14 years following the tragic 9-11 attacks in America, Islamophobia still abounds rampant within American society. Occasional media coverage in America have highlighted cases of the vandalizing of mosques, a Hindu -Sunando Sen-murdered because he was mistaken as a Muslim, female Muslims refused admission into an amusement park (Rye County New York), Sabreen Abdulrahmaan incarcerated for refusing to take her hijab off in a Georgia courtroom, violent assaults against Muslims such as Vishal Wadhwa, discrimination in the employment market as Imane Boudlal, wrongful convictions for the vague Conspiracy to Commit Terrorism charge like Ziyad Yaghi, immigration refusals such as Naveed Shinwari, and more welter. Worse, some media commentators and politicians have publicly joined in the emetic malaise making incredulous and unconscionable barefaced Islamophobic remarks such as Fox commentators Ann Coulter, Brigette Gabriel, and Republican Hermain Cain. This is the hapless state of affairs in the Lady Liberty's abode, it is oppression, and we have to recognize and accept it to venture beyond with prudence.
Acceptance by American society is impeded however, by mendacious apologists for Islamophobia who aggrandize a popular tautology full of factual misrepresentations in order to attenuate this human phenomena's recognition, while synchronously enervating critics. The following polemic addresses the Islamophobia apologists' lucifugous myths in the hopes of returning the linchpin to the wheels of Democracy.
THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS ISLAMOPHOBIA
- Sam Harris to Glenn Greenwald
Impudent Islamophobes allege there is no definition of Islamophobia, thus the conclusion is there exists no such phenomena. Well, here is the Runnymede definition:
Islamophobia is generally defined as harmful or insulting actions, practices or beliefs, or social or political systems that are based in views that see the human species to be divided into religious categories with inadaptable shared traits, abilities, or qualities, such as personality, intellect, morality, or other cultural behavioral characteristics, and especially the belief that Islam and Muslims can be ranked as inherently superior or inferior or more dangerous to others, or that members of different religions should be treated differently.
Although Islamophobia is a nascent neologism, it isn't just a definition. Closer parsing reveals in juxtaposition with historical racism, that it's a recurrent human social phenomena. Its pith is xenophobia. All cultures and nations have been susceptible to its foudroyant lure. There are several cases in the annals of U.S. history where American minorities struggled for equal rights against unsupported xenophobic perpetrated discrimination and violence. A handful of the following court battles and incidents highlight the aforementioned human axiom.
I. Native Americans in Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia in 1831 and Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890.
II. African Americans in Scott vs. Sanford in 1856, Pace vs. Alabama in 1883, Plessy vs. Ferguson in 1896, and Brown vs. Board in 1954. They also suffered massacres such as the Tulsa Race Riots in 1921.
III. Chinese Americans in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and Oregon massacre in 1887 and Los Angeles Massacre in 1871.
IV. Japanese Americans faced it during WWII internment in camps in Hirabayashi v. United States (1943) , Korematsu v. United States (1944), and the California Alien Land Law in 1913.
V. Indian Americans felt the brunt of it as well in United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923) and the Bellingham Riots of 1907.
A. The German language was outlawed in universities during WWI, some German Americans had degrees revoked, they were also required to purchase bonds to avoid jail time in order to accentuate their loyalty to America, and also 11,000 German Americans were detained without due process in WWII.
B. Italian Americans were also victimized as Immigration quotas were enforced such as the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 and Immigration Act of 1924. Italian Americans experienced mob violence against 11 Italian Americans in 1891 within New Orleans, Louisiana. History also records the Italian version of the Dreyfus Affair with the 1920 Sacco and Venzitti trials in Boston, Massachusetts. Italian Americans also suffered the false stigma that their culture was heavily influenced by the Italian Mafia.
Xenophobia wasn't just restricted to race either.
- Native Americans were declared devil worshippers and discriminated against because of their pagan religion.
- Jehovah's Witnesses were banned from schools, attacked, and more in the 1930s and 1940s.
- Mormons had several Mormon wars in Utah, Missouri, and Illinois culminating in the Utah War in the 19th century.
- The 1875 Blaine Amendments were directed toward Catholics, Horace Mann's creation of America's educational system was to counter increasing Catholic immigration, and the early 19th century America saw a peak in anti-Catholic sentiment.
The above exhibits that xenophobia is a recorded human social phenomena. It's expression today, is found in numerous undeniable examples of Islamophobia . It is the same creature ascending from the pit of the War Of Terrorism like the American Revolution, WWI, and WWII were the stimuli that augmented xenophobia against German, Japanese, and Catholic Americans. America and the West must address this tocsin as bigotry and racism.
Thomas Jefferson once stated,
"All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression."
MUSLIMS' FEELINGS ARE VERY, VERY SENSITIVE . . . FORCES OF ISLAM ARE STEADILY ERODING THE CORE FREEDOMS THAT FORM THE BACKBONE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION
- The Savy Kafir of www.handbookforinfidels.com
Another claim by Islamophobia sophists is that Muslims are too sensitive to criticism or discreetly attempting to curb Western freedom of speech, pointing toward Muslim reactions -which they describe as over-reactions- across the world to quotidian cartoon caricatures, sculptures and paintings, and even movies depicting Islam or the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) negatively. However, not many journalists have honestly juxtaposed the blasphemous nature of the anti-Islamic examples, with prior precedents targeting other religions. A good comparison is The Innocence of Muslims.
Apologists for Islamophobia aver that the creations of Monty Python's Life of Brian or Jerry Springer's The Opera was just as disparaging, yet not met with the equivalent reception as Muslims upon The Innocence of Muslims. This is erroneously burlesque.
Monty Python's Life of Brian was relatively 'benign' when set side-by-side to the grave transformations of the storyline and depiction of the prophet Mohammed (PBUH) in The Innocence of Muslims . As Richard Webster stated in reference to the former in A Brief History of Blasphemy, "as a satire on religion, this film might well be considered a rather slight production. As blasphemy it was, even in its original version, extremely mild." In regards to public reaction being miniscule, Life of Brian had:
- Several censured cuts to its 'pristine' footage prior to its controversial release (unlike Innocence of Muslims).
- BBC and ITV refused to play it.
- Thirty nine cities in the UK boycotted it.
- Norway and Ireland passed national injunctions against it lasting until the end of the first decade of the 21st century and it is still banned in Germany.
- There were even strepitous pickets and boycotts with occasional violent demonstrations in New York and other U.S. cities.
- Debates raged on BBC, and more.
What was the impious facet of the above film? It was stigmatized sacrilegious because one simple scene in the theatrical rebus did not emotionally depict the crucifixion of Jesus (PBUH) as painfully and horrendously as many umbrageously believed.
In regards to Jerry Springer's The Opera , it was contemned as well. It was met with 55,000 petitions and complaints , protests in 14 cities in the UK, and an attempt by the Christian Institute to press criminal charges upon BBC director Mark Thompson. What was so sacrilegious about The Opera? The show contained more than 200 vulgar words and depicted God, Jesus, Mary, Adam, Eve, (PBUT) and Satan; as warring guests on a special edition of the Jerry Springer Show , set in hell.
How about the Innocence of Muslims?
The film was initially introduced under un-illusory and non-nominal names- unlike Springer's and Python's creations-such as The Real Life of Mohammed , The Innocence of Bin Laden, The Real Mohammed Movie, etc. There could be no denial of the preceding films' tacit aim. Instead of publicly unanimous and forceful castigation upon the blasphemous nature of The Innocence of Muslims by major Western media networks, obloquy was funneled toward the garrulous character of the film's author and the production's fledgling dilettante quality, in order to accentuate the participation in the production of the film toward a few deranged authors. Emphasis was also aimed at Muslim reactions worldwide in response to its distribution. Why adumbrate its inherit sacrilege? Why was the film's blasphemy occluded?
The Innocence of Muslims depicted the venerable prophet Mohammed (PBUH) as
- A philanderer that capriciously incorporated indiscriminate verses into the Quran in exchange for sexual favors and who treated his wives and 'girlfriends' as emotionless sexual objects.
- A domineering husband despised by his jealous wives.
- Born a spoiled and selfish bastard.
- Gluttonous and ungenerous with victuals.
- Quickly prone to sudden volatile bouts of maniacal rage tempered with compulsive suicidal urges.
- Childishly undisciplined and incorrigible.
- A cold-hearted murderous thug and immoral compassionless extortionist.
- Atrophied in intelligence and gullibly naive so as to make fiats to the cajoles of anyone, a narcissist believing himself to be God.
- A sexual deviant child molester and homosexual debaucher who plays both quarterback and receiver positions in sexual intercourse with men and boys.
- And all the other current prevalent myths that indecent Islamophobic extremists attach to the archetype minstrel of Muslims and Islam today.
It's not over. The apparition of fire over the Prophet Mohammed's (PBUH) image -insinuating he is Satan- was 'more' than tacitly comprehended. Furthermore, the film not only vehemently and shamelessly maligned a prophet, but it challenged and vitiated the sanctity of the Quran depicting its origin as solely a coagulation of stolen verses from the Torah and New Testament by Khadija's cousin. It also characterized the wife of the prophet Mohammed (PBUH) Khadija, as a female pedophile who molested the youthful prophet Mohammed (PBUH). The blasphemous unvenial onslaught exceeds the normal barometer of prior and current satirical insults, it demonizes Islam by mockingly insulting the core values of Islam.
The prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was not the only casualty. The loyal companions of the revered prophet- the equivalent of the apostles of Jesus (PBUH)- were also not immune to such insensitive ignorance and malevolence. Jafar Ibn Abi Talib-one of the prophet Mohammed's (PBUH) closest companions and cousin- was portrayed as a thoughtless donkey, the companions were also limned as cretinous murderous rapists and child molesters. One scene even venturing to the disgusting extent of showing the companions torturously raping a helpless elderly lady. And throughout the film, Islam is portrayed as having spread not by tolerance, justice, and love; but at behest of many innocent deaths from the end of a sword.
The exigent and felicitous question that remains unanswered is, what invidious film can we find a 'portion' of the above sacrilegious slanders as in The Innocence of Muslims, against Judaism, Atheism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other belief system? None. Another salient question - which establishes the moral high ground- is what Muslim production or satirical creation imitates The Innocence of Muslims against non-Islamic religions? None.
Muslim communities don't desire to destroy or alter Western freedom by animadversion. There aren't sufficient Muslims in Western countries to achieve that paranoid hypothesis. Furthermore, Islamophobia under the banner of free speech should not be guarded if it leads to violence, disenfranchisement, and discrimination against a minority constituency. One does not need to say publicly kill 'the Muslim' to achieve that end. One only has to repeatedly scream to an audience that 'the Muslim' desires to kill everyone, before a social pariah or extremist reacts with violence against 'the Muslim.' Before a small proportion discriminate and disenfranchise 'the Muslim' in society. Ironically, that is identical to the same truncheon which Islamic extremists respond to, when they commit terrorist incidents in the West. Someone convinces them all Americans and America aspires to destroy Islam and kill Muslims. Given the fact the West has much more power, they should understand this more than anyone else, and act accordingly.
FBI STATISTICS BELIE CLAIMS OF RAMPANT ANTI-MUSLIM CRIME
- Clarion Project publication based on Islamist Watch David Rusin's analysis
In America, apologists posit that Islamophobia is a myth because violent incidents against Jews are higher than Muslims and the frequency of hate offenses against Muslims has remained at a stable level from 2002 until now. Both facts are genuine, but connivingly omit other brushstrokes which delineate a clearer portrait. In 2000, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported only 28 offenses against Muslims and 1,161 against Jews. Within one year in 2001, it peaked to 481 crimes- a whopping 1,617% increase- against Muslims and 1,403 targeting Jews. Offenses dropped significantly in 2002 to 155 against Muslims and 931 against Jews. Then the frequency fluctuated near the 160 level (a 435% increase from pre-2001 levels) against Muslims until 2013 with 135 Muslim victims (a 21% increase from pre-2001 levels) and anti-Jewish offenses at 625 (54% less than the 2000 level). It is also salient to mention that there was a 50% spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes from 2009 to 2010. The translation of the preceding data is for 13 years following the tragic attacks on the World Trade Center, anti-Jewish crimes have consistently decreased to half of its prior 9-11 numbers. And anti-Muslim offenses have maintained a 21% spike till today. If one were to extrapolate the statistics, it may be a portent that Muslims will inevitably replace Jews as the major targets of anti-Semitism.
Furthermore, if the FBI reports are inspected by what percentage Muslims and Jews comprise of the U.S. population (from the Pew Forum) in order to grasp an idea of the 'effect' such offenses have on each, we may get an even clearer silhouette. In 2013, we get .0120% of the Jewish population-which comprises of 1.7% of the total U.S. population- being affected while .0100% of the Muslim population- which comprises .6% of the U.S.- being affected. This means -in consideration of a margin of error-that religiously motivated hate crimes-despite numbers being higher for a more considerable Jewish population- affect both Jews and Muslims nearly the same. The difference is negligible. It is also illuminating to note that hate crimes against the Catholic population - which is 20 times larger than both Muslim and Jewish populations- and the Protestant population -which is 50 times larger than both- remained lower than Jews and Muslims combined, throughout the period of 2000 to 2013.
The above statistics does not incorporate other hidden aspects of Islamophobia which apologists wink at.
According to a Time magazine poll, 28% of participants believe Muslims should not be eligible for U.S. Supreme Court positions and one-third felt there should never be a Muslim president. According to a Washington Post and ABC News poll, only 37% had an amicable opinion of Islam. A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll discovered that 22 percent of respondents would not tolerate a Muslim as their neighbor and 39% said they desired Muslim Americans would be obligated to possess special identification. Another poll in 2011 by USA Today unearthed that 3 out of 10 Americans suspected Muslim Americans have some form of sympathy toward Al Qaeda.
Proposed legislation also reveals Islamophobia. 7 states in the U.S. now have anti-Islamic legislation. In 2010, Oklahoma voters approved legislation that foisted judges from acknowledging Islam in court proceedings. Despite the 1st amendment, Oklahomans were meretriciously advised to the definition of Islam in voting booths. The Council of Islamic American Relations (CAIR) has counted 78 bills and amendments introduced by Republicans in 29 states and the U.S. congress, which negatively portray Islam.
Legislation is not the only dog mark of a chapter in the history book of American Islamophobia. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in the years after 2001 proclaimed that despite Muslim Americans comprising only 2% of the U.S., they filed one-fourth of the job discrimination complaints. A study by Carnegie Mellon University found that job applicants who listed their religion as Muslim were overlooked more than other religions . Such observation extended to such length as 2% of Muslim applicants not being called for a job interview in Republican Southern states. The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed charges of employment discrimination appending one case of horripilation against JBS Swift -a meat packing company- because 160 Somali workers were cursed, not allowed to pray, and hit with blood and meat and bones as a result of their religion. Despite the American Civil Liberties Union ( ACLU ) ruling that the Muslim female's hijab is protected under the 1st and 14th amendments of the U.S. constitution, a multitude of cases pertaining to discrimination have arisen against Muslim women. For example, Samantha Elauf is now taking Abercrombie & Fitch to the U.S. Supreme Court for refusing to hire her in consequence of her hijab. Hani Khan was fired by the same preceding company because she would not undress her hijab during working hours.
Other measures include convictions of suspected terrorists such as Ziyad Yaghi whose benign trip to Jordan and Israel ,Facebook posts, and vague friendships was ample yet lissome evidence to convict him of the ambiguous Conspiracy to Commit Terrorism charge. This is un-constitutional because he was immured for documentation dependent on his thoughts and associations alone. New York University School of Law Center for Human Rights and Global Justice has reported that according to their research, over 200 Muslim Americans have been wrongfully convicted established on no evidence nor plot. In regards to illegal detentions, T he Atlantic estimates 60% of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba are innocent, the Voice Of Russia claims 90%.
As history illuminates, De Facto racism is the most overlooked, yet most pernicious form of racism. The above only touched the outer surface of the detrimental effect a scurvy Islamophobia has on a portion of Americans, continuously being victimized in America today.
"People know about the Klan and the overt racism, but the killing of one's soul little by little, day after day, is a lot worse than someone coming in your house and lynching you."
-Samuel L. Jackson
THERE IS A RADICAL STRAIN [IN ISLAM] THAT WANTS TO DESTROY AMERICA AND THE VALUES WE STAND FOR
-U.S. Representative Joe Walsh
Islamophobia critics implicitly hint that Muslims and Islam deserve suspicion and discrimination because of the 9-11 attacks on the Twin Towers, Boston bombing, Fort Hood Shooting,, etc.. The preceding ignominious message is camouflaged by the persistent descant by Islamophobes that an imperceptible radical facet of Islam strives to destroy American civilization. The facts don't support such generalized inculcation. A perfunctory view of the history of Christian terrorism and today's statistics refute such farce.
- Joe Stacks kamikazied a plane into an IRS building, citing in his manifesto he wrote before his demise that the corruption of the Catholic Church was the motivation.
- Timothy McVeigh, member of the Christian Identity Movement, blew up a federal building. A copy of The Turner Diaries was discovered in his vehicle. Such literature claimed that the extinction of blacks and consequent success of whites, was exigent for the realization of God's experiment.
- Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez shot at the White House intending to kill president Obama while claiming he was Jesus
- Anders Behring Breivik massacred 200 , then released a manifesto claiming he was a modern Christian Crusader elected by God to battle with Muslims.
- Scott Roeder and Eric Robert Rudolph murdered innocent victims and blew up abortion clinics because God is against abortion.
- 28-year-old Kyle Aaron Huff entered a rave after party in the southeast part of Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood and opened fire, killing six and wounding two, before committing suicide.
- A Christian James Holmes of Colorado killed 12 and injured 58 while dressed in military fatigues and booby-trapping his home with explosives in expectation of the arrival of law enforcement.
- Adam Lanza, a Catholic who hated Christmas trees in his house, consequently committed the Sandy Hook Massacre.
- Wade Michael Page, a Christian admirer of Nazi Darwinism in Wisconsin killed six worshippers at a Sikh temple
- One Goh, a Christian slaughtered 7 in California.
- Jeffrey Weise, another Christian admirer of Nazi Darwinism killed 8 in Minnesota
- A Christian Charles Carl Roberts IV with 600 rounds of ammunition, explosives, handcuffs and sexual lubricant; shot and murdered 6 Amish girls in Pennsylvania.
- Eric David Harris and Dylan Bennet Klebold committed the Columbine High massacre , the largest school in history , wherein both in their journals often wrote about their admiration for Timothy McVeigh and the former on Darwinistic natural selection.
- Seung-Hui Cho massacred university students at Virginia Tech where he proclaimed in his manifesto that he was a Jesus battling the hedonistic and opulent wealthy of society.
- John Patrick Bedell shot and wounded two security officials at the Pentagon
The statistics of terrorist incidents don't even validate the vagary of an overweening Islamophobia. There are 8 times more attempted and actual terrorist outbreaks by Ecological and Animal Rights terrorist groups than Muslim terrorists in the world. Since 2001 till now, 33% of suspected terrorist occurrences around the world were attributed to Muslims and 30% to Christians. Loon Watch submits that FBI statistics show that 6% of terrorist episodes on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005, were incurred by Islamic extremists. The remaining 94% originated from other groups. Crunching the numbers expose that white American bigots have murdered more Samaritans in the year 2011, than Islamic extremism in 11 years. In addition, 3 times more people have died by gun deaths in America- since the Sandy Hook Massacre on Dec. 14, 2012- than in the 9-11 attacks.. Finally, the majority of domestic terrorist violence in America's history occurred not during the War OF Terrorism, but during the whilom of the 1960s and 1970s civil rights and anti-war struggle. What is there to fear in the West from Muslims and Islam? Why the moue?
Islamophobia is a cyclical historical human social phenomena. The inquisition for Islamic terrorists augments it today. We may surpass the McCarthyism and xenophobia in America's history to glance its presence in European history. As with the witch craze episode of King James VI of Scotland, we have the television series 24 in comparison to Shakespeare's Macbeth - the latter was influenced by the former King's book Demonology - and the North Berwick Trials in comparison to the Fort Dix 5 and Raleigh Jihad convictions. We have the institutionalizing of Islamophobia with the passage of the NDAA and Patriot Act as with the witch laws of 1563 under Queen Elizabeth. Sam Harris, the Savy Kafir, Islam Watch, Joe Walsh, David Rusin, Hermain Cain, Fox News, Briggette Gabriel, Ann Coulter,Robert Spencer and more are the modern equivalents of Peter the Hermit during the Crusades. It's the same melodramatic calumny desultorily ruining innocent lives.
I was a victim of Islamophobia. I had a beautiful wife who divorced me for the malice of my own countrymen against her, her religion (Islam), her people (Palestinian); and because that same hatred (Islamophobia) indirectly led to the lamentable miscarriage of our precious child. Why was my nascent family targeted? Because I was too politically active in the Bible Belt of the South for the Palestine/Israel conflict. I brought Jews, Muslims, and Christians together. Palestinians and Israelis together. To reverse the litany of history in 70 AD, when Romans cullingly pitted religious denominations against each other, to procure a divide-and-conquer, instead of a peaceful coexistence in the Holy Land.
My story at 4:07
America must remedy this internecine cancer eating away at American society. It is racism, plain and simple. It destroys the principles that Western society prides itself upon and the world admires. It consumes innocent victims from normal Americans. It appends weight to extremist propaganda and terrorizes the Muslim American communities away from positive acculturation, while simultaneously transforming the former victims of Islamophobia into potential recruits for Islamic extremists. Those abusing free speech to cozen the public in order to uplift their nugatory existence- the modern Peter the Hermits above-are only wangling temporary fame/rewards which at its cusp - which antiquity records- invariably transforms to obscurity and shameful infamy when the cynosure fades. And those Islamophobia pundits destroy that which they revere about their own nations. Not just innocents like me.
American historian John Higham once described the anti-Catholic hysteria in America as "the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history." We may now append his comment to Islamophobia today.
Siraj Davis, is an English and History Instructor. He authored of "Religious Fanaticism and Abolition: Early 19th Century Marginalization of David Walker and Nat Turner". He also authored of various international publications on human rights, in six different languages. He also many other credit such as Journalist for Salem News, Amnesty International Lobbyist and Organizer, American Families United Lobbyist, Asian Student Association Co-founder, American Association for Palestinian Rights Organizer, Founder and president of Clemson University Collective Consciousness human rights organization, Constituent of the Truth, Justice, and Peace Movement and the Liberate Ziyad Yaghi Campaign .
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