Fabricating Difference - Steven W Ramey

Fabricating Difference - Steven W Ramey

9. Racialized Religion in America: Terrorist Bodies, Turbans, and Mistaken Identity

Fabricating Difference - Steven W Ramey

Martha Smith Roberts [+-]
Denison University
Martha Smith Roberts is Assistant Professor of Religion at Denison University. Her primary research is a critical analysis of post-racial and post-ethnic theories of American religious pluralism. Roberts is also working on a co-authored manuscript analyzing the various spiritualities emerging within the hula hooping subculture. She is the Executive Secretary and Treasurer for the North American Association for the Study of Religion, and she also serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Diversity and Civic Life in Austin, Texas.


In the United States, people who identify as Muslims become caught within the rhetoric of authentic / inauthentic religion. The discourse of pluralism accepts different religious identifications, but discourses of American security often attempt to exclude Islam as a threat, leading to the racialization of Islam that marks anyone who presents physical markers, including skin tone, that some associate with Islam to be a potential threat. Procedures of monitoring and acts of revenge both focus on bodies that are marked as different in these ways. Such actions have resulted in violence against people who identify both as Muslim and as non-Muslim because they fit a particular phenotype, generating efforts by some to emphasize their non-Muslim identification over any ethnic or national identification. These confusions also generate calls to promote better religious education in society and encourage some who identify as Muslim to turn outside the United States for community and safety.

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Smith Roberts, Martha. 9. Racialized Religion in America: Terrorist Bodies, Turbans, and Mistaken Identity. Fabricating Difference. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 100-109 Jul 2017. ISBN 9781781794876. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=31452. Date accessed: 14 Apr 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.31452. Jul 2017

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