Next Article in Journal
Religious Observance and Well-Being among Israeli Jewish Adults: Findings from the Israel Social Survey
Next Article in Special Issue
Minority Political Representation: Muslim Councilors in Newham and Hackney
Previous Article in Journal / Special Issue
Promoting the Everyday: Pro-Sharia Advocacy and Public Relations in Ontario, Canada’s “Sharia Debate”
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Religions 2013, 4(4), 443-468;

Pervasive Anxiety about Islam: A Critical Reading of Contemporary ‘Clash’ Literature

Department of Religion and Culture, Wilfrid Laurier University, 75 University Ave., Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5, Canada
Received: 8 July 2013 / Revised: 17 September 2013 / Accepted: 18 September 2013 / Published: 25 September 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity)
Full-Text   |   PDF [262 KB, uploaded 25 September 2013]


This article analyzes and critiques North American and European “clash literature”—a genre of post-9/11 writings that popularize elements of Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis, with particular reference to putative threats posed to Western civilization by Islam and Muslims. Attention is given to a series of salient themes used by multiple texts and authors, in a manner that creates an overarching narrative of Western moral superiority vis-à-vis a monolithic, authoritarian, and misogynistic Islamic culture; betrayal of Western culture by “politically correct” intellectual elites wedded to ideas of multicultural accommodation; and a cascading threat posed by the rapid influx of unassimilable Muslim immigrants who are poised to mount a demographic takeover of Europe and possibly America as well. The content of clash texts is then analyzed and evaluated in light of its detachment from relevant scholarship, its reliance on highly essentialized identity constructs, its use of demographic extrapolations and alarming anecdotes, and its stark rejection of contemporary pluralism. The article concludes with reflections on how scholars might respond to the identity insecurities revealed by clash literature as they seek to advance alternative narratives based on values of dialogue and coexistence. View Full-Text
Keywords: clash of civilizations; Islamophobia; Muslim immigration and integration; Islam and the West clash of civilizations; Islamophobia; Muslim immigration and integration; Islam and the West
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Sharify-Funk, M. Pervasive Anxiety about Islam: A Critical Reading of Contemporary ‘Clash’ Literature. Religions 2013, 4, 443-468.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert Logo copyright Steve Bridenbaugh/UUA
Back to Top