restricted access Anti-Islam Discourse in the United States in the Decade after 9/11: The Role of Social Conservatives and Cultural Politics


In the decade following the attacks of September 11, 2001, a significant segment of U.S. religious and social conservatives more broadly classified not just al-Qaeda but the entire religion of Islam as a security threat, thereby countering the prevailing professional consensus and White House policy that maintained a distinction between terrorism and Islam. Later in the post-9/11 decade, this popular security discourse degenerated into an even more anti-rational “Green Scare” over the threat from Muslim-Americans—not from violent attacks, but from a more surreptitious nonviolent plan of Islamization—that is, to topple the U.S. Constitution with sharia, or Islamic law. This essay introduces both the nature and agents of this anti-Islam and anti-Islamization discourse. Moreover, it deepens the prevailing characterization of this anti-Islam discourse as “Islamophobia” by showcasing its political utility—how well-known social-conservative culture warriors—both individual elite and institutions—opportunistically seized the topic of Islam as yet another platform upon which to advance their ongoing struggle against their domestic political rivals, the Democrats and the Left more broadly.