Closing 2019 – Radicalization, Islamophobia and the Muslim women’s march

Dear reader,

As always, a list to close the year. It has been a busy and hectic year and to be honest I cannot really remember the last year when it wasn’t. Anyways, it was also a very productive year. Some projects have come to end and resulted in publications I’m really happy with. To name just three:

1) Radicalization in Belgium and the Netherlands – Criticial perspectives on violence and security. A volume I edited with two great colleagues: Nadia Fadil and Francesco Ragazzi. The book contains contributions from leading scholars discussing the coming about of the radicalization paradigm, the implementations and negotations on the local level, the participation of people from various professional circles and the Muslim communities, and the effects it produces.

2) Vijf mythen over islamofobie. A small Dutch work containing a rebuttal to five often mentioned critiques on the term Islamophobia. It is not a defense of the term as such, but an attempt to respond to and think through those critiques: Islamophobia as a invention by Khomeiny, Islamophobia as a logical fear of Muslims, Islam is not a race therefore Islamophobia does not equal racism, Islamophobia is not deadly and Islamophobia does not exist. The book is the result of my work with the Dutch anti-Islamophobia activists and observing the reactions they received on their work. And it is for FREE.

3) ‘No, I’m not a Salafist’ – Salafism, Secularism, and Securitization in the Netherlands. In this chapter in a volume edited by Tahir Abbas, Sadek Hamid, Sameera Ahmed, Asma Bala, Jürgen Endres, and Chloe A. Gill-Khan Political Muslims: Understanding Youth Resistance in a Global Context. In this chapter I discuss how in Dutch counterradicalization policies and the debates on Islam today, the focus is almost entirely on the phenomenon of Salafism. I examine the dominant factions within Dutch Sala­fism before 2013, when the foreign-fighter phenomenon became a contentious issue. By using Foucault’s concept of counter-conduct I analyze in particular how they engage with the public debates and how this engagement is informed by the public debates about Salafism.

I think these three publications provide you with a good idea of what my work is about and what it will be about in the coming years. So, now let’s turn to this blog. The five most popular 2019 posts on this blog are in Dutch (for the first time in many years).

Most read posts of 2019

1) De argumenten voor het verbod op de gezichtssluier. The arguments in favor of the ban on the face veil. In this (overall number one and 2019 number 1) post I reconsider the most common arguments used in the Dutch debates on the face veil. The ban became effective in August 2019.

2) Moslimvrouwen mars & S.P.E.A.K. – Muslim women’s March & S.P.E.A.K. My wonderful colleague Fouzia Outmany reports about the first public appearance of a new Muslim women’s network in the Netherlands which is working from an intersectional feminist perspective. It is a really interesting read but somehow I’m completely surprised by the fact that it is one of the most popular posts in 2019 and one of the most popular posts of all times by a guest author.

3) Over de niqaab en hoge hakken – And another guest author in the list: Annelies Moors. She has been a familiar face by now in the Dutch debates on the face veil and one of the few Dutch anthropologists who actually worked and still works with women wearing the face veil. In this post she responds to some of the critiques on her interview with Dutch TV in which she compared wearing the face veil with wearing high heels.

4) De profilering van moslim-achtigen in de media – Van Klaveren, blonde vrouwen en terrorisme. Profiling Muslim-ish in the media – Van Klaveren, blonde women and terrorism. Also the top 5 listing of this post is a surprise to me. Together with no 1, this is probably the post I received the most questions and comments about in meetings and lectures. It discusses how a Dutch newspaper uses the idea of moslim-achtige (Muslim-ish, or Muslim like, no idea how to translate it), or someone who ‘looks Muslim’, as a justification for putting someone with a beard on the front page in an article about a terror alert.

5) De eerste Nederlandse Muslim women’s march: Pure energie. The first Dutch Muslim women’s March: Pure energy. So number two is a surprise, this one is too. A report by Jamila Faloun on the Muslim women’s March organised by Berna Toprak, Ibtissam Abaaziz, Nawal Mustafa and Saida Derrazi.

Special mentions
A special shout out is also necessary here. An article, also in Dutch, by yet another fantastic colleague, Nadia Fadil: ‘It is not possible for me to be objective’. Inspired by Franz Fanon Nadia Fadil discusses the important issue of (the impossibility of) objectivity as a racialized social scientist.

The most popular English language contribution has been my series of articles ‘A short history of “good” and “bad” Muslims in the Netherlands’.

And very happy with the Spanish publication of my article on normalization of Islamophobia: Normalización de la islamofobia. ¿Qué queremos decir con esto? at La Red de la Islamofobia.

Most read posts from 2000 – 2019
The overall most popular posts are:
1) Muselmann – The prisoners who became ‘Muslims’ in Auschwitz. Still, by far, the most popular posts and also the overall number three of this year. What does the name given to a specific category of prisoners in the Auschwitz death camp mean? I’m thinking of updating the post and maybe publishing it somewhere else.
2) ‘Een ouderwetse sociaal-democraat’ Koopmans over de vermeende dreiging van de (radicale) islam. In this post I discuss Ruud Koopmans work on radical Islam. Spoiler: conjecture, lots of correlations mistaken for causality and some fear mongering.
3) Moslims horen niet in Europa? Wen er maar aan! – een reactie op professor Juliaan van Acker. A response to my former Radboud University colleague professor Juliaan van Acker who wrote that Muslim do not belong in Europa (as in it is not their natural habitat).

But…there is a runner up. For the first time in 4 years the Muselmann post is not the most read old post. How does it feel to a problem – W.E.B. Du Bois on Race and ‘double consciousness’ is the overall number two of this year and the most read old post. It is only a video, but a really good one and used in some university courses.

Shout out to my colleagues
So as the year 2019 makes clear, I cannot do all of this without being surrounded by great people. Thank you very much, keep up the good work and see you in 2020. Oh, and expect an important announcement for a series of events in 2020 / 2021. Yes, again with great colleagues.

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