September 12, 2017
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New report provides comprehensive analysis and examination of Islamophobia movement in the US, and of anti-Muslim legislation at state and federal levels

The Haas Institute just released Legalizing Othering: The United States of Islamophobia, a major research initiative that traces the origins of the contemporary Islamophobia movement in the United States and examines its impacts at the state and federal legislative levels.

Co-authored by Haas Institute researchers Elsadig Elsheikh, Basima Sisemore, and Natalia Ramirez, the report shows how far-right actors exploited the tragedy of 9/11 and used growing racial animosity and anxiety to target Muslims through various campaigns.

Legalizing Othering illustrates that the "anti-Sharia law" movement did not originate within a vacuum, but has been garnering support and influence over the past 17 years, contributing to an increasingly volatile climate of anti-Muslim sentiment. The stigmatization of Muslims created through these campaigns facilitated the federal government's push for domestic and foreign policies that directly targeted Muslim populations. 

At the state level, nearly 200 bills proposing the banning of "Sharia law" (a misnomer strategically used by the right) were introduced in statehouses across 39 states under a guise to protect the country from an Islamic infiltration, despite the fact that the US Constitution prohibited foreign law that ran counter to constitutional law from being applied in local courts. The purpose of the anti-Sharia bills, 18 of which have been passed and ratified in 12 states, was to proliferate the fear of Muslims, the authors argue. 
Image shows states where anti-Sharia bills were introduced
Included in the report are excerpts from 16 interviews with specialists on the subject of Islamophobia and knowledgeable sources on issues related to themes of the report.

The authors also compiled an exhaustive database detailing each of the 194 bills introduced in state legislatures. Organized into two spreadsheets, the database reveals the names the bills' sponsors, lists organizations that supported the bills, shows if they were enacted into law or not, and provides other key information. 

The report, database and full interviews with the experts can be found on this page.

The report was featured in a piece on The Daily Beast about the chief architect of the Islamophobia movement in the US named David Yerushalmi, a right-wing extremist involved in the settlement movement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, who is also profiled in the report. Read The Daily Beast's "Meet the Man Turning Anti-Muslim Hate Into Law," here

A press release with more information on our report can also be found here.

Media inquiries should be directed to

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