The Politics of Nativism: Islam in Europe, Catholicism in the United States
May 1, 2012
In “The Politics of Nativism: Islam in Europe, Catholicism in the United States,” Professor José Casanova draws a comparison between the current experience of the former and the nineteenth century experience of the latter. In both cases one finds the fusion of anti-immigrant xenophobic attitudes, perennial interreligious prejudices, and an ideological construct setting a particular religious-civilizational complex in essential opposition to Western modernity. Although an anti-Muslim discourse emerged also in the United States after September 11, it had primarily a geopolitical dimension connected with the war on terror and with American global imperial policies. But it lacked the domestic anti-immigrant populist as well as the modern secularist anti-Muslim dimensions. This explains why xenophobic anti-Muslim nativism has been much weaker in the United States than in Europe. This article was published in the journal Philosophy and Social Criticism.