.

Professor Zine Explains Muslim Self-Censorship Among Muslims Part of the “9/11 Generation”

Professor Zine spoke on the sense of censorship that is created from Muslims who grew up as part of the “9/11 generation.” Being hyper-sensitive and hyper-aware of the stereotypes and tropes as youth growing up in America, surrounded by said stereotypes and tropes, affects one’s self-expression. She recalls one participant of her research telling her the harm and associations of being an active Muslim disincentivized them from being part of their university’s Muslim Student Association (MSA), as it was slandered as ‘suspect’ by Islamophobic bigots across America.

The book is based on in-depth interviews with more than 130 young people, youth workers, and community leaders. The ethnographic study unpacks the dynamics of Islamophobia as a system of oppression and examines its impact on Canadian Muslim youth. While there is much research on the financial, political, and social repercussions of the global War on Terror, this book is unique in that it is a deep dive into the impacts felt by young Muslims who were growing and developing during the rise and heightened rates of Islamophobia. 

Professor Hatem Bazian Discusses Concerns on UC Berkeley Campus 

Professor Hatem Bazian, who is a professor at U.C. Berkleley, stated that parents dropping their children off to school would even tell them not to get involved with groups like the MSA or Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) due to the hyper-surveillance and attacks students in these groups face from Islamophobic and Zionist bigots. Professor Zine agrees with this sentiment, saying parents diverted their children from being involved with groups seen as ‘suspect’ by the Islamophobic standard. Hatem Bazian is a co-founder of the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at UC Berkeley. Led by Dr. Hatem Bazian, the IRDP highlights research and projects that explore the maintenance and extension of existing power paradigms by bringing together academics, thinkers, practitioners, and researchers from around the globe who engage, question, and challenge the existing disparities in economic, political, social and cultural relations.

The IRDP’s web page deconstructs and defines Islamophobia, dating back to the history of the use of the term. The following is the suggested working definition: “Islamophobia is a contrived fear or prejudice fomented by the existing Eurocentric and Orientalist global power structure. It is directed at a perceived or real Muslim threat through the maintenance and extension of existing disparities in economic, political, social and cultural relations, while rationalizing the necessity to deploy violence as a tool to achieve “civilizational rehab” of the target communities (Muslim or otherwise). Islamophobia reintroduces and reaffirms a global racial structure through which resource distribution disparities are maintained and extended.”

The most recent publication from the IRDP is by Professor Jasmin Zine, titled “The Canadian Islamophobia Industry: Mapping Islamophobia’s Ecosystem in the Great White North.” 
These two professors, Dr. Hatem Bazian and Dr. Jasmin Zine, have done great work for years to the end of educating to end Islamophobia in America. The talk ended with discussions on Islamophobia as a global phenomenon and the different and creative ways that activists and those affected by it have approached the issue.

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