), the Ronald Reagan Centennial celebrations were used to shore up the American alliance in CentralandEasternEurope. Unlike that display, the Centennial was not driven by current U.S. government officials, and it articulated responses to threats beyond terrorism. Ostensibly a year’s worth of programming to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Reagan’s birth in 2011, the Centennial’s message was a transatlantic call for standing firm against not only terrorism but also Russian encroachment on the region. This article argues that because of the status of its drivers and
exceptional” ( Kaya 2015 , 452). This is debatable or even disputable for western scholars, however, his criticism can be fully applied to the scarce number of academic works on Islamophobia issued so far in CentralandEasternEurope (CEE).
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As for the CEE context, apart from Russia, post-Soviet areas and the Balkans, there was scarce evidence of scholarly interest and literature on Islamophobia there until recently. Ivan Kalmar commented on the very recent situation as follows:
Although the severity of the Islamophobia evidenced in the response of the political
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Introduction: Islamophobia in EasternEurope?
A specter is haunting Europe – the specter of Islamophobia. At this point, the historically informed reader might question the newsworthiness of our initial statement. Unease, reservation, and even fear and hatred against Islam and Muslims have a long tradition in Europe ( Benz 2017 ). Since Edward Said’s (1978) seminal study on ‘Orientalism’, it is a commonplace to acknowledge that the West has associated Islam with negative images and stereotypes for hundreds of years. The essential novelty of Europe’s old
construction.” Personal Skype interview with Gábor Egry, historian, conducted in March 2017. Thus, to reach a better future, it was enough to manage and supervise the smooth return to the West, embodied by the long sought membership in its institutions, the EU and NATO. As the economist János Kornai puts it, “In every respect, CentralEasternEurope tried to assimilate Western examples” (2006, 25).
Since their first steps in the Hungarian pluralist regime, Fidesz and its charismatic leader Viktor Orbán adhered to a substantially different interpretation of history. They