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Book: Fabricating Difference

Chapter: 9. Racialized Religion in America: Terrorist Bodies, Turbans, and Mistaken Identity

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.31452


In the United States, people who identify as Muslims become caught within the rhetoric of authentic / inauthentic religion. The discourse of pluralism accepts different religious identifications, but discourses of American security often attempt to exclude Islam as a threat, leading to the racialization of Islam that marks anyone who presents physical markers, including skin tone, that some associate with Islam to be a potential threat. Procedures of monitoring and acts of revenge both focus on bodies that are marked as different in these ways. Such actions have resulted in violence against people who identify both as Muslim and as non-Muslim because they fit a particular phenotype, generating efforts by some to emphasize their non-Muslim identification over any ethnic or national identification. These confusions also generate calls to promote better religious education in society and encourage some who identify as Muslim to turn outside the United States for community and safety.

Chapter Contributors

  • Martha Smith Roberts ( - mlsmith) 'University of California, Santa Barbara'