“I Want to Love Islam, I Really Do. But...”: Islamophilic Classrooms in Islamophobic Times

Main Article Content

Nermeen Mouftah


This essay reflects on a critical incident that occurred during a seminar discussion about the age of Aishah at the time of her marriage to the prophet Muhammed. I take students’ discomfort with the material and their expression of emotions – especially their desire to love Islam – as an opening to think about the opportunities and challenges of working with students’ emotions in the classroom. I begin by problematizing love (or the want of it) as an Islamophilic response to students’ awareness of the dangers of Islamophobia. I then go on to entertain the possibility of embracing love as a ‘productive’ emotion that offers insights into the study of Islam and Muslims. While I caution against the traps of Islamophilia, I take love as an important and perhaps overlooked dimension of pedagogy. This is one of three essays published together in a special topic section of this journal on critical incidents in the classroom.

Article Details

Special Topic
Author Biography

Nermeen Mouftah, Butler University

Nermeen Mouftah is an assistant professor of religion at Butler University.