Minimalism At Home, Maximalism abroad: The Curious Case of Islamophobic Anti-Islamophobia

P U L S E

8f54ed819732badc8cd3e9fdba223d30 Artwork by Molly Crabapple 

Every once in a while, this space christened the Left—of whose foundational texts and core values I largely hold in regard—feels like a foreign place. The paradox is that occupying a place on the Left, a priori, is “supposed” to feel like refuge. 

A curious phenomenon I’ve come across on the Left is a politics of pro-Muslim islamophobia. Take for instance Angela Merkel’s proposition to ban the Niqab, or the face-veil. Of course, a ban would be an affront to egalitarian ideals. And a ban should be very much be opposed. But one noticeable knee-jerk reaction—even cliche—that many progressives have produced is that such an initiative would alienate German—and by extension all—Muslims, if not impel them to active opposition or radicalization. This is profoundly mistaken. There is no data that supports such a conclusion.

But it’s worth noting, first, the problematic nature of the underlying presumption: that…

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