Center for Interfaith Engagement brings expert on anti-Muslim racism for March colloquium

Eastern Mennonite University’s next colloquium will be given by Saher Selod, PhD, on her book Forever Suspect: Racialized Surveillance of Muslim Americans in the War on Terror (Rutgers University Press, 2018). Selod teaches sociology at Simmons University in Boston. This virtual event will be livestreamed on Wednesday, March 17, at 4:15 p.m.

Members of the public can view the free livestream on Facebook Live from our EMU Facebook page. (You do not need a Facebook account or page to access Facebook Live, nor does clicking on the link obligate you in anyway to Facebook.)

“Dr. Selod’s exploration of anti-Muslim racism helps us understand the ways faith is racialized and gendered in the United States,” said Tim Seidel, director of the Center for Interfaith Engagement. “It’s a reminder that our interfaith engagement must be anti-racist, and that developing intersectional skills and sensibilities to relate across faith difference is critical to any vocation and career our students might pursue. We are so excited for her to share with us.”

In writing Forever Suspect, Selod interviewed 48 South Asian and Arab Muslim Americans to investigate how they have been surveilled in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. 

Since then, Selod explains, a Muslim identity has become a de facto racial identity, and Muslim Americans have experienced increased incidences of racism in their everyday lives – including mistrust from both institutions like the federal government and individuals, such as neighbors and co-workers. This changed the “social location” of Arabs and South Asians on the racial hierarchy, moving it farther away from whiteness and compromising their citizenship status. Selod also found how these experiences were different based on the interviewee’s gender.

“We have these very gendered stereotypes of Muslims in the United States,” Selod said in a talk at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2019. “Muslim men are targeted in the United States as potential terrorists, violent, threats to national security, and then on the other hand you have Muslim women who wear the hijab in particular, and their representation is very complicated. Because on the one hand, we’ve used this image or idea that Muslim women are in need of saving to, again, justify military intervention in other places like Afghanistan or Iraq. But then, they’re also targets for abuse in public spaces.” 

Selod is currently writing a book on global Islamophobia and a project on “policing, political participation, and Muslims.” She holds a doctorate degree in sociology from Loyola University Chicago, is a member of the Scholars Strategy Network and an affiliated faculty member of the Islamophobia Studies Project at the University of California, Berkeley.

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Center for Interfaith Engagement and the provost’s office.

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  1. I would like to join the discussion but do not have Facebook. How can I alternatively join the conversation? Thank you.

    1. Members of the public can view the free livestream on Facebook Live from our EMU Facebook page. (You do not need a Facebook account or page to access Facebook Live, nor does clicking on the link obligate you in anyway to Facebook.)

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