Islam through Western Eyes From the Crusades to the War on Terrorism By Jonathan Lyons (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. 272 pages.)

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Zeina Sleiman

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Abstract

Jonathan Lyons’ Islam through Western Eyes takes a critical and historical approach
to understanding the anti-Islam discourses that continue to emerge
across North America and Europe. His main argument is that their origins can
be traced back to the Crusades and that the current Islamophobic climate has
been in the production since then. Thus an inherent anti-Islam discourse has
been ingrained into the western imagination, and its effects are still being seen
today.
In the introduction, the author notes that the answer to understanding
much of this western Islamophobic movement has been in the making since
the fifteenth century anti-Islam discourse as it relates to the Crusades. Lyons
notes that we need to develop a deeper understanding of the history of this
discourse in order to fight its modern version and to understand the causes of
the current Islamophobic climate. This certainly sheds a more complex light
on many of the issues facing Muslims in Europe and North America, and gives
readers a new angle from which they should understand and interpret this
growing sentiment.
The book is divided into five main chapters following the introduction.
The first is essentially a chapter on methodology, which delves deeper into
Foucault’s critical theories on discourse and power. Lyons particularly focuses
on Foucault’s Archeology of Knowledge, in which he argues that certain forms
of knowledge are privileged over others in order to create a larger narrative
about a particular topic or group of people. The author clearly takes a post- ...

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