Islam and the Politics of Enchantment

UNCC Author/Contributor (non-UNCC co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Gregory Starrett, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC )
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Abstract: The North American public sphere is suffused with claims and counter-claims about the relationship between Islam and violence. Schools and publishers have responded with training programmes for teachers and curriculum units for students introducing them to the Middle East and its dominant religious tradition. Such programmes are often accused by local parents and national intellectuals of pandering to Muslim sensitivities by whitewashing distasteful historical events and even proselytizing young people. Focusing on a 2002 lawsuit filed against California's Byron Union School District, by parents upset by a classroom role-playing exercise on Islam, this paper argues that political fears about terrorist infiltration into US society are building on powerful emotional and cultural concerns about the nature of ritual and the spiritual safety of children exposed to information about other religions. By encouraging public education as a response to political and cultural tensions, educators may in fact be heightening the public's concerns about Islam as a comprehensive threat.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Islam, secularism, education, United States

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