Global Histories and Practices of Islamophobia

September 30 – October 1, 2023

Convened by members of the Georgetown University in Qatar faculty, the second conference in the Hiwaraat series brought together a diverse collection of professionals, academics, government officials, artists, and students to explore the global, historical, theological, and political dimensions that drive practices of Islamophobia. The conference also provided a platform for public engagement on this pressing issue.

Day 1

Opening Remarks

Conference Welcome

Abdullah Al-Arian, Associate Professor of History and Chair of International History, GU-Q

Opening Remarks

Edward J. Kolla, Associate Professor of History and Faculty Chairperson, GU-Q

Keynote Speaker Introduction

Karine Walther, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Certificate in American Studies program, GU-Q

Intellectual Roots of Islamophobia

In this panel discussion moderated by Abdullah Al-Arian, Associate Professor of History at GU-Q, esteemed political scientists, theorists, historians and experts in Islam identified the historical sources of anti-Islamic rhetoric and its lasting impact on the perception of Islam and Muslims today.

Andrew Hammond, University of Oxford
Anne Norton, University of Pennsylvania
Firat Oruc, Georgetown University Qatar
Salman Sayyid, University of Leeds

Islamophobia is a type of racialized governance that governs expressions of Muslimness, though you don’t have to be Muslim to be subject to Islamophobia.”

 —Salman Sayyid, University of Leeds

Islamophobia and Empire

Chaired by Associate Professor of History Karine Walther, this panel discussed the promulgation of Islamophobia as a tool to control resources and power.

Oli Charbonneau, University of Glasgow
Hafsa Kanjwal, Lafayette College
Deepa Kumar, Rutgers University
Nader Hashemi, Georgetown University

Islamophobia and Racialization

Assistant Professor of History Anne-Sophie Pratte chaired this discussion on the economic, intellectual, and philosophical ties between racism and anti-Islamic sentiment.

Sahar Aziz, Rutgers University
Haiyun Ma, Frostburg State University
Nahed Samour,  Radboud University.
Stephen Sheehi, College of William & Mary

Day 2

Constructing the Narrative: Islamophobia and the Media

Chaired by Jamal Elshayyal, journalist, producer, and strategist at Al Jazeera, this discussion convened documentarians, scholars, and media figures. They provided a deep dive into the internal and external pressures that lead media networks to create negative portrayals of Islam and Muslims.

Spencer Ackerman, The Nation
Laila Al-Arian, Aljazeera Network
Mohamad Elmasry, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies
Sana Saeed, AJ+

Islamophobia and the Global War on Terror

Visiting Assistant Professor Nadya Sbaiti moderated this discussion with activists and academics on the impact of the global war on terror on familities and communities around the world, and what can be done to stop it.

Lisa Bhungalia, Kent State University
Haim Bresheeth-Zabner, SOAS University of London
Carol W.N. Fadda, Syracuse University
Thomas Simsarian Dolan, Emory University

Zaynab Quadri, Ohio State University

Qatar, the World Cup, and Islamophobia

Visiting Research Fellow Danyel Reiche led this penetrating discussion into how Islamophobic narratives affected coverage of the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022, and the impact of sports diplomacy on combatting Islamophobia.

Craig LaMay, Northwestern University Qatar

Shireen Ahmad,  Multi-platform Sports Journalist
Tony Karon, Al Jazeera Media Network
Thomas Ross Griffin, Qatar University

Closing Roundtable Discussion

In the concluding panel discussion, prominent figures combatting Islamophobia in Qatar and globally addressed the primary factors fueling anti-Islamic sentiment worldwide. They also discussed strategies to raise awareness and counteract this harmful discourse.

Chair: Firat Oruc, Georgetown University in Qatar
Yasin Aktay, Turkish Academy of Science (TÜBA)
Anne Norton, University of Pennsylvania
His Excellency Dr. Khalid Fahad Al-Khater, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar
John Esposito, Georgetown University
Afreen Fatima, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, World for All Foundation

As part of its foreign policy agenda, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently undertaking a series of initiatives on anti-racism, including Islamophobia. As such, it welcomes this conference as a timely intervention to draw the world’s attention to this critical issue.”

—HE Ambassador Khalid Fahad al Khater, Director, Policy Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

I think that the value of this conference is that it underscores the extent to which there has been a globalization of Islamophobia…Islamophobia is not something that’s going to go away soon, the situation has gotten worse and worse.”

—John Esposito, Professor of Religion, International Affairs, and Islamic Studies, Georgetown University