In his official response to the attacks of September 11, George W. Bush invoked the Crusades, tapping into a centuries-long history of fear and aggression. The West’s longstanding perception of Islam as a threat has taken on new and more complex implications in the twenty-first century, as years of migration and resulting demographic shifts have brought the “enemy” within Western borders. Virulent opposition to the planned construction of an Islamic center near the 9/11 attack site in New York City reveals much about the intensity of public sentiments simmering just below the surface. As the United States and countries across Europe struggle with a resurgence of unexamined fear and antagonism, often directed against their own citizens, the imperative for better understanding could not be greater.
Crusade 2.0 examines the resurgence of anti-Islamic sentiment in the West and its global implications. John Feffer discusses the influence of three “unfinished wars”—the Crusades, the Cold War, and the current “war on terror.” He presents a timely, concise and provocative look at current events in the context of historical trends and goes beyond a “clash of civilizations” critique to offer concrete ways to defuse the ticking bomb of Islamophobia.