Islam and the politics of enchantment
Starrett, Gregory, 1961-
1 online resource
The North American public sphere is suffused with claims and counterclaims about the relationship between Islam and violence. Schools and publishers have responded with training programs for teachers and curriculum units for students introducing them to the Middle East and its dominant religious tradition. Such programs are often accused by local parents and national intellectuals of pandering to Muslim sensitivities by whitewashing distasteful historical events and even proselytizing young people. Focusing on a 2002 lawsuit filed against California’s Byron Union School District, by parents upset by a classroom role-playing exercise on Islam, this article argues that political fears about terrorist infiltration into U.S. society are building on powerful emotional and cultural concerns about the nature of ritual and the spiritual safety of children exposed to information about other religions. By encouraging public education as a response to political and cultural tensions, educators may in fact be heightening the public’s concerns about Islam as a comprehensive threat.
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (Online)
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