Book Review: Scapegoats-How Islamophobia Helps Our Enemies and Threatens Our Freedoms: By Arsalan Iftikhar

I found Arsalan Iftikhar's book "Scapegotas" both fascinating and challenging to read, as while at some parts I found myself nodding and agreeing with Mr. Iftikhar in other parts of the book I found myself shaking my head and coming up with counter arguments.

In his book Mr. Iftikhar makes some excellent points about scapegoating of minorities by the government and social/ethnic majorities both historically and currently in the United Stated and in other countries in the world. I found his discussion on historic scapegoating of African Americans, Japanese Americans and Jewish Americans and its comparison to today's scapegoating of the Muslim American Community compelling.

As written by Martin Luther King in 1963 and referenced by Mr. Iftikhar " Injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere." Mr. Iftikhar certainly does an excellent job of outlining the dangers of scapegoating minorities and its effects on society in large.

Where I found myself disagreeing with Mr. Iftikhar was the notion of "victim blaming" (at least that's the way I read it) of victims of Islamic Terrorism. A clear example is Mr. Iftikhar's clear reference to the terror rampage of Charlie Hebdo in January of 2015.

Mr. Iftikhar references the publication of "offensive" Muhammad Cartoon on a number of occasions including on page 108 where he states" But Charlie Hebdo's mean-spirited cartoons against the Muslim faith simply brought shrugs, or chuckles, from France's culturally savvy liberal champagne class." There are similar references throughout the book.

Based on what Mr. Iftikhar wrote about Charlie Hebdo terror it appears he almost believes the magazine brought the terror attack on themselves by publishing pictures of Muhammad which may have been offensive to some or even many Muslims worldwide.

While I found this aspect of his book somewhat controversial as a lawyer, blogger and a pro-democracy activist with a focus in the Middle East I found "Scapegoats" to be a worthwhile read dealing with both issues of Islalmophobia and the scapegoating of minorities both historically and currently and would recommend it to anyone with interests in these topics.

Sayeh Hassan is an Iranian-Canadian Lawyer, Blogger and Pro-democracy activist.


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