The New McCarthyism: Islamophobia, American Muslims, and the Progressive Response

The New McCarthyism: Islamophobia, American Muslims, and the Progressive
Response is a three part online course presented by Jason Van Boom on how progressives and American
Muslims can fight Islamophobia. This three week course running from July 23rd to August 6, 2012 gives an
insider’s candid perspective on Islamophobia and American Muslims, and the implications for progressives of
all faiths and none. Drawing from his professional experience working with Islamic nonprofits, his scholarly
expertise in the history of religion, and his background in political conservatism Jason Van Boom will provide a
fascinating analysis of the current socio-religious climate in relation to Islam.

Topics will include talks and Q-and-A’s on these topics:

• What is Islamophobia, and Why Should Progressives Care?
• Islam and Democracy: What American Muslims Believe
• Interfaith 3.0 and 5 Things Progressives Can Do About Islamophobia

In Van Boom’s assessment, Islamophobia is McCarthyism 2.0. It is a recycling of an older paranoia, reshaped
for a new target: American Muslims. Although American Muslims bear the immediate brunt of this prejudice,
the biggest danger is the threat that Islamophobia presents to all Americans. It is well-funded “wedge issue”
that rationalizes militaristic foreign policies and creates precedents for weakening civil liberties. Because
Islamophobia is a threat to a sane foreign policy and to civil liberties that progressives should be concerned
about it.

At the end of the course, Van Boom outlines five practical, realistic steps progressives can take to combat
Islamophobia and protect peace and liberty.

All talks are recorded and downloadable. Registration is only $59. The first 15 registrants receive a free copy of the book –
All American: 45 American Men on being Muslim“.

Go to for additional details and to register for the course.

About the instructor: Jason Van Boom is a contributing author to All American: 45 American Men on Being
Muslim (White Cloud Press, June 2012). He is the founder and original host of Islam and Authors, the first
American program on new books about Islam and Muslims. An American Muslim with professional experience
working for Muslim nonprofits, he is one of the first Muslims to be a professional historian of Christianity.
Jason gives graduate level courses on Christian and Islamic history at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley,
California. He is a blogger at Huffington Post and Tikkun Daily, and a correspondent for ILLUME Magazine, an
award winning media organization that covers news from an American Muslim perspective. Jason is co-
founder and director of Nicholas of Cusa Institute, a think tank and academic research organization that
specializes in issues of political and cultural identity.

Contact: Amanda Quraishi, 512-577-1800,

  • Brad

    Presumably we are not Islamophobic if we want to ask serious historical questions like what is the evidence that Mohammad existed or why there were/are different versions of the Quran or why there are factual errors, contradictions etc in the Quran?
    You are giving the impression that you are intolerant of any questions by using the label “Islamophobic” to shut down legitimate questions.

    • irfanrydhan

      Hello Brad
      There is a big difference between blatant Islamophobia, and having legitimate questions. To briefly answer your questions, there is only one “version” of the Quran – which is in the original arabic and has not been changed since it was recorded over 1400 years ago. There are translations in different languages, which as you probably know give different interpretations and meanings to certain words from the original Arabic to the language it is being translated into.
      Feel free to be more specific about the “factual errors or contradictions” which you are claiming are in the Quran and I will do my best to address them.

  • Christopher

    Certain aspects of the practice of Islam are of concern to non-Muslims living in the western democracies. For example: Sharia law prescribes draconian punishments for adultery and apostasy, and many ex-Muslims in the US fear for their lives. Is your organization willing to make a public declaration that much of Sharia is archaic and should be considered as no more than a historical document; that religious faith is a personal matter; and that a person has the right to leave the faith if it no longer meets her/his requirements, with no fear of any retribution?

    • irfanrydhan

      Christopher – thanks for your comments. Sounds like you do not know much about what Sharia is and how it is implemented. First off, Sharia Law is only a guideline and the main aspects of Sharia is how to practice the religion of Islam (i.e. praying, fasting, etc.). Secondly, Sharia Law is based on the local customs and practices of the local region of where it is implemented. Thus, if Sharia Law would be used in a Muslim majority country, the Judge would have to consider what is the standard practice of punishments in the time and place (i.e. a prison sentence instead of a death sentence for a certain violation of the law by a citizen). Third, there is no threat of Sharia Law ever “taking over” the US Constitution, because the Constitution already states that it takes precedence over any other type of law which is brought up in any court case in the United States. If you have any more questions or would like more information, feel free to contact me. Thanks