With his masterpiece deconstructing the Orientalist corpus that had formed over the centuries, Edward Said drew, as it were, a line of shame for Western intelligentsia. And in his Covering Islam, which forms his famous trilogy along with Orientalism and The Question of Palestine, he condemned the way Islam and Muslims were represented in the Western media.
To explain what Said's work meant for the neo-colonialists and anti-Islamists, one of his most vigorous opponents, Ibn Warraq, said, "what makes self-examination for Arabs and Muslims, and especially criticism of Islam in the West, very difficult is the totally pernicious influence of Edward Said's Orientalism." Also, in his words, Said's work "bludgeoned into silence any criticism of Islam, and even stopped dead the research of eminent Islamologists who felt their findings might offend Muslim sensibilities and who dared not risk being labeled 'Orientalist'."
But the Western media still does not hesitate to continue acting with impunity, as if this verdict of condemnation had not been finalized as well as communicated to it. And the Western intelligentsia feels no shame in continuously trespassing the line drawn by Said.
Through the articles of three scholars who know well he Western media and academia, which are today the loci where most unabashed manifestations of Islamophobia are found, we wanted to place Edward Said in the limelight again, seeing that concerted efforts are being exerted to push his intellectual legacy into oblivion, although it has been only 13 years since his death. For Anadolu Agency's Between the Lines desk, Hatem Bazian from Zaytuna College and Berkeley wrote, "Said’s trilogy: Orientalism, Palestine and Covering Islam," Salman Sayyid from the University of Leeds wrote "Normalizing Islamophobia," and Sophia Rose Arjana from the Iliff School of Theology wrote "Islamophobia and the commodification of hate".
- Opinions expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Anadolu Agency's editorial policy.