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date: 17 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment have existed as parts of the religious landscape since Europeans first arrived in North America. The long history of these antipathies is a balance between continuities of received wisdom regarding Islam and Muslims and historically specific outbursts sparked and shaped by current social, economic, political, and military events. Tapping into enduring suspicions, some provocateurs deliberately aim to perpetuate stereotypes, broadcast misinformation, promote discrimination, and even instigate violence. A comparative logic drives the skepticism, wariness, and—occasionally—outright hostility toward, at different times, Islam as a religion, a specific Muslim, or Muslims as a religious, racial, or ethnic stereotype. This comparison presupposes a positive American norm that Islam and Muslims fail to meet in terms of theology, development, sexism, and nationalism.

Keywords: Islamophobia, anti-Muslim sentiment, racism, ethnicity, sexism, stereotypes, discrimination, comparison

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