Islamophobia + Inside Syria

Program #KUMD001-HADB001.

First program: Deepa Kumar - Islamophobia

Almost automatically the experts tell us that hostility toward Muslims and Islam takes shape after 9/11. Bigotry became a lot easier. But in fact the antagonism has much older and deeper roots. Christian Europe viewed Islam as a threat and demonized the religion, its Prophet and its followers. In the 18th and 19th centuries Britain and France colonized much of the Middle East and North Africa. Since the end of World War Two the U.S. has become the dominant imperial force. Its military operates in Muslim countries from Pakistan to Somalia and from Afghanistan to Yemen. Reducing Muslims to stereotypes furthers ignorance and leads to racial profiling. One group which tracks and studies Islamophobia says there has been a 50% increase in hate crimes against Muslims since 2010 and a 300% growth in the number of anti-Muslim hate groups in the U.S.

 

Second program: Bassam Haddad - Inside Syria

Syria is a mosaic of ethnic and religious groups. The minority Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, constitute about 12 percent of Syria’s 23 million people. They have controlled the government since 1970 when Hafez al-Assad seized power. Upon his death in 2000, his son Bashar al-Assad took over. Peaceful protests against his regime, which began in March 2011, following uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, were crushed by the military. Opposition grew. The consequences have been catastrophic. Tens of thousands dead, hundreds of thousands have fled the country, and more than 2 million are internal refugees. The Assad regime is under siege and is bound to fall. But what will take its place? There are multiple factions within the umbrella resistance group, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. The violence and suffering are escalating. Whither Syria?

 

Speaker(s):

Deepa Kumar (click to view archive)

Deepa Kumar is Professor of Media Studies at Rutgers University. She is the author of Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization and the UPS Strike and Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire

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