The fear of Islam has become a palpable and determining force in the contemporary world. It emerged strikingly in the late 1970s, when the Iranian revolution proved that political Islam could be a force on the international stage, and was reinforced by the events of 11 September 2001.This fear has found a presence within horror comics, books and films—which are a forum for the mediation of popular anxieties. Dan Drezner points out that up to one half of zombie movies have been produced since the attacks on New York and the Pentagon in 2001.
Furthermore, it can be argued that the apocalyptic fantasies of the zombie genre share a lot in common with the ‘war against terror’ discourse of Islamophobes amongst the political right in Australia, Europe and the US. The overwrought prose found in right-wing scholarship, news media and the blogosphere has normalised such expressions as: ‘Islamo-fascism’, ‘the threat of Islamisation’, ‘Islam has bloody borders’, ‘creeping sharia’, ‘sharia by stealth’, ‘Unholy terror’, ‘Muslim rage’ (think here of the zombie ‘rage virus’), ‘cult of death’ and so on. Such rhetoric plays upon an existing (albeit imaginary) fear. Its consequence is that, now more than ever, Muslims are bombarded with distorted accusations and conspiracy theories that put a question mark under their civic morality. This is promoted by the political right, sections of the corporate media, and misguided citizens’ associations such as the ‘Q Society of Australia’, who describe Islam not as a religion but as a ‘totalitarian ideology’, comparable to fascism or Nazism.
Muslim zombies are my response to the ludicrous myths and conspiracy theories that all too frequently enter into discussions about Western Muslims and secular democracy. These creatures offer no safe alternative. No clear path to redemption.
You can read a longer essay that I made for this project here.