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Mehdi, Z. (2017). Phobia of Religion: Religion as Islam a Political Argument and a Psychoanalytic Inquiry of Islamophobia in India. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 14(3):222-244.

(2017). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 14(3):222-244

Phobia of Religion: Religion as Islam a Political Argument and a Psychoanalytic Inquiry of Islamophobia in India

Zehra Mehdi, Phd Student

When Donald Trump imposed the “Muslim ban” what was surprising was the absence of any pretense to make it political. It wasn't a ban against some countries, it was a ban against Muslim countries or pithily against Muslims. But then what happens when the fear of intrusion underlying “banning” finds its realization in lynching? In the existing discourse on Islamophobia, how do we understand not only the Muslim who isn't allowed to enter but also the Muslim who is quite simply killed for having entered ages ago. In this paper, I share the trajectory of Muslims in India through history, politics, and psychoanalytic theory to present the case of Islamophobia in India. Developing on Edward Said's Orientalism (1978) and Gil Anidjar's, Secularism (2006), I explain how in the secular nation state of India, the phobia isn't of Islam; rather, it is of religion. The religion is identified as Islam. In this identification, national identity and religious identity are at loggerheads such that Muslims in between are left with an impossibility - they cannot be Indians as long as they are Muslims and they can never not be Muslims. In exploring the incidents of lynching, this paper presents a psycho-political reading of Muslims in India and their impossibility of being Indian.

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