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No, No, Shari'a: United States and Canadian Islamophobia Expressed through Public Policy Open Access


Other title
Islamophobia, anti-Shari'a, Islam, Muslim, hate speech, Geller, Spencer, Levant, Fox, Sun, Blog, Park51,
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Dyson, Katherine M
Supervisor and department
Castro-Rea, Julián (Political Science)
Examining committee member and department
Boily, Frederic (Political Science)
Mahdavi, Mojtaba (Political Science)
Department of Political Science

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
Islamophobic rhetoric used by popular media: such as television, newspapers and blogs, has heightened the fear of Islam to levels that have contributed to the US and Canada beginning to institute anti-Shari’a legislation. The financial backers of this rhetoric realise that fear has a strong impact over a malleable population and actively sponsor it in order to maintain the status quo where they retain political, economic, and social power. Since 9/11, polls show us that fear rhetoric contributes to sustained, consistent, and relatively high levels of worry about Islamic terrorist attacks. These same polls also provide demographic information indicating who is more susceptible to this fear rhetoric. While rhetoric is often vitriolic, it is nevertheless successful in promoting anti-Shari’a policy. This interesting phenomenon exists in cases across both Canada and the US. The historical context most closely resembling current Islamophobia begins in 1945 when the threat of communism and the consequences of possible nuclear war raised fear levels in the US and Canada. The highly successful use of film and then the innovation of television gave fear rhetoric unprecedented access to the public. The current use of Internet for blogs as well as value-added traditional mass media “on line” has not only amplified the dissemination of Islamophobic fear rhetoric to an exponential level; it also allows the public to respond instantly. Policy changes in Canada since 2005 are an indication of the early success of this strategy and the plethora of public policy changes in the US in the last year or so is a strong indicator of its recent and future success, manifested in legislative changes banning Shari’a.
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