Sep 25th, 2015 by sfs
In 1914, after the Ottoman Empire joined the axis powers, German leaders convinced Ottoman rulers to declare a “Holy War” that sought to incite colonial subjects in European territories to rebel against their colonial rulers. The holy war call went out in the first weeks of November 1914 and targeted over 130 million Muslim subjects living under French, British and Russian imperial rule. These colonial territories stretched from South Asia to North Africa, including Egypt, Persia, and the Muslim populations of the Russian Empire. Although the United States was still officially neutral in the war, some Americans worried that this call for a unified Muslim rebellion would incite Muslim subjects in their own colonial territories in the Philippines to rebel against American rule. Having just recently succeeded in ending its protracted war against Filipino Muslim insurgents the previous year, Americans both in the Philippines and in the United States were particularly sensitive to any threats to this precarious and newly-won peace. This talk examined these reactions but also analyzes how these concerns drew American imperial rulers into larger global discussions about Islam, empire, self-determination, global security, pan-Islamism, and Orientalist narratives of difference. This talk concluded by analyzing how such historical fears came back to resonate once again as Americans feared that Filipino Muslims were contributing to international terrorism in the period after 9/11. It also analyzed the links between earlier and later global discussions of imperial rule over Muslims, surveillance, and the global “threat” of pan-Islamism.