Tag Archives: Islamophobia
Two men who had made threats on FaceBook alluding to shooting and killing Muslims at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, a suburb of Chicago, were released on Friday by local police after turning themselves in. The local media only reported that the men were questioned by the Bridgeview Police Department and the FBI, but never explained why after such serious threats they would be released without charge. Why were men who made threats causing the local police to have regular patrols of the mosque, school, and surrounding community released?
For the past week, the television has blared fierce conversations full of provocative labels that have been circling like sharks for the past year – “Extremists,” “Islamists,” “Jihadis,” “terrorists”, “anti-Semites,” ”ISIS supporters,” “murderers,” and “victims.” It was really not until last Wednesday, January 7th, when all of these words suddenly landed together, crashing into a multi-media debate on the spread of militant Islam and the virtues of freedom of speech and the extremists who seek to demolish it.
On June 22nd, CNN aired a debate between Brigitte Gabriel, founder of ACT! For America and Linda Sarsour, director of the Arab American Association of New York on the question of whether the media is “fueling the fear of Islam”. To me this question is answered by an irrefutable “YES!” Our media has instilled great fear of Muslims and hatred of our faith as a propaganda tool for the War on Terror. The Western media uses terrorist and fanatic stereotypes in television shows, movies, novels, and, most troubling of all, biased academic works and news outlets, which feature Islamophobic spin-doctors. Hate is an industry.
The press “controversy” around the release of Bowe Bergdahl has been the perfect storm of Islamophobia (Bergdahl’s father’s beard = he’s Muslim = he’s a terrorist); only traitors are anti-war (Bergdahl expressed doubts about the Afghanistan war so he deserted); and Guantanamo prisoners can’t be released (except when we can trade them for a captured U.S. soldier).
I first learned about the incident through a tweet from Boston-based journalist Omar Sacirbey: “Did you hear we caught a terrorist last week?” And I said to myself: “Why, no, I did not.” In fact, most probably, much of the nation did not hear about the terrorist that was caught in the Houston area on March 27.
It really defies logic that people with clear anti-Muslim bias purport themselves as being “experts on Islam” and teach courses to law enforcement agencies about counter-terrorism. The latest of these is John Guandolo, who is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “notorious Muslim-basher and conspiracy theorist.”
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin recently said he did not want any more mosques being built in his city, claiming it would attract more Muslims. Such open displays of Islamophobia have been echoed elsewhere in Russia and show a deep rooted problem in the city of Moscow, which currently has a Muslim population of two million residents.
Reza Aslan, Middle East Commentator for NPR, Muslim Affairs Analyst, and author of “No god but God: the Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam” spoke at Elmhurst College on February 14 about his most recent book “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth”. The lecture was six months after his book was published and after his infamous interview with Fox News anchor Lauren (“You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?”) Green. His answer to her and to all the conservative pundits was “I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.” So how has Aslan’s message changed after six months of interviews and lectures?
By Susy Palmer
January 30th is Fred Korematsu Day, which calls to mind a part of United States history that is too often forgotten. In February 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which stripped Japanese-Americans of their $2.7 billion net income, their dignity, as well as their constitutional freedom in the United States by forcing them into internment camps. The forced internment of American citizens of Japanese descent was an act of fear, but Fred Korematsu is commended because he chose to act out of courage. He refused to be interned, and as a result, brought about one of the most important civil rights cases in United States history, Korematsu v. United States (1944). In this landmark case, the government deemed Executive Order 9066 constitutional, upholding the exclusion order. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has ranked Korematsu alongside Dred Scott, the 1857 decision that black slaves were property and not citizens, as among “the court’s most shameful blunders.”