Mediating racism: The new mccarthyites and the matrix of islamophobia

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The far right in the United States has ratcheted up anti-Muslim racism in the twenty-first entury. However, they are not alone in creating and circulating the discourses of Islamophobia. In this paper, I set out to situate the far right, who I call the 'new McCarthyites', within the broader context in which they operate. I argue that they are part of a larger matrix of Islamophobia which includes the liberal establishment. I start with a concrete case study of the 'Ground Zero Mosque' controversy, in order to demonstrate how various discourses of Islamophobia co-exist and fuel one another. I ontend that even while the new McCarthyites were responsible for the hysteria generated, their arguments were enabled by liberals/realists. I then unpack the various agents who make up a coalition of the new McCarthyites and outline how they propagate their troglodyte racism. Finally, I offer a matrix that illustrates where Islamophobic ideologies are produced and how they are circulated in the mainstream. Such a structural analysis necessarily decenters the mainstream media since the media are one set of institutions, among others, that serve both as conduit and creator of anti-Muslim racism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-26
Number of pages18
JournalMiddle East Journal of Culture and Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


  • Anti-Muslim racism
  • Ground Zero Mosque controversy
  • Islamophobia
  • Islamophobic network
  • Liberal Islamophobia


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