As critiques of anti-Muslim racism travel transnationally, they get translated in relation to complex histories of imperialism, colonialism, postcolonialism, and nationalism. These (mis)translations produce unexpected uses and abuses of anti-Muslim racism as an academic and political concept, with significant consequences for transnational feminist solidarity. This article explores, as a case in point, the emergence of a “Black Turk” identity in millennial Turkey where pious Muslim identity, once marginalized under a secularist state, has reasserted itself by deploying an analogy of Black to pious Muslim. Obscuring the nuances of local power relations, the pious Muslim/secular fault line was oversimplified and mistranslated into the resonant American idiom of the Black/white binary. This analogy and the progressive critiques of anti-Black and especially anti-Muslim racisms were then instrumentalized by an increasingly authoritarian and gender-conservative Islamist Turkish government to legitimize its repressive agendas, even succeeding to garner unexpected sympathy from some feminist politicians and academics in the United States. Naive confidence that such dichotomous racial/religious categories and familiar political vocabularies can guide feminist analyses and politics risks employing a seemingly transnationalist and anti-imperialist but in truth U.S.-centric understanding of non-U.S. struggles for social justice and thwarting potential transnational feminist solidarities.

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