by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary, on MAY 3, 2013:

Islamophobia in America by Carl Ernst

“Islamophobia is the name given to the virulent anti-Islamic prejudice that has been hyped by the news media and seized upon by cynical politicians. Five essays by six specialists on Islam in America provide important insights into Islamophobia as a conflict over American identity during a time of crisis. The authors clarify the way that differences of religion, race, and gender have been used to portray Muslims as threatening “out-groups,” just as other minorities (Catholics, Jews, blacks) have been attacked in the past. The result is a valuable and thought-provoking analysis of the tactics for denying full citizenship to a minority religious group.” — Islamophobia in America: Anatomy of Intolerance, edited by Carl Ernst (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013)

Last month, during a public discussion on American Muslims, UNC-Chapel Hill Islamic Studies Professor Carl Ernst spoke about the history, in America, of “minorities being targeted by irrational hatred.” Continue reading


A Common Word
The Boundaries of Religious Pluralism & Freedom: The Devil is in the Detail
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Georgetown University


As the official representative of A Common Word in North America, Alaweed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) is joined by the Georgetown University Office of the President to host this conference on the fifth anniversary of the historic Common Word initiative. The program is a follow-up to A Common Word: A Global Agenda for Change, held in October 2009 and Responding to the Challenges of Religious Pluralism & Conflict Resolution, held in April 2011. This year’s conference will explore the challenge of religious pluralism and intercommunal conflicts in Christian-Muslim relations today in post Arab Spring governments in Egypt and Tunisia, and their impact on religious freedom, civil liberties and security, equality of citizenship, and gender relations.

For conference program, see here
The program will also be webcast at:

Call for Papers

Being Muslim: How Local Islam Overturns Narratives of Exceptionalism
A Series of  Workshops at Vanderbilt University, Department of Religious Studies
*Multiple calls with varying deadlines*

The overwhelming majority of Muslims worldwide live outside the Middle East, especially in Africa and Asia, but the Islam they practice is generally devalued in public discourse in favor of the idealized Arabic-centric standard forms, especially found in Saudi Arabia and Egypt; likewise the majority of Muslims worldwide do not speak Arabic. This project seeks to bring  together several generations of scholars from all parts the world to complicate our and the publics understanding of the ways Islam has naturalized itself in communities worldwide, including more recent developments in Europe and America. Continue reading


Muslims and Others in Sacred Space
Edited by Margaret Cormack
Oxford University Press

This collection of seven essays offers wide-ranging and in-depth studies of locations sacred to Muslims, of the histories of these sites (real or imagined), and of the ways in which Muslims and members of other religions have interacted peaceably in sacred times and spaces. Continue reading

University of Illinois at Chicago
Institute for the Humanities
“Sharia and Halakha in America”
April 15-16, 2013

Islamic religious law — shari’a — has come under fierce attack in recent years, as a system that threatens American freedoms.  More quietly, there has been an attempt in San Francisco to ban circumcision, a ritual central to both Jewish and Muslim law, and bans on both Jewish and Muslim modes of slaughtering animals have been enacted in a number of European countries.  Indisputably, prejudice and hatred have played a large role in motivating these developments, but they have also raised some deep questions — often untreated in media accounts — about how liberal democracies can and should accommodate legal systems that are not themselves originally grounded on liberal or democratic principles.  One can pose a similar question from the opposite perspective: to what degree can systems of this sort adapt themselves to a liberal democratic environment?  Continue reading