DescriptionRepresentations of Muslim women have been confined to a narrative of coercion and irrationality, where their words are often disregarded in favor of more common tropes and ethnic stereotypes. What often goes unnoticed is the way in which assumptions regarding the religion/secular divide in the United States contribute to the spread of these representations globally. The U.S., where religious overtones dominate political debates, is often aligned with secularism and its sister narratives modernity and progress while religion for Muslim identified subjects is made its opposite. This association with the past, with backwardness, had been detrimental for individuals who have tried to organize politically within this identity. Using Rey Chow’s theory of the ethnic stereotype to elaborate this further, it becomes easier to see how assumptions regarding religion permeate figures like the female suicide bomber, the controversial resignation of Brooklyn principal Debbie Almontaser, and the current drive to provide religious specific services to Arab Muslims in New York. This analysis helps to draw attention to this phenomenon as an issue for feminist activism.