2009: Volume 2, Issue 1, pp. 57-71

How to Accumulate National Capital:
The Case of the “Good” Muslim

Krista Melanie Riley



This paper explores the practices of certain high-profile Canadian Muslims who call themselves “progressive” or “moderate” as an example of attempts to increase one’s claims to national belonging through a reification of tropes that designate many Muslims as fanatical, scary and a threat to the Canadian nation. Through tracing the different understandings of “Muslim” and “Canadian” identities and an examination of articles printed in The National Post, this paper argues that this accumulation occurs in three main ways, with portrayals of the “good” Muslim as a patriotic Canadian, as an object of threat from other Muslims and as a protector of oppressed Muslim women. However, in a context marked by rampant Islamophobia throughout Canadian society, these nationalist practices may do more to produce further racialisation of and violence towards those that they positioned as “bad” Muslims than to ensure any lasting claims to national belonging for those who assert themselves to be representative of the “good” Muslims.



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