Thursday, February 24, 2022

Poster for Sahar Aziz's Program - The Racial MuslimAnita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.


Wesley Lecture

The Racial Muslim: When Racism Quashes Religious Freedom

Sahar Aziz, Professor of Law, Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholar, and Middle East and Legal Studies Scholar at Rutgers University Law School

Why does a country with religious liberty enmeshed in its legal and social structures produce such overt prejudice and discrimination against Muslims? Sahar Aziz’s groundbreaking book, The Racial Muslim: When Racism Quashes Religious Freedom, demonstrates how race and religion intersect to create what she calls the Racial Muslim. Comparing discrimination against immigrant Muslims with the prejudicial treatment of Jews, Catholics, Mormons, and African American Muslims during the twentieth century, Aziz explores the gap between America’s aspiration for and fulfillment of religious freedom. With America’s demographics rapidly changing from a majority white Protestant nation to a multiracial, multireligious society, this book is an indispensable read for understanding how our past continues to shape our present—to the detriment of our nation’s future.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Center for Spirituality & Social Justice and co-sponsored by the Asbell Center for Jewish Life, the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity, Dickinson Christian Fellowship, and the departments of sociology, Middle East studies and religion.

Topic overview written by Amanda Sowah ’22

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Sahar Aziz is professor of law, Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholar, and Middle East and Legal Studies Scholar at Rutgers University Law School. Aziz’s scholarship adopts an interdisciplinary approach to examine intersections of national security, race, and civil rights with a focus on the adverse impact of national security laws and policies on racial, ethnic, and religious minorities in the U.S. Her research also investigates the relationship between authoritarianism, terrorism, and rule of law in the Middle East. She is the founding director of the interdisciplinary Rutgers Center for Security, Race, and Rights and a faculty affiliate of the African American Studies Department at Rutgers University-Newark. Aziz serves on the Rutgers-Newark Chancellor’s Commission on Diversity and Transformation as well as the editorial board of the Arab Law Quarterly and the International Journal of Middle East Studies.  Aziz teaches courses on national security, critical race theory, Islamophobia, evidence, torts, and Middle East law.

Aziz is the recipient of numerous awards including a Soros Equality Fellowship (2021), A New America Middle Eastern and North African American National Security and Foreign Policy Next Generation Leader (2020), the Research Making an Impact Award by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (2017), the Derrick Bell Award from the American Association of Law Schools Minority Section (2015), and an Emerging Scholar by Diverse Issues in Higher Education (2015). She serves on the board of directors of ReThink Media, the Project on Democracy in the Middle East (POMED), and Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN).

Aziz has published over thirty academic articles and book chapters. Her articles are published in the Harvard National Security Journal, Washington and Lee Law Review, Nebraska Law Review, George Washington International Law Review, Penn State Law Review, and the Texas Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Journal. Her forthcoming
book The Racial Muslim: When Racism Quashes Religious Freedom examines how religious bigotry racializes immigrant Muslims through a historical and comparative approach.

Aziz’s commentary has appeared in the New York Times,, Carnegie Endowment’s Sada Journal, Middle East Institute,, World Politics Review, Houston Chronicle, Austin Statesmen, The Guardian, and Christian Science Monitor. She is a frequent public speaker and has appeared on CNN, BBC World, PBS, CSPAN, MSNBC, Fox News, and Al Jazeera English. She is an editor of the Race and the Law Profs blog. She previously served on the board of the ACLU of Texas and as a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution – Doha.

The Wesley Lecture
The Wesley Lecture grows out of the historical relationship between Dickinson College and the Methodist Church, a relationship that has its roots in the 19th century. The lecture highlights contemporary conversations and controversies in faith communities and in higher education about the importance and role of community, commitment, and service for the education of the citizen-scholar.

Video of the Presentation