Translating Ghurba: Dayzi al-Amir’s short story “Mist”


It is difficult to place Dayzi al-Amir (b. 1935) into one category of immigrant. She isn’t a refugee, not exactly a traveler, nor political exile proper, but spent her life in a few different countries, including some time in England and the United States. This experience is recorded in her short stories, as her heroines seem to constantly be in between places and languages. Though the story translated below was originally written more than 40 years ago, in a different political context, the experience and feelings of alienation al-Amir expresses in the story are something I find myself facing today as a transnational product of the Arab diaspora.  I have grown increasingly intimate with these in-between feelings in adulthood, as I try to find my place between cities, languages, and cultures.  As I translated Dayzi al-Amir’s story into English, I felt as if I were telling my own story, echoing the text in English, and working together with the author to express both of our feelings of homelessness.

I became interested in Dayzi al-Amir when I came upon a 1994 English translation of her works. The English subtitle of the thin volume stuck out to me, The Waiting List: An Iraqi Woman’s Tales of Alienation.[1]  Reading Dayzi al-Amir’s stories about being in-between, her psychological, self-conscious style of narration and the familiar theme of alienation drew me in.  I found myself identifying with the narrator of the stories, not only her because we come from the same country (which isn’t named in her stories), but because of her experience as a transnational woman who has lost her sense of home.

Daisy al-Amir was born in Alexandria but educated in Iraq, where she studied Arabic literature at the University of Baghdad and sculpture at the Institute of Fine Arts.  She spent some time studying in Cambridge in 1963, but when her father refused to pay tuition for her to continue her studies, she was forced to leave England (Cooke 8).  al-Amir returned not to the turbulent revolutionary Iraq but to Beirut, Lebanon where she began a career working at the Iraqi Embassy as press attaché.[2] She started writing in 1962 and published her first story in the Lebanese literary magazine al-Adab in 1962.[3]

al-Amir published her first collection of short stories, al balad al-ba’eed allathi tuhibbuhu (The Distant Country You Love) in 1964 and it is this collection I was drawn to translate the most. About this collection al-Amir says “The title carried the meaning of all the memories and longings, scattered here and there among the places I knew inside and outside Iraq. Although I treasured these memories, I also felt them as an unwanted burden bearing down on me”.[4]  The title, The Distant Country You Love stuck out to me, the conceptualization of Iraq, the homeland, from the outside.  The weight of distant memories and imaginings of her homeland are expressed in the story I decided to translate, ḍabab (Mist).  In the story Mist, Iraq is not only a country or a place, it is the embodiment of memories and of personal loss. Iraq is not far away in the physical sense only (al-Amir was in nearby Lebanon when she published the stories), but far in the figurative sense: impossible, unattainable, no longer discernible like the distant past and foggy memories.  This is the sense of the story which I chose to translate and the sense of ghurba that Arabs of the diaspora are all too familiar with.


Identity, Authorship and the Writing Project

I chose the story Mist with Gayatri Spivak’s advice to would-be translators in mind, that the translator should be “intimate” with the text and its language. At times it is hard to feel intimate with fusha (formalized) Arabic, but I felt more familiar with the word choice of an Iraqi woman’s fusha than I usually do reading the writings of Arabs from different nationalities. The story utilizes a type of Arabic and word choice that I could identify with.  I felt closer to writer due to both phrasing and a relatable in-between experience. The story, Mist¸ is representative of a generation of Arabic exile writing.  It is a short burst detailing the mental reflections of an Arab outsider, charged with the political vocabulary of ghurba¸ international experience, and homesickness.  While this story is originally Dayzi al-Amir’s, I feel that the English translation is an expression of my own story

Translation has been theorized over the centuries as a secondary practice, a feminine, “reproductive” practice dependent on masculine creative genius.  This binary of “productive” and “reproductive” and questions surrounding the “fidelity” of the translation to her master/husband/original have dominated the field of translation studies until recently. Feminist theorists are challenging this mode of thinking and reconceptualizing the act of translation as an intimate relationship between author and translator.  In her overarching study, Gender in Translation (1996), Sherry Simon refers to Susan Bassnett’s point about how contemporary translation studies are challenging “the old binary concept of translation [which] saw original and translated text as two poles, seeking instead to conceptualize translation as a dynamic activity fully engaged with cultural systems” (Simon 12).  The conventional way of thinking of translation “supposes an active original and a passive translation” (Ibid. 11) which feminist translators should resist. Susan Bassnett advocates an “orgasmic” contemporary translation theory that encourages the creation of “a new whole in an encounter that is mutual, pleasurable and respectful” (Ibid. 13).

In my “encounter” with Dayzi al-Amir’s story, I tried to keep this in mind.  As I hoped to create something with this text, I respected the text and opened myself to the text. At the same time being mindful and taking responsibility for my translation, the “new whole” the author and I created. Gayatri Spivak in her “Politics of Translation” calls translation “the most intimate act of reading” and writes how she “surrenders” to the text when she translates (Spivak 298).  Her imagery brings to mind and subverts the sexist, conventional gendered metaphorics that is used to describe translation, a metaphorics that reflects sexist hierarchies, a metaphorics that are a symptom of “larger issues of Western culture and in particular of the anxieties involved in establishing and maintaining borders” (Simon 10).  By surrendering to the text and getting out of the “confines of one’s identity” (Spivak 397), a translator can find “the trace of the other in the self” (Ibid.) and partake in a creative, subversive act.

In my translation of this Arabic language text, a woman’s text, I do not wish to be invisible, I do not wish to take violently and bring into English her experience, but be responsible for my actions and make my agenda known.  For Sherry Simon, translation is more than rendering a story in another language, translation is a “mode of engagement with literature… a kind of literary activism…translators are necessarily involved in a politics of transmission” (Simon, ix).  Translation for me is a way to express and transmit my own experience as a cultural stranger and homeless transnational.  It is a creative act that I do by drawing on my knowledge and intimacy with my mother tongue and while resisting my diasporic homeland’s often racist and sexist political agenda.  Choices made in the creative act of translation are necessarily political and “contribute to cultural debates and create a new lines and cultural communication” (Ibid.).  My translation is a knowingly political act, it is an attempt towards creating a dialogue about the experience of a transnational, alienated Arab woman without dissolving, domesticating, exoticizing or Anglicizing her voice.

In light of my readings in critical and feminist translation theories, I find myself scrutinizing some of the publisher’s choices in the 1994 translation of  The Waiting List. My first question when finding this book was about the transliteration of the author’s name into an English “equivalent”–Daisy. This made me question the heritage of Dayzi al-Amir, did she come from an Anglo background? Neither this “Anglicization” of her name or any other translation issues are addressed in the publication, printed by an academic press. There are no translator’s notes.  The volume is prefaced by Professor Mona Mikhail’s contextualization of the writer in Iraqi and Arabic literary history and a (probably translated) author’s preface wherein al-Amir outlines her writing career and personal circumstances. There is an acknowledgements page written by the editor, but nothing from the translator, the creator of the contents. The translator is silent. Other than her name on the cover and in the acknowledgements, the translator is invisible.  No notes on translation problems, no mission statement.

Sherry Simon contends that feminist translators are engaged, along with their original authors, in a ” writing project” and that the translator must be aware of the shared writing project and be faithful to it (Simon 2).  Dayzi al-Amir’s writing expresses her personal state of alienation in a larger context of 20th century Arab “immigration to the north” and away from politically unstable homelands.  Her writing is based in a context of loss and nostalgia and her writing project seems to be the demystification of the transnational experience, or expressing the woe of a woman lost between places. In Arab Women Writers¸ Ferial Ghazoul describes al-Amir’s work as  “more concerned with the psychological dimension of fiction than with external action. [al-Amir] … focuses on women’s unease in their social surroundings” (Ghazoul 193).  Although I am an Iraqi American, and Dayzi al-Amir is from a different generation, social and political context, her experience as an outsider and as a woman without a home struck a chord with me.  Her concerns are also my and other diaspora Arabs’ concerns. Her literary project is close to mine and I hope to express her ideas and feelings in English to diaspora Arabs who cannot otherwise have access to her works.

Similar to Dayzi al-Amir’s heroines, diaspora Arabs find themselves feeling awkward in their adopted nations and cultures, having a hard time bridging their upbringing or family traditions with the external culture of the their present location.  In the story Mist, al-Amir’s heroine is extremely uncomfortable walking in a foreign, cold, English-speaking land where she “longer had any of the special significance that she enjoyed in her country” (Al-Amir 62).  She is unable to express herself like she did at home; most of the story is made up of internal reflections and the character only speaks a few words in the story: an angry “No!” and a passive, mindless response to the stranger who helps her at the end of the story.  By making the story of an Arab woman who is lost in the fog speak English, I hope to bridge the gap between her and diaspora Arabs who don’t read Arabic, and to other English readers in the adopted nations of Arab diaspora members.


Translating the Untranslatable and Practical Solutions

            This following section is an attempt at addressing the practical and meta-textual issues of rendering  a surreal reflection on a certain culturally-bound mode of being, a story of ghurba, into English. Susan Bassnett notes in her book, Translation Studies, that there is a “large body” of work written about the translation of poetry, and that “far less time” has been given to studying the translation of literary prose. This is due to the “widespread erroneous notion that a novel is somehow a simpler structure than a poem and is consequently easier to translate” (Bassnett 110).  It make sense that poetry would receive more attention, with the importance of its form, rhyme and music.  However, prose also has many features that need to be taken into account when translating from language to language. The issues I faced in my trial include the challenge of respecting the “rhetoric nature” of the Arabic language (Spivak 398) and maintaining the “underlying networks of signification” in the short story (Berman 292).  This included the translation of culturally and politically charged words and an untranslatable idiom that captures the essence of the story’s problem in three words.

The story follows a woman walking to her friend’s house in a cold, foreign, English-speaking land as a blanket of fog starts to thicken.  Distracted, the character finds herself alone and lost, without a concept of where she is, how to get to her planned destination or back home. As the fog settles on the street and makes it impossible for her to find her way, she reflects on her state of loneliness, the way she has grown into a life of solitude, cold, and isolation.  The story makes use of the fog as a metaphor for the Arab émigré’s state of alienation, ghurba, one of the main themes of al-Amir’s work.  Mist (and the majority of al-Amir’s other writings) features an unnamed transnational female protagonist, caught in between places and languages,  traveling while losing her identity, direction, and sense of self.

This homeless nostalgic mode of existence and figurative place named al ghurba is a major theme in modern Arabic literature, and no English word quite captures its essence. It is one of the many culturally weighty, repeated politically charged words that pose a challenge to the Arabic-English translator of al-Amir’s work.  In Mist the main character writes how difficult it is to describe explain ghurba to “the people in this country,” when she thinks of her family and thinks about how she is so far from home.  She recalls the idiom “al-ghurba tuḍayi’ al-aṣl” which she thinks is impossible to translate to English speakers.  On idioms and proverbs, Antoine Berman writes, “a proverb may have its equivalence in other languages but… these equivalents do not translate it. To translate is not to search for equivalences” (Berman 295).  The above proverb does not have an equivalent in English because al ghurba is a politically charged, post-colonial state of being completely foreign to the English language. I chose, after several attempts to translate this short but grammatically resistant idiom, to transliterate and hope that the reader of the story would know some Arabic and have some familiarity with the concept ghurba. I have also provided the original Arabic script, explained the impossibility of its translation and provided different interpretations of this idiom in a footnote at the end of the story.

Even if the idiom is not completely understood by the English reader, after reading the story, one may be able start to understand the feeling of ghurba through al-Amir’s natural metaphor.  The story ends with al-Amir’s heroine lost, unmoving in a daze.  In addition to the fog metaphor, al-Amir uses other smaller anecdotes in the story to explain the reality of ghurba. She explains to the reader the importance of family (al ahl) by telling a story about her brother when he went abroad, recalling her mother’s feelings and advice.  The importance of family is evident in how often al-Amir juxtaposes the cold, dark, and loneliness she feels in the English-speaking country with the warmth, sun, and family that are in her homeland.  Keeping this repetition in the English translation without changing the words helped bring emphasis to the opposition of home and al ghurba.

At times, I was tempted to use two words to capture what I thought was the “full meaning” of a single weighty, meaningful, repeated word, a method Antoine Berman calls “quantitative loss”. (Berman 292).  In the end I settled on “loneliness” for wahsha and “gloom” for dhalam. “Dark” didn’t seem to pack as much of the emotional oppression of dhalam and “isolated” didn’t sound as emotional as “loneliness”. These words are repeated numerously in the story, and I decided to stick with the same translation every time, hoping that their repetition would add to their meaning.

Grammatical gender, which is found in almost every Arabic phrase presented itself as less of a problem but an opportunity to be creative with the text. At times when the main character is reflecting on her situation, thinking hypothetically, the reflections take on a masculine subject.[5] Where mainstream English would encourage the use of neutral “it” or “one”, I favored using feminine gendered words, not the masculine gender of the original.  This was done in order to subvert accepted writing practices and to emphasize the female voice of what were feminine reflections on an undeniably female immigrant experience.  The character is walking down a road when a man approaches her and asks her to go to a movie, and the subsequent worries about her behavior, her image on the street, and intimate memories are undeniably personal and female.  Where the original Arabic used the masculine to denote generalization, my English translation used the feminine to emphasize feminine, personal space that the heroine/author enters during her reflections. In other instances, the grammatical gender of personified inanimate concepts (“Fate” and “the Sky”), was carried into the English.  This allowed the English reader’s conceptualization of these things be influenced by the Arabic classification, adding to the balancing act of translation.

As mentioned above, one technique used in the story is the repetition of the characteristics of the heroine’s home in contrast to characteristics of al ghurba.  In Arabic, words in serial lists are separated by an infinite number of was, a style completely different from English lists which are split by commas and a final and.  al-Amir repeats short lists several times in the story.  In my translation, some of these lists are codified and repeated using the accepted English style of punctuating serial lists.  In the case of a unique descriptive list, the ands were retained to maintain the disorienting and overwhelming feelings of the heroine, not effectively represented with comma-ed  list that end up reading and looking overly formal and organized.  Berman writes, “Prose often aims explicitly to recapture the orality of the vernacular… the effacement of vernaculars is thus a very serious injury to the textuality of prose works” (Berman 294).  With this and the orality and rhythm of the original in mind, I tried to maintain word order and phrasing as long as it was still readable in English.


In Mist, Dayzi al-Amir questions the possibility of the core idea of her story to be translated, [6]  recalling the impossibility of translation explained in Derrida’s Des Tours De Babel. The human condition and the plurality of languages and experiences makes it at once imperative and impossible to translate language.  That is the case with a story about ghurba.  In the process of translating this story, though, it became clear to me that translation is an imperfect, intimate, creative act.  Though the original text is not mine, while rewriting this story in English, the author’s feelings and experience combined with mine and surged through me as I worked.  I knew that I was writing Dayzi al-Amir’s short story, but I was writing my story too–a hybrid story informed by my Arab-American experience, al-Amir’s words, and my ability to render the story in English.  With the combined power of the author’s metaphors and our writing project in mind, I hope the story can enter another lingua-cultural world and find a new life.

Mist, by Dayzi al-Amir (From The Distant Land You Love, 1964)

She wrapped the woolen scarf tightly around her head to defend against the air and walked quickly, eager to reach her friend’s house and go inside her room.

The sun had disappeared hours earlier, for the sun, if it emerged, would disappear quickly in this strange country, well before the hour approached six in the evening.

She felt the air pinch her face, and drew the headscarf over her forehead and to her cheeks, covering most of her face with it. The harsh cold was unrelenting as a blanket of mist began to thicken. She started to feel lonely. She wished she could arrive quickly so she could forget the cold, gloom and loneliness.

The street was crowded with pedestrians. They are used to the cold and early nightfall, she told herself, and she… she would get used to it. She must forget or make herself forget the cold, the gloom, and the loneliness. She would have to stay here in this country for years before she could return to the sun and to the warmth,  to family and serenity.

Yes…  sun and warmth and family… but had she been as satisfied as she imagined? If that were the case, she would not have run away to where she had to endure the cold , the gloom, and loneliness. She had come in search of serenity, but had she found it?

If one was able to travel and leave everything behind her… if it were possible for her to leave her own self behind, why bother bringing it along with her when she went away? What was purpose of running away if what scared her and saddened her came with her?

A gust of wind blew her headscarf out of place and she lifted her head in order to re-tighten it when she saw that the blanket of mist had thickened more, and she felt increasingly lonely. She could hear the coughs of passers-by… then the heavy mist would return and with it the news of its victims, filling the columns of the front pages of the newspapers.

The previous week, the victims of snow were the heroes of the hour, before that, of the ice and before that, the rain. Just like that, every climate had its victim… and her country…  the country of sun and warmth, did she not have her victims? There the people lived with their families in their houses, warmed by the sun and tenderness, and they died during the day sometimes, victims to sun, the victims to tenderness, and victims to family.

The cold froze the tips of her fingers and toes. She dug her hands in her coat pockets in search of warmth and wished that she could find a warm place to bury her feet into when she heard a voice, speaking in a feeble English voice, “Would you like to watch a film?”

She was not sure how the word “No” exited her mouth… She said it with all the anger, pride, haughtiness and harshness the word could bear. She felt a wave of anger slap her in the face as she said it and she kept on walking without turning her face back to see the asker. The voice returned asking “Why not?” She turned her face to see a small dark man smiling at her with stupid propitiation. She did not bother with a response this time, but walked quickly, indeed, ran, as anger took hold of her completely. Who was this idiot who thought an invitation from any man crossing the street would be received agreeably by her? How could he think that she would accept his offer? She felt her dignity and pride push her to go back and search for him in the gloom, mist and cold… She would return to make him understand who she was and which house she came from and whom in her country could only dream of a response from her after their greeting her. She wished she could see him then and hear his invitation so she could give him a lecture about her country and the girls there and their virtuous upbringing and their place in society. Did that moron think that she would run to him in thanks and welcome his invitation without hesitation? If only he’d come back and make his proposition a second time, for the word “No” with all the pride, anger and contempt she loaded it with was not enough.

Was it her looks that suggested she was one of those cheap girls who would accept any offer from any man crossing the street?

She remembered that most of her face was covered, and what seemed strange then was that he had not been inspired uncouthly by her looks, but rather he had tried to invite any girl so she would alleviate his loneliness. Her rage intensified. So she was the same as the rest of the girls and no longer had any of the special significance that she enjoyed in her country!! He who said al-ghurba tuḍayi’ al-aṣl[7] was right. al-ghurba tuḍayi’ al-aṣl. If she attempted to translate this saying to the people of this and, what would they understand from it? And if she tried to explain it to the stranger who called on her? The stranger!! The stranger! He was also a stranger… a stranger like her… and he had lost his origins when he became a stranger here.

She recalled the image of the dark, thin man with his broken voice.  He had been thin, scrawny, and pitiful, in his voice was a tone of painful begging, especially when he came back to ask, “Why not?”.

Was he intending to devalue her when he invited her or was he just another victim of the victims of loneliness? He might have thought for a long time before offering his invitation, and many girls might have passed by him that he might have tried asking, but his courage had failed him. It was, perhaps, her fate that courage had come to him just when she  had come by. Should she be this angry at him? Or had the word “No,” which she pronounced in such a harsh tone, sufficed?

She imagined him in front of her putting his hand out asking for aid. If he had asked for money, would she had offered him her aid with all of her heart?

He had needed companionship then, so he had asked her friendship. Perhaps he had not spoken to anyone in days… He might have come from a clean house and a proper family like her own, but was a man who felt completely alone, just as she felt. She had left her warm room and hurried through this cold and mist and gloom, eager to reach her friend, wanting to eliminate, by talking to her, the fear of loneliness.

And he, was he not human of flesh and blood?

He might have been spoiled with luxury in his home. She remembered her brother when he would travel, how her mother would panic about him whenever she remembered he was far away from the family, the homeland and loved ones. Her mother would send letters to her brother wrought with home and the East and insisting that he mix with people and that he show them what she sent him so they would lighten some of his lonely feelings. Her mother would send letters of thanks to all of the people who would invite her son to visit them. She would say to her and her sisters, “You girls don’t know the meaning of being welcomed into a warm home full of people when you are a stranger.”

She now knew the meaning of solitude, and the meaning of loneliness, alienation and distance. Would it have hurt her to have rejected strange, dark, pitiful man’s invitation without so much severity in her voice? What if she followed the word ‘No’ with the word ‘thanks’ without it bearing the meaning of gratitude, like the people here used it? Or when they used it as a polite insult?

She imagined him in his house among his family and his mother enveloping him with all her tenderness and care, fearing that young women had kept him from her.

Perhaps he had been snobbish and stuck up in his country but the experience of alienation had humiliated him and loneliness brought him down from his pride so that he came to implore the passers-by begging to talk! And she… she didn’t feel any of that. All she felt was insult… insulted that this stuttering insolent stranger had dared to offer his invitation.

He was unlucky that day. There were tens of young women who would welcome any invitation from any man crossing the street. If he had offered to one of them he might have found some attention now, or found himself  arm in arm with someone and warm, or in a house. She lifted her head in search of him among the passers-by but saw no one and heard only sounds. The mist was pressing down heavily, and she discerned from among the sounds the voices of women and men. Those men had been able to find some female company and the ladies too had found some guys to be with. And the strange, scrawny dark man with the pitiful voice, had he found a lady to befriend? She wished she could see him with a girl so that she could feel relief and at ease about him.

Men walking alone passed by her, women also walked by individually. Solitude was the sickness of this country. There were many people who were alone besides the strange dark man with the pitiful voice.

Thinking of the great number people who were alone lightened her feeling of guilt.

The mist expanded, its control penetrating the air. She tried to discern some of the features of the road when she realized she was lost and didn’t know how to reach her friend’s house. She stopped, confused, gazing through the mist but she didn’t see anyone. She strained her hearing, but didn’t hear a sound. The road was empty and she would not be able to find anyone to guide her easily. She didn’t know where she was, and she was unable even to return to her house. Her heart started to beating strongly. She felt like she was suffocating and she wished she could hear the sound of a cough or feet or the voice of an invitation from a man crossing the street. Every time she went to visit her friend it was as if her feet lead her there without needing to think about the branching roads. So how had she gotten lost that night? What had made her lose her self?

Was it the mist? It was the mist and something else. The sky had taken revenge on behalf of the thin dark man with the pitiful voice and had left her wandering lost, unable to find a way out of the mist. She lifted her head up to the sky to engage her in prayer, and asked her to send someone she could ask about the way, and if she would, she concluded her prayer, she swore to god that she wouldn’t talk to a lonely stranger in a harsh tone ever again.

The thick mist barred the delivery of her prayer to the sky. She stood and waited… Her wait lengthened and she considered going backwards, thinking perhaps she would find a landmark that would lead her to her room, but she didn’t know which direction to head. She imagined that she would continue wandering until morning, then she decided she’d surrender to fate, perhaps her surrender would please him. She stopped for a unknown length of time before she heard the sound of feet. She didn’t allow herself to feel happy, afraid her hearing was deceiving  her, but the reassuring sound became clearer. Yes, it was the sound of feet; she pulled back the woolen scarf from her head to indulge her ears fully in the pleasure of sound of human movement, and didn’t think of anything but the approaching person. It was enough that she had found a human to speak to, and who she could ask to guide her to the way. When the person came closer she felt happiness and fear at once– she made out the form of a person, tall stature with wide shoulders and she hoped it were a police officer…  but the man drawing near was not a police officer. He passed by her without stopping or speaking or looking at her. She looked at him getting farther and farther away from her and fear knotted her tongue. She was scarcely able to speak up and pronounce a call out to him. He returned, stopped in front of her, and offered his help to her. She asked him about her street and he told her the number of meters she would have to walk before she had to turn right then the number of turns she had to pass before she would need to turn left and concluded his words with a comment about the weather, “A heavy mist, isn’t it?”

She was still muttering after saying, “Yes, it is,” when she heard him wishing her good night.

She replied to him, “Yes. It is a heavy mist.”




al-Amir, Daisy. The Waiting List: An Iraqi Woman’s Tales of Alienation. Translated by Barbara Parmenter. Austin: University of Texas, 1994.

Al-Amir, Dayzi. The Distant Country That You Love. Beirut: Dar al ‘ouda, 1964.

Berman, Antoine. “Translation and the Trials of the Foreign.” translated by Lawrence Venuti, 284-296. 1985.

Chamberlain, Lori. “Gender and the Metaphorics of Translation.” 314-329. 1988.

Cooke, Miriam. War’s Other Voices: Women Writers on the Lebanese Civil War. Syracuse University Press, 1996.

Ghazoul, Ferial. “Iraq.” In Arab Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide, edited by Radwa Ashour, Ferial Ghazoul and Reda-Mekdashi Hasna, translated by Mandy McClure. Cairo, 2008.

Simon, Sherry. Gender in Translation. New York: Routledge, 1996.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. “The Politics of Translation.” 1992.

Steiner, George. “The Hermeneutic Motion.” 187-191. 1975.

[1] From the cover page of the English translation of Dayzi al-Amir’s “ala la’ihat al-intizar” by Barbara Parmenter, published in 1994

[2] From Arab Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide 1873-1999

[3] Author’s Preface in The Waiting List translation, p. x

[4] Ibid.

[5] “… What was purpose of running away if what scares her and saddens her came with her?” was originally written in the masculine form. See paragraph six of translation below.

[6] “If she attempted to translate this saying to the people of this and, what would they understand from it?” ( paragraph 12 of Mist)

[7] الغربة تضيع الأصل No English word can capture the full meaning and implications of the word ghurba, a major theme in Arabic writing and mode of modern Arab existence. Ghurba is a figurative place, a feeling, an aching, the state of being outside of the homeland. The above idiom also utilizes transitive Arabic verb, tudee’, which cannot be rendered with the intransitive “to lose” of English. Attempted translations include: Alienation makes you lose your origins. Alienation means the loss of origin. Alienation erases origins. Alienation/Homelessness removes roots.

Criminalizing Islam

Criminalizing Islam: Islamophobia as an Apparatus of Punishment and Social Alienation



It must be said that deciding to write about Islamophobia in America is a choice I make not without some hesitation. I choose to address it firstly because it is specific and easily recognizable – though this does not reduce from its mystique. Also, in recent years its manifestations have become increasingly widespread and violent, and it continues to be a reason for concern for immigrants from different continents and religions. It is well-documented in various forms: news reports appearing in the form of newspaper articles, online reports of racial prejudice are widely available which make use of the term. It is becoming more commonly researched – the topic of its own journal issued from the University of California titled the Islamophobia Studies Journal. It has its own unique history, narratives, and unique dimensions This allows me ample resources to digest into a comprehensive understanding of its meaning and application in these times.

I find this moment and medium of expression to be suitable for piecing together some of the data I have collected on the topic, read in light of my newly acquired familiarity with overarching political and social developments we have addressed in our course and through my interest in the general discourse on punishment.

I hesitate because surely there are so many other topics worth addressing, but due to my personal exposure to Islamophobia and recent developments in the political theater, I am induced to attempt to draw some design of the phenomenon here. I say design because to rationalize or provide an aetiology of Muslim hatred, Islamophobic feelings, forces, and policies, seemingly straightforward, would mean falling for the same ill-informed subscription to a belief in narrow causal pathways — or worse: in a reasoned or rational genesis — that determines human conditions and behavior, the positivistic attitude which dominates the US psyche, of interest to me here and of which I hope to disarm of its potency and effects.

Indeed, Muslims and Middle Easterners have been marginalized by negative stereotypes in American media since the beginning of the camera and film; the harmful effects of Orientalist attitudes and of negative depictions of Arabs and Muslims in Hollywood and television have been researched and documented as reasons for the stigma attached to Muslim personhood and character. In what has been named the “Islamophobia industry”[1] is a multi-million dollar effort[2] in the media to demonize Islam and Muslims in the post-9-11 world while pushing Islamophobic rhetoric closer to that of a national cause, to great effect and success. In this arena, fictional accounts and those in the “real” (nonfiction) news media resemble one another so clearly that only the term narrative can be useful for describing the Islamophobic phrases that circulate through our American culture. Perennially portrayed as foreign, religious, and dogmatic, much has been written about the entertainment industry’s exploitations of American fear of Muslims that is further fomented by politicians and lawmakers utilizing these tropes and associating Islam to criminal violence.[3] Increasingly, the relationship between the TV and film industry with the Pentagon is of serious concern and has been described as a dangerous relationship of “mutual exploitation” whose collaborations actively blur the line between entertainment and fear-mongering flexing of military might.[4] However, war movies and popular culture are beyond the scope of this research.

In some sense, I am interested in seeing how representation relates to reality. Recently, British actor Riz Ahmed spoke before British parliament about the entertainment industry’s role in fomenting anti Muslim feelings because of the lack of positive portrayals of Muslims in British media and he suggested that a variety of roles be produced in order to reflect and encourage a reality of a diverse country of immigrants of different spiritualities and histories.[5] This is a somewhat topical observation about some of the facets of Islamophobia in western culture, a public relations approach that leaves out the harshness and complexity of the systemized phenomenon and its global impact. Aiding in the normalization of violence against Muslims, the film and television image of the violent, exotic Muslim is a powerful outward influence, not without its odd pernicious psychological reach, but the topic of Islamophobia is ripe for a realist, material-discursive approach. Understanding Islamophobia as a complex and profitable military apparatus[6] responsible at the highest order for current regimes of social control and racialized pain distribution offers much to the analyst.


Religion and the Body: Marking Muslim Bodies and Problems of Categorization

Recently, resemblant signs and symptoms of Islamophobic culture and policies that Europe and the United Kingdom have been experiencing have arrived in a huge wave and crashed into the White House in the form of the right-wing nationalist rhetoric of President Donald Trump and his administration. American Islamophobia, differs slightly from the European phenomenon; however, they are increasingly similar. Both target the same stereotypical body type and are marked by a right-wing, nationalist, anti-immigrant fervor that cites both economic and cultural problems as reason to bar Muslim emigres. Currently, 8% of France’s population is Muslim and the Muslim population in the United States is on the rise.[7] Despite this, Muslims face continuing inequities when attempting to fully participate in American (or French) society – both nations that pride themselves on a spirit of religious tolerance.[8]

Instead of acceptance and inclusion, attached to Muslims are some of the heaviest stigmas and an atmosphere of public prejudice prevails against them. Muslims, who are mostly Asian and African, and who make up a significant part of the human population, are monitored and recognized for what are known to be characteristic Persian, Arab, and Semitic features of the peoples of the Middle East and West Asia, where the religion was revealed. These “Muslim” features are an ambiguous mix in the American racial imaginary, but the stereotypical “Arab Muslim Terrorist” image is the most widespread and painful. Professor Edward Said describes the criminalization of Arab and especially Palestinian bodies:

I mean I could say this almost without qualification: right from the moment I arrived in the West in the early 50s until the present, initially there’s always a sense in which as an Arab, and obviously as a Palestinian, you feel in some way criminalized or delinquent. So powerful is this definition of you as somebody whose outside the pale. Whose sole purpose in life is to kill…[9]

However a person need not actually have ties to the religion to be marked as criminal by virtue of his muslimness. Recent killings of Hindus and Sikhs confirm that the Muslim terrorist stereotype has nothing to do with faith but is a racialized one which affects people of other faiths and religious background.[10] I argue that the use of the world Islamic by American commentators to describe criminal terrorist behavior is extremely irresponsible and has been harmful for Muslims and those mistaken to be Muslims. Islam is blamed for terror acts like the September 11 attacks, and more recently bombings in Paris and US domestic attacks at the Pulse nightclubs, or the Boston Marathon bombing. Called the “Islam is Responsible” mantra[11] this is a common habit in US culture since 9-11 and subsequent conflicts in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which carelessly uses Islam as an explanation for violent behaviors, Islam is here portrayed as a homogeneous, repressive, mindless enemy ideology whose adherents are likewise villainized, without any attempt to understand the world, its conflicts and ills more deeply.

This simplistic understanding of identity and religion in society falls victim to classical errors about the nature of being and realities of personal identity. As a categorical description, Islamic can be used to describe a set or practices, a religious literature, an art aesthetic, cosmology, or worldview. What is Muslim identity made up of? How do we determine what is Islamic among a diversity of traditions and philosophical positions? Islam is not a static object, but a dynamic body of interrelated knowledges, histories, personal identities, and practices. Likewise, any individual agent’s categorization and identity is multi-faceted and dynamic.

It is true that there exists an institutionalized, normalized, mainstream formal Islam of law which has observable exoteric faces, however, this is not all that Islam is and what the term is used to denote in today’s vocabulary. The fogginess of the existing definition is what makes me contend that to characterize President Trump’s executive order restricting travel to the United States by persons from first seven, then six Muslim-majority nations as a “Muslim Ban” is undue. This naming obscures the fact that an international class of privileged persons from the nations are still able to travel freely and the order is mostly a sign of hostility and ill will toward a foreignized other, and the desire to deter refugees and other poor people from the United States in order to please Trump’s base supporters who view immigrants threateningly.


Normalizing Muslims: The Complimentary Function of Islamophobia and Islamophilia in the American Imagination and Respectability

Despite the fact that the so-called Muslim Ban and other hostile comments by Trump administration members continue make headlines and shock the nation as some sort of racist anomaly, Islamophobic ignorance does not come as a surprise to those familiar with the plight of Muslims in the United States and Europe. Although Mosques and Masjids (Islamic houses of worship) have existed in the United States for over a century Islam, has not been well understood or properly imagined by Americans throughout the years. The earliest recognition of Islam in America is associated with Black African Americans — one of the first records of the United States Muslim population was written by sociologist Erdman Beynon who understood the practitioners as members of a “voodoo cult”[12] — and this image still informs the image of (especially Black) Islam today. More and more, the figure of the African American Muslim, popularized in Hip Hop and culture, has been eclipsed by the Arab and South Asian image, probably due to immigration trends and geo-political developments.

The War on Terror poses Wahhabism as a sect of Islam “responsible” for terrorist plots like the 9-11 attacks.[13] Antagonism toward “Radical Islam “as a patriotic call and national mission is cited often in congressional meetings of late. At the same time, domestic terror plots by agents like those who planned the Boston bombings, American residents of Islamic heritage, are also demonized as Muslim attackers, engaged in some kind of holy war, rather than regular terrorists which should be subject to criminal law and processing. This weak linkage and the dominance of a confrontational Muslim essence in the American cultural imagination is what allows the “Islam is Responsible” mantra to proliferate, and aids the logic which encourages a criminalizing of Muslim subjecthood, a social type that serves as the perpetrator behind terrorism. This mentality is most achingly obvious in the lazy, broadstroke banning of immigrants from entering the United States from specific Muslim countries, those most resemblant of the stereotype feared.

The truth is that Muslim populations in the United States are a diverse stratum, ranging from European Muslims like those from Bosnia to Black American Muslims living New York City, to Ethiopian immigrants and Saudi Arabian international students. What has emerged in the tension following 9-11 and more recent terror plots by Muslim identified persons is cultural vetting process set up to determine which among them are “Good Muslims” who are well-adapted to US culture and practices, separate from the negative stereotype of anti-democratic, regressive Muslim people who are not welcomed in the same way or granted the comfort and civil liberties of the “Good” members.[14] This brand of respectability politics is closely tied with racist ideologies that allows certain dispositions, characters of a certain physiognomic appearance that places them at the crosshairs of policing and surveillance, and is not different from traditional anti-Black racism, whose patronizing gaze infantilizes and criminalized people of color of people of other cultures and traditions. What has been called Islamophilia is the opposite end of the constraining affect of Islamophobia: it is the love of Muslims who adapt ad perform accepted behavioral norms and support the larger ideological aims of western Neoliberalism without critical analysis, an easier position to take since with it comes greater access to cultural resources (Respectability) and entrance into broader circles of society.[15]

Islamic influences in American society, history, and culture are obscured by native or otherwise acceptable identity markers (“Black” “African American” “Near Eastern” “Abrahamic” “Meditteranean” all fall under this category). My observations of social relationships and my personal experimental trials in interactions with New York City residents have guided me to understand the status quo of racial relationships in the US city. These boundaries and comfort zones are subconsciously implanted and practiced consciously in every-day tasks and affairs — American cultural expression is a type of constantly negotiated script which determines who is included and what type of expression is unacceptable. Those deemed acceptable in taste, behavior, styles, grammar, inflections, values, and goals are allowed to pursue the “American Dream” and participation in the “game” of American middle class to increase status and cultural centrality, the best zip codes and automobiles, the new haircuts and academic degrees, respected brands and positions in companies. Inter-racial conflicts at the frontiers of this social war reach their most critical in the cities like New York and Los Angeles where neighborhoods and resources are claimed by different groups. Harlem, my neighborhood, is a bustling part of New York City whose inhabitants are constantly changing. Visitors from Europe mingle with African and Latino locals; however, these areas are ghettoized and high crime is a “normal social fact”.[16]

Despite the fact that they are not so constrained by the control of “communities of fate” such as cultural tradition and family,[17] Muslims are thusly alienated, oversexualized. The predicament of the Young Arab Woman, The Young Arab Man is one of a closely monitored sexuality and behavior from their native community and the host community. Arabs and Muslims as treated as enemies of the state and Racial Status Quo, whose social Stigma and experience of urban orientalism and casts them as the ghetto race, theirs a ghettoized and militant religion. Erasure, ignorance, and denial of Islamic civilization’s contribution to art, the humanities and science in the United State educational curriculum for example, contributes to the questioning of Muslim humanity. In this way, American social surveillance and pressure to assimilate denies Muslims and immigrants safe spiritual space, and stifles creative development of their thought and abilities. Continually isolated and stigmatized, American cultural politics continually produces a disparity between Muslims and people of other faiths, and a fear of a regressive, anti-social, Islamic germ or virus contributes to a cycle of poverty and degeneration conducive to crime.

On the other hand, Normalizing Muslims through Islamophilic rhetoric and the image of the “Good Muslim” for Professor Nazia Kazi of Stockton Universty in New Jersey is just as oppressive as bigoted attitudinal Islamophobia and she suggests the dismantling of racial domination and critical thinking as an antidotes to this tension. In her interview on the independent news program Democracy Now, Nazia Kazi’s responded to North England American’s fear of domestic terrorism:

…what I argue is to insert critical thinking as a terrorism prevention tool, you know, a way of thinking past these simplistic binaries, and thinking geopolitically, historically and contextually, making connections between U.S. racism domestically and imperialism abroad.[18]

Throughout the past century, molded in response to US imperialism’s opportunistic geo-political aims, Islam has existed and has been portrayed in the American imaginary realms as a religion of underclass followers, criminal Black nationalists, and anti-American Arabs whose loyalty to the United States is ambivalent. This has culminated in a reality of antagonism and violence that continues to shock the world and members of every community and faith.


Digital Imprisonment and American Muslim Surveillance

Here I aim to describe how the representation of Islam as criminal and antagonistic to American values and identity is proffered and performed, influences culture and social forms, and is directly related to and provides the justification for policies of surveillance and other forms of monitoring and punishment in civil society. The most disconcerting parts of the new age policing apparatus is that it is seemingly driven and posed to address what is perceived as an increase in so-called radical Islamic terrorism in the taking the form of bombing and shootings perpetrated by persons affiliated with the religion. This apparatus of racial domination relies on so many presumptions, and demonstrates a mentality of divisiveness and detention as preferable to unification and absolution and so on. It also privileges a class-based, deterministic behavioral psychology in its predictions and policies.

Encouraged and emboldened by the large Islamophobia industry, the NYPD and other security agencies have increasingly criminalized Muslim populations in recent decades; the mapping and surveilling of American Muslims since 9-11 is well documented.[19] Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly writes in his best-selling autobiography that the threat of terrorism is one that “never sleeps” – referring specifically to the criminal threat posed by Muslims.[20] This citing of “Security reasons” as a cover for Muslim subjugation is a great example of the New Penology policy described by Simon and Feeley in their article “The New Penology: Notes on the Emerging Strategy of Corrections and its Implications”. In their study, they Simon and Feeley deduce that:

The new penology is neither about punishing nor about rehabilitating individuals. It is about identifying and managing unruly groups. It is concerned with the rationality not of individual behavior or even community organization, but of managerial processes. Its goal is not to eliminate crime but to make it tolerable through systemic coordination.[21]

In response to the desire for management of certain populations, increased policing and surveillance (digital and otherwise), Professor Hatem Bazian of the University of California has been led to dub Muslims “Civil Society’s Prisoners” who are so constrained and isolated by cultural narratives and norms that their existence is not so different than a prisoner in solitary confinement.[22]

In a similar way to the production of “good” Muslimness and its performance as a process of social control, I am interested in studying further how it is that US residents are acting out Muslim guilt and fear and the amelioration of these conditions. Muslim guilt is introduced and imposed through psycho-social processes such as micro-aggressions and, aided by the news/entertainment media, produces a felt criminal subjectivity among Muslim youth and embraced by groups for whom the state serves as an enemy. In his analysis of criminal character types Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis offer us a deeper and nuanced way of understanding another layer of Muslim psycho-reality and subject-hood. He relays that guilt is tied very closely to the moment of the crime, sometimes felt before the act. Similarly, Asim Qureshi at the Surveillance and the Mosque Conference at Columbia University on April 7, 2011 discussed the belief in a theoretical “pre-criminal space” that exists for analysts to predict the behavior of a subject under surveillance or observation. This brings up many questions about gauging behaviors and attitudes of Muslim subjects in an environment of fear and paranoia which is so characteristic of the ongoing War on Terror (now more blatantly described as a vested effort to wipe out what are called “Muslim radicals” of those affiliated with the “Islamic State”). What are the invisible dimensions and affects of racism and Muslim subjecthood in the Unites States? How does criminal subjectification imprison Muslims?

It is not easy for me to comment on the psycho-social consciousness, identity, and social insecurity faced by every Muslim in America, except to say that presumption and prediction can lead to type of dictation of behavior, an act to act out, upon, or on in much the same way that gender categorization functions. The differences in individual experiences and behaviors are that which mystifies and debunks any rational explanation for violence, no matter the background of the offender. Since terror and violence cannot be clearly traced to one of these positionality or approaches toward life, it is difficult to find reasonable explanation for it. The surveillance of Muslims and predictive policing relies on a belief in deterministic pathology and causal pathways for its justification.


(Re)producing Criminal Muslims: Islamophobia, Crime and Prison Culture

More serious than simple Islamophobia and cultural subjectification, which is rejected by so many, projections of persons, bodies, and characteristics meant to represent Islam or what is Islamic has led to the oversimplification of Islam in western media and provides terror groups with an image, legitimacy, recruitment support, and impetus to act out. Despite its relationships white supremacy, simple xenophobia, anti-blackness, and anti-immigrant sentiment, Islamophobia is a distinct phenomenon operating in tandem with the predictive, penal regime of racial profiling and the pre-emptive strike logic of policymakers in our government. In mainstream popular discourse Islam is at odds with secular American governance, in fact the mainstream media is constantly polarizing Islam and its legal tradition from so-called Western ideals. By antagonizing Islam, the State is able to march on in a state of total war and further the reach of its commercial and cultural empire.

Part of the impact of projecting an antagonistic image of Islam is that in prisons, inmates have embraced some version of Islam as an alternative religion, one symbolic of popular resistance against apparently American crimes and what they deem an unethical, materialistic culture and practices. However, we must think about what practical purpose the “conversion” in prison serves and the deeper psychological experience of prison conversion. I can only offer my own speculation about the constraints of prison life, and taking into account that conversion may occur for the sake of belonging in increasingly violent prison settings.

As they mimic the iconic Nation of Islam leader Malcolm X, prison converts also experience a form of spiritual salvation and more easily submit to disciplinary processes. Embracing Islam, considered to be an anti-establishment religion, and engaging in religious rituals, inmates believe they are transcending state violence (a sort of mystic consciousness). I consider the transcendent quality of religion key here. Several studies and reports cite the beneficial effects of Islamic conversion in US prisons, leading to better prisoner self-esteem and discipline.[23] Also, recently, state corrections officers and workers in the State of New York have coopted religious discourse into prison mental health initiatives and anti-recidivism campaigns.[24] How is it that these differences in goals and consciousness exist concurrently?

In this way, Islam becomes instrumental in American governance and contradicts the stereotype of Islam as a foreign, subversive, anti-American religion. At the same time, prison converts see themselves as outsmarting or transcending violence. It has been said that “homegrown” radicalism is one of the products of this phenomenon. Mark Hamm in his report on Prison Islam notes, that according to an undated[25] report issued by the Homeland Security Policy Institute and Critical Incident Analysis Prisoner Radicalization Task Force at George Washington University in Washington DC titled Out of the Shadows: Getting Ahead of Prisoner Radicalization “because Islam often feeds on resentment and anger within prisons, it is a religion that ‘poses a threat of unknown magnitude to the national security of the U.S.’”[26] Extremist groups have indeed developed in prison. I would like to study the imprisonment of Islamists in the Arab world (imprisonment of Muslim Brothers under Nasser) and also the rise of the Nation of Islam in and its relationship to the US prison population during the past century to notice these trends.

By forming a new identity and affiliations, inmates can survive the mortification of the self that is the prison’s main purpose. However, this psychological strategy does not lesson the trauma and self-destructive mechanism of solitary confinement and imprisonment. Many formerly incarcerated people commit suicide or slide back into crime. Or else, they can no longer continue their religious practices once they are out of prison. All the while, the perception of Islam as a criminal religion is pervasive, despite its positive influence on some converts. The same transformative dynamism that the psyche is capable of and is evident in religious conversion and the freedom it provides, offers a hint at the solution of the puzzle of identity constraints in our investigation — that is — that it is not fixed but dynamic.



Islamophobia is related to predictive policing and a belief narrow determinants to behavior, and is a major contributor to the proliferation of the modern militarized punishment apparatus in the United States. This policy is a stem from an overall cultural shift toward the an individualistic, scientific, and positivist culture in the West claiming to maintain a grip on reasoned and moral action and social forms. Underwriting these conditions is a history of racist imperialist ideologies and compounded with violent encounters with Eastern, Oriental, and African Others in a competition for dominance in a broad Asian and African Continent, and a rejection of higher ethical calls and humanistic standards of communication.

In the new world of the United States domination, European colonial identity transforms into American cultural hegemony run by a belief in secular democratic governance as championed by governments in the US and its allies. The dominance of American liberalism is supported by cultural and religious affiliation between groups of Europeans and the American settler population, whose rules for membership are constantly negotiated and under construction depending on geo-political trends. The borders evolve with extreme and opportune discrimination — Muslims as of yet continue to face exclusion in American and European society and suffer under policies of digital surveillance and profiling. We hope this changes and Islam becomes once again a European religion and slowly an American religion, as well.



Bibliography and References

Bazian, Hatem. “Virtual Internment: Arabs: Muslims, Asians and the War on Terrorism”. The Journal of Islamic Law and Culture. Vol. 9. No. 1

Beynon, Erdman Doane. “The Voodoo Cult Among Negro Migrants in Detroit.” American Journal of Sociology, Volume 43, No. 6, University of Chicago Press, May 1938, 894-907.

Clear, Todd R. Bruce D. Stout. Harry R. Dammer, Linda Kelly, Patricia L. Hardyman, & Carol Shapiro. “Does Involvement in Religion Help Prisoners Adjust to Prison? NCCD Focus. The National Council on Crime and Delinquency, November 1992.

Feeley, Malcom M. and Jonathan Simon. “The New Penology: Notes on the Emerging Strategy of Corrections and its Implications”. Criminology. Vol. 30. No. 4. 1992. 449-474.

Foucault, Michel. “Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977”. Ed. Colin Gordon. Trans. Colin Gordon, Leo Marshall, John Mepham, Kate Soper. New York: Pantheon Books, 1980.

Freud, Sigmund. “Some Character-Types Met with in Psycho-Analytic Work.” The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume 14 (1914-1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works, 1916, 309-333.

Garland, David. “The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society”. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 2001.

Haddad, Yvonne Y. “A Century of Islam in America.” Hamdard Islamicus Vol. 21. Number 4. 1997.

Haddad, Yvonne Y. and Nazir Nader Harb. “Post-9/11: Making Islam and American Religion.” Religions. 2014, 5, 477-501.

Hamm, Mark S. “Prison Islam in the Age of Sacred Terror.” British Journal of Criminology. Volume 49. No. 5. September 2009, 667–685.

“Terrorism: Radical Islamic Influence of Chaplaincy of the U.S. Military and Prisons” Hearing before the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security of the Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate. 108th Cong. First Session, October 14, 2003.


Video References

Ahmed, Riz. Personal Address to British Parliament

Butler, Judith. On Talal Asad Suicide Bombing:

Edward Said, voice. In Exiles documentary, 1986.



[1] See this article that details the CAIR and Berkeley report on the Islamophobia business: which declares that over 200 million spent on Islamophobia activities in 2016

[2] The most ardent of Islamophobia sponsors, dubbed the “Sugar Mama of anti-Muslim hate” is Gatestone Institute founder Nina Rosenwald, Gatestone funds pro-Israel lobbies in Washington DC and far right thinktanks focused on eliminating or slowing the “Islamicization” of Europe

[3] See this example by Lorraine Ali titled “Exploiting fear of Muslims? The far right has nothing on liberal Hollywood” published in the LA Times which paints the Hollywood enterprise as more detrimental to Muslim wellbeing than the far right.

[4] Detailed in this article on Al-Jazeera America titled “Hollywood and the Pentagon: A relationship of mutual exploitation by Jaime Tarabay

[5] Riz MC promotes diversity in TV and Movies,

[6] Michel Foucault’s definition of apparatus (dispositif) is useful here: “a thoroughly heterogeneous ensemble consisting of discourses, institutions, architectural forms, regulatory decisions, laws, administrative measures, scientific statements, philosophical, moral and philanthropic propositions – in short, the said as much as the unsaid. Such are the elements of the apparatus. The apparatus itself is the system of relations that can be established between these elements.”

[7] In response to increasing numbers of Muslims in American educational institutions and numbers of American Muslims Professor Yvonne Y. Haddad in 1997 documents in “A Century of Islam in America” the growth of the religion’s adherents in the United States. She predicted that by 2015, Islam would be the second largest religion in the United States. At the time of writing this has yet not come to pass.

[8] Yvonne Haddad, 1.

[9] Edward Said, voice. In Exiles documentary, 1986.

[10] Schmidt, Samantha. “Suspect in Kansas bar shooting of Indians apparently thought they were Iranians” The Washington Post.

[11] Bazian, Hatam. “The ‘Islam is Responsible’ mantra”

[12] Beynon, 1938

[13] Opening statement by U.S. Senator Jon Kyl in “Terrorism” Senate Hearing, 2003

[14] Sara Yasin describes the Good Muslim-Bad Muslim dichotomy here:

[15] In this NPR report, Nesrine Malik says: I am not your Muslim! Rebelling against Islamophilia and static archetypes proffered by American culture for Muslims who desire greater participation in cultural and social affairs

[16] David Garland, The Culture of Control,  106

[17] David Garland, 89

[18] Her comments in the interview are available online:

[19] “Mapping Muslims: NYPD spying and its Impact on Muslims”

[20] Ray Kelly, “Vigilance: My life serving American and Protecting its Empire City” 2015

[21] Feeley and Simon, 455

[22]Bazian, Hatem. “Muslims are Civil Society’s Prisoners.” The Daily Sabah. December 17, 2015. Accessed March 8, 2017.

[23] Clear, Todd R. Bruce D. Stout. Harry R. Dammer, Linda Kelly, Patricia L. Hardyman, & Carol Shapiro. “Does Involvement in Religion Help Prisoners Adjust to Prison? NCCD Focus. The National Council on Crime and Delinquency, November 1992.

[24] The multi million dollar effort to improve the mental health of NYC residents is reported on here–mental-health-roadmap-all#/0 and here–an–850-million-overhaul-of-the-city-s-mental-health-services.html

[25] September 19, 2006 according to a leaflet by Eric Vogt, a forensics trainer

[26] Hamm, 670