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Islamophobia: Challenges in the twenty-first century

From June 25, 2020 until July 22, 2020The conferences will be posted on Thursday, June 25 and two Wednesdays, July 8 and 22, at 6:00 p.m.
Casa Árabe’s channels on YouTube, Soundcloud and social media. #QuédateenCasa The conferences will be posted on Thursday, June 25 and two Wednesdays, July 8 and 22, at 6:00 p.m.
In Spanish.

On Thursday, June 25, we are beginning this series of three conferences, in which the same number of experts will be speaking about the phenomenon of Islamophobia. The first will be Luz Gómez García, a tenured professor with the Department of Arab and Islamic Studies at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, on the ways in which Islamophobia is promoted from enlightened positions.

Luz Gómez García  will explain what Islamophobia consists of, its causes and its consequences, and she will illustrate this by explaining some of the channels through which it is expressed and the main role-players involved, mainly in Spain, but also in France and Great Britain.

The fear of Muslims or Islam, of “otherness” in a general sense, seems to have become one of the most notable social fears in recent times. The use of supposedly “Western” values such as freedom of expression, gender equality and national identity question the Muslim presence in large metropolitan spaces in the West. Though apparently in a minority of the country, Spain is not devoid of this anti-Islamic or anti-Muslim phobia, reproducing clichés and stereotypes which, given the current health crisis and the foreseeable financial crisis, are being magnified by certain sectors of the population.

To some, these fears are nothing more than an expression of increasing Islamophobia, a concept not free from controversy which has been among us for years now and is growing more acute in hard times. But how can we define Islamophobia in an objective way? Is it a form of religious discrimination?Or gender discrimination? Or a form of racism and/or xenophobia? What forms of expression has this type of discrimination taken on in Spain and Europe, in both the past and present? How do these manifestations influence different national identities an cultural traditions? Ultimately, how can be put a stop to this unreasonable hatred towards “otherness”?

In order to discuss these and other cross-cutting topics related with the concept of Islamophobia and its historical and current representation, we will be relying on interventions by three experts on the subject:

- Thursday, June 25: "Enlightened" forms of Islamophobic discourse, by Luz Gómez García.
- Wednesday, July 8: Gender-based Islamophobia: An introduction, by Laura Mijares.
- Wednesday, July 22: Islamophobia in Barcelona: Diagnosis and municipal strategies, by Ariadna Solé.

Luz Gómez García is an associate professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. A specialist in Arab ideologies and contemporary Islamic discourses, she has published Entre la sharía y la yihad. Una historia intelectual del islamismo (Between Shari’a and Jihad:An intellectual history of Islamism,  2018) and Islam y desposesión. Resignificar la pertenencia (Islam and Dispossession: Resignifying belonging,  2019). She is the main researcher on the project “Representations of Islam in the Glocal Mediterranean: Conceptual cartography and history” of the National Research Plan MICINN-ERDF 2018. She contributes to the newspaper El País.

Laura Mijares is an Arabist educated at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) with a PhD in International Mediterranean Studies from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM). A tenured professor at the UCM, she focuses her work on the sociology of Muslim people, placing special attention on the topics of youth, gender, Islamophobia and discrimination of these populations in Europe and Spain. Some of her most notable recent publications include Luchando contra la subalternidad: las reivindicaciones de la población musulmana en Madrid (Fighting Subordination: The claims sought by the Muslim population in Madrid, 2018), Rethinking Re-Islamization. On Muslims and Gender in Spain (2018).

Ariadna Solé has a PhD in Social Anthropology. Her research has focused mainly on the study of Muslim rites in Catalonia; especially among the Senegalese population; study of Islamophobic discourses and practices, and, most recently, on the economic empowerment of women of Pakistani origin in Barcelona. She is currently an associate professor at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and a technician for the Office of Religious Affairs for the Municipal Government of Barcelona.
Islamophobia: Challenges in the twenty-first century