University of Arkansas Associate Professor of Law Khaled Beydoun lectured at the University of Kansas to teach people what Islamophobia is and looks like. The Asian Law Student Association, Muslim Student Association, Student Union Activities and Student Senate hosted the event on Monday, Jan. 27 at the Burge Union.
“The free exercise clause [in the First Amendment] is turned on its head for Muslims,” Beydoun said during the lecture.
In the lecture, Beydoun discussed prevailing definitions of Islamophobia which he feels are often overlooked. His definition of Islamophobia is “the presumption that Islam is inherently violent, alien and driven by the belief that Islamic identity is tied to terrorism.”
Beydoun said there are three types of Islamophobia: private Islamophobia, which is carried out by individuals; structural Islamophobia, which is carried out by institutions such as government agencies; and dialectical Islamophobia, where state law “shapes, reshapes and confirms popular views and stereotypes of Islam.”
Beydoun said one example of structural Islamophobia is the Trump administration's travel ban. He said both the political left and right in the country participate in the advancement of Islamophobia.
Beydoun said that while Islamophobia may be prevalent in the United States, it is a global phenomenon. He shared a story from his time travelling the United States about an old Jewish woman who was surprised by Muslim concentration camps in China, saying she thought “concentration camps were done after World War II.”
Other examples of global Islamophobia Beydoun mentioned include the indigenous Muslims kicked from their homes in Myanmar and the country of India’s efforts to strip and deny citizenship for Muslims.
Beydoun wrote the book “American Islamophobia: Understanding the Roots and Rise of Fear.” ALSA President Omar Husain attended the lecture and read Beydoun’s book.
“He spoke on issues many young Muslims face in this country,” Husain said.
Beydoun said there is hope for Islam in the United States, as the religion is the fastest growing religion in the United States and is the most diverse religion in the country.
“Islam is a microcosm of American diversity,” Beydoun said.