Probing Islamophobia

by Maureen Fiedler

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This week on "Interfaith Voices," the radio show I host, Muslim scholar Reza Aslan joins Catholic historian James Carroll to discuss the reasons for the alarming rise in Islamophobia in the United States today.

Both of them agree that the current economic conditions have created free-floating anxieties that have been displaced onto both Muslims and Mexicans. Jim Carroll reminded us that the Great Depression saw the rise of anti-Semitism in the 1930s when economic anxieties were looking for a scapegoat.

But Carroll also had an interesting centuries-long historical perspective on all this. He noted that Western civilization defined its very identity over against Islam with the Crusades. He sees that as an undercurrent running though our history, a subterranean stream that remains below the surface much of the time, but now and then rises to the surface when anxieties abound.

To hear the entire show, go to:

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