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women, Jamal found that Arab Muslim American women were more likely than men to
be involved in community organizations. Those women more involved in mosques and
community centers, or“ethnic institutions,” were more likely tobecome involved inad-
vocacy work. Jamal explains that, “ethnic institutions serve as vehicles of cultural and
identity preservation while simultaneously increasing levels of female political capital
in ways that bode well for mainstream political participation” (2005, 74). The details of
these gendered Islamophobic stereotypes, and how widespread and persistent they are,
remain important open questions requiring more study. The role that gender plays in the
reproduction of Islamophobia urgently needs to be further unpacked.
Confronting Islamophobia
In this section, I focus my analysis on the Muslim American advocacy organizations,
the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). As it works to confront Islamopho-
bia. What can we learn about certain forms of privilege and advocacy by studying the
dynamics of work at this advocacy organizations that deal with Islamophobia?
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is an organization that considers
itself within the legacy of civil rights movement organizations. Founded in Washington,
DCin1994,CAIRhasgrowntobecomeoneoftheleadingMuslimAmericanadvocacy
organizations, with thirty-two chapters across twenty states (CAIR 2011). CAIR's web-
site describes its mission simply: “to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dia-
logue,protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, andbuildcoalitions that pro-
mote justice and mutual understanding” (2011). CAIR credibly claims to be the Muslim
American advocacy organization with the largest grassroots following, processing more
than 9,500 civil rights discrimination cases and working with more than 300 active vo-
lunteers and sixty paid staff across the country (2011). The analysis of CAIR featured
in this chapter is grounded in a multimethod, qualitative study carried out between 2007
and 2009. This research includes interviews, a content analysis of CAIR's website and
otherdocuments,andethnographicobservationsfromtimeIspentwithexecutiveCAIR
staff in the national office. 3 It is important to note that even though CAIR represents a
wide spectrum of demographic groups that exist under the racialized Islamophobia um-
brella, it is by no means representative of the entire field of Muslim American advo-
cacy. 4 ThestudydiscussedhererefersspecificallytothenationalheadquartersofCAIR,
and each individual chapter might have a very different relationship with gender, ad-
vocacy, and privilege. Furthermore, it is important to caution that the findings here are
preliminary, and additional research will refine the conclusions presented below.
 
 
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