Approximately 50 people from ANU and the broader Canberra community met on the evening of Tuesday, 31st of August to hear prominent multiculturalism expert, Professor Tariq Modood, present on the topic of "Islamophobia and the Struggle for Recognition".
In this lecture, which was part of the Freilich Foundation's public lecture series on Bigotry and Tolerance, Professor Modood introduced his argument that Islamophobia is a form of cultural racism. Prejudice towards Muslims, he argues, could not be fully understood in terms of religious intolerance but also involved the racialisation of Muslim people. Modood highlighted the role of negative representations of Muslim people in contemporary public debates in Britain and elsewhere but pointed out that there is often disagreement about whether these so-called 'negative' traits --such as the wearing of the hijab or burqa by Muslim women--are in fact actually negative or problematic. Modood advocated for a five point 'test' of whether statements about Muslim people were, in fact, a product of Islamophobia (or racism) or a reasonable criticism, and therefore an appropriate contribution to public debate. These tests included whether the statements stereotyped Muslims, framed dialogue in ways which were civil and which Muslims would wish to join in, and whether mutual learning was possible.
The Freilich Foundation thanks Professor Modood for his contributions in the lecture, as well as for his generosity in convening a workshop on the 1st of August on the subject of the Bristol School of Multiculturalism.