Abstract

ABSTRACT:

Yasir Qadhi is a well-known Sunni Muslim-American scholar and theologian in the US, Canadian, and Western European Muslim communities, who has established himself as a changed public figure by denouncing anti-Shi͑i remarks he has made in the past. In this essay, I examine Yasir Qadhi’s rhetoric surrounding offense in two texts: (a) during an interview discussing his thoughts on sectarianism with the Iranian-based news agency Press TV which took place in June 2014 in London, and with (b) a Friday sermon that he delivered in January 2015 in Memphis, Tennessee regarding the attack on the French publication Charlie Hebdo in which 12 people, including cartoonists and staff, were killed. Drawing on Salman Sayyid’s ‘Heideggerian-Witgenstinian’ approach to Islamophobia to define ‘Shiaphobia’, the purpose of this comparative analysis is to illustrate how Shiapbhobia emerges within the US, Canada, and Western Europe through the subtle and normalized use of rhetorical tropes – which are often, if not entirely, rooted in matters of theological differences – by analysing how Qadhi employs one trope – in particular, what I call the ‘the trope of offense’. I also argue that generally within the regions I am discussing, these rhetorical tropes grant the Sunni majority permission to silence, ignore, or entirely erase the realities of systematic violence occurring against Shi͑i populations on a global scale, and further erases the geo-socio-political and economic factors that situate the emergence of anti-Shi͑ism today, specifically. This essay is meant to be an exploratory piece in which my aim is not to provide a holistic definition of Shiaphobia, but rather to offer an analysis that will be able to provide further insight into what I am naming as ‘Shiaphobia.’

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Additional Information

ISSN
2051-557X
Print ISSN
1748-9423
Pages
pp. 39-62
Launched on MUSE
2016-06-28
Open Access
No
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