Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Can Arabian-themed fantasy help people get over their Islamophobia?

I don't even know, but I'll take anything to help. In 2007-8, I started hanging out on conservative forums to figure out why people supported Bush, and I found a lot of Islamophobia, usually of the sort that goes "I'm tolerant of religion, but Islam is a type of political organization." Or "I'm ok with moderate religions, but Islam isn't moderate!"

Nothing I could say seemed to alter those people's thoughts on the issue; but recently I've been listening to some of Saladin Ahmed's Arabian-/Islamic-themed fantasy stories, and I wonder if that's a way to inject some appreciation and tolerance into the discourse.

My hopes aren't up on this, of course, because I don't expect these hard-core Islamophobes/racists to pick up any fantasy with the word "crescent" on the cover. But might these works help the borderline racist/intolerant accept a particular type of real-world difference by cloaking it in fantastic form?

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