The second day of the University of California, Berkeley's Fifth Annual International Islamophobia Conference—organized by the Center for Race & Gender's Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project (IRDP)—featured as much hysteria, victimhood, and anti-Western rhetoric as the first (which we reported on yesterday).
Viewing the second day's antics via live stream, two commercials ran repeatedly: one featuring sexy Latina actress Sofia Vergara selling shampoo for her long, flowing, decidedly unveiled locks, and the other seeking recruits for the U.S. Marines. This led one disgruntled online viewer, expecting an anti-American atmosphere to prevail in the virtual world as well as at the conference, to ask in the comments section, "What's up with these super wack commercials killing Arab, African brown people?," which elicited an apology from the organizers, who assured him they had no hand in picking the commercials.
During the afternoon, Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst, an assistant professor of religion at the University of Vermont, spoke on, "Muslim Subjects and Citizens: Discursive Ties, Lingering Orientalism, and Islamophobias." She attempted to draw parallels between the era of British colonialism and modern-day America, claiming that Muslims were seen, then and now, as "traitors," "fanatics," and as having "suspect, dual allegiances." She described this phenomenon as the "insidiousness of Orientalism," before reaching the ahistorical conclusion, "We find the same thing over 200 years later in America."