Professor Alsultany’s scholarly work is part of a larger movement of scholars that analyzes Islamophobia as a form of racism, that is, understanding the ways that religion becomes racialized. Doing so shifts the focus away from understanding the phenomenon as an individual bias or fear that can be overcome through education (i.e. learning more about Islam) or counseling (i.e. overcoming an irrational fear). Instead, Alsultany insist on a broader framework that takes into account the confluence of an impoverished understanding of the causes of terrorism, a history of stereotypical media representations, an ongoing nativist movement in the U.S., and controversial domestic and foreign policies. This expanded framework enables an understanding of “anti-Muslim racism” as produced through powerful institutions, and not simply the result of ignorance. It is not possible to understand domestic anti-Muslim racism without connecting it to the convergence of the history of white supremacy in the U.S. and how U.S. foreign policies and international relations with Muslim-majority countries influence the meanings produced about Muslims in the U.S. and around the world.
In addition to teaching an undergraduate course on Islamophobia, and collaborating on the #IslamophobiaIsRacism online syllabus, Professor Alsultany gives workshops to staff and students on how to understand Islamophobia and co-founded the Islamophobia Working Group at the University of Michigan.
Professor Alsultany is currently writing a second book, Stealth Anti-Muslim Racism in an Era of Islamophobia, which is under contract with NYU Press. While much public discourse and scholarship on Islamophobia tends to focus on overt forms (e.g. Muslim ban), individual forms (e.g. racist speech), and right wing forms (e.g. the Islamophobia Industry), this book’s objective, in contrast, is to chronicle how subtle and liberal forms of anti-Muslim racism that often go unnoticed are shaping the cultural politics of Islam in the U.S. today.