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Online Islamophobia and the politics of fear: manufacturing the green scare

TitleOnline Islamophobia and the politics of fear: manufacturing the green scare
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsEkman, M
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies

Negative attitudes and explicit racism against Muslims are increasingly visible in public discourse throughout Europe. Right-wing populist parties have strengthened their positions by focusing on the ‘Islamic threat’ to the West. Concurrently, the Internet has facilitated a space where racist attitudes towards Muslims are easily disseminated into the public debate, fuelling animosity against European Muslims. This paper explores part of the online Islamophobic network and scrutinizes the discursive strategies deployed by three ‘prominent’ online actors. By combining social network analysis and critical discourse analysis, the study shows that Islamophobic web pages constitute a dynamic network with ties to different political and geographical milieus. They create a seemingly mainstream political position by framing racist standpoints as a defence of Western values and freedom of speech. The study also shows that Islamophobic discourse is strengthened by xenophobic currents within mass media, and by the legitimization of intellectuals and political actors.