Islamophobia and Antisemitism are Different in Their Potential for Globalization

A widespread assumption in research on prejudice and hate crime is that Islamophobia and antisemitism are analogous phenomena: both travel easily across national and cultural boundaries and adapt to new contexts. This article argues that this assumption is incorrect. Islamophobia works well in very different cultural contexts and shows highly diverse localized expressions. Antisemitism is linked to Christian theology even when expressed in Muslim societies and is not global to nearly the same extent as Islamophobia. The key question is this: how can we understand the cultural conditions for the globalization of antisemitism and Islamophobia? To answer this the article looks briefly at Islamophobia and antisemitism in Chinese and Hindu civilizations and then moves on to introduce the theory of cultural models. Islamophobia is a family of more or less similar cultural models belonging to a range of different cultures across time and space. This is the general answer to the question of why Islamophobia is an intensely globalizing prejudice. Islamophobia should be conceptualized as a number of overlapping cultural models found in various societies. Today, local varieties of Islamophobia seem to come into closer contact, to converge and sometimes to exchange elements as a result of intensifying transnational and global communication.


Brekke, T. (2021). Islamophobia and Antisemitism are Different in Their Potential for Globalization. Journal of Religion and Violence

Published Apr. 30, 2021 2:11 PM - Last modified May 4, 2021 3:20 PM