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Sadek, N. (2017). Islamophobia, Shame, and the Collapse of Muslim Identities. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 14(3):200-221.

(2017). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 14(3):200-221

Islamophobia, Shame, and the Collapse of Muslim Identities

Noha Sadek

In this paper, I explore the impact of Islamophobia on contemporary Muslim identities. I examine how Islamophobia and the question of Muslim identities appear in the cultural uses of symbols and media discourses in the West and in the psychoanalysis of a Lebanese-American woman who identified as a “secular Muslim.” The paper discusses how Islamophobia, through its creation and propagation of Muslim stereotypes, flattens the depth, diversity, and historicity of Muslim identities; it examines, as well, how Muslims internalize these stereotypes. This internalization and the direct experiences with injurious speech, discriminatory acts and hate crimes may lead to shame. Driven by shame, Muslims may sever the tie to their cultural background or idealize their Islamic religion or culture, perceived to be located in the space and time of the “glorious Islamic past,” as in the case of Islamic fundamentalism. While these strategies may protect Muslims from their painful shame, they risk collapsing their identities. I also discuss some of the social defenses employed by Muslim communities facing Islamophobia, which may reinforce the stereotypes they are desperately trying to fight.

[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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