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Akhtar, S. (2010). Editor's Introduction: An Alternative to the Current Literary Sport of Muslim Bashing. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 7(3):231-234.

(2010). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 7(3):231-234

Book Reviews and Commentary

Editor's Introduction: An Alternative to the Current Literary Sport of Muslim Bashing

Review by:
Salman Akhtar, M.D.

Like the froth on ocean waves, in the United States sensational books appear with each presidential campaign, each mindless carnage at a school, each revelation of debauchery by an admired politician, and each major setback in the country's economy. Following the natural rhythm of seasons, such publications come and go. Even the national bestsellers from this group are soon forgotten. One waits for the next publishing shoe to drop.

A noticeable exception to such transience is constituted by the books on Islam and Muslims that have begun appearing since the horrifying events of September, 2001. Nearly a decade has passed but the demand for them remains robust. Fresh titles keep appearing with dutiful regularity. Each new arrival attempts to be more revealing than its predecessors, more potent. Though many exceptions (e.g. Armstrong, 2002; Lazreg, 2009; Donner, 2010) exist, the basic recipe used in these books stays the same. Here are its ingredients:

ο    Present Islam as an inherently violent religion.

ο    Omit anything positive and helpful contained in the Quran.

ο    Homogenize the religion and overlook its different subgroups and variations.

ο    Conflate Muslims with Arabs and ignore the fact that 81 percent of Muslims are not Arabs; also forget that many Arabs are Christians and Jews.

ο    Do not distinguish regional and tribal customs (e.g. female genital mutilation in certain parts of Africa) from Islam's religious dictates.

ο    Make sure that no mention is made of the massacre of Muslims in the erstwhile Yugoslavia, the anti-Muslim riots in India, the death of hundreds of thousands of Muslim civilians in Iraq, and the drone bombings of wedding processions in Afghanistan.

ο    Declare Muslims to be anti-Western and anti-American, overlooking that Muslim and Western, and Muslim and American are not mutually exclusive categories.

ο    Pronounce

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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