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In The Racial Muslim: When Racism Quashes Religious Freedom, Sahar Aziz unveils a mechanism that perpetuates the persecution of religion. While the book’s title suggests a problem that engulfs Muslims, it is not a new problem, but instead a recurring theme in American history. Aziz constructs a model that demonstrates how racialization of a religious group imposes racial characteristics on that group, imbuing it with racial stereotypes that effectively treat the group as a racial rather than religious group deserving of religious liberty.

In identifying a racialization process that effectively veils religious discrimination, Aziz’s book points to several important findings. One such finding underscores the current paradox where people of a country so committed to religious liberty are simultaneously depriving others of that very liberty. Another illustrates that this process is repetitive, rearing its head at various eras and collectively shaping American history in profound ways. Thus, while Muslims currently bear the brunt of religious discrimination in the United States, they are simply the latest target of a process that first began centuries before. Aziz’s book also keenly demonstrates that previously persecuted religious groups can sometimes turn into oppressors. Accordingly, historical patterns suggest that, in time, Muslims could lose their disfavored status and occupy a higher social position and perhaps assimilate to the point of perpetuating religious repression on other groups. As such, Aziz concludes by considering prospects for eradicating the process of racialization, and with it, the prospects of Muslims repeating history.