“The virus incubated by right-wing bloggers Pam Geller and Robert Spencer has been spread so far and wide by Fox News that all of America is now infected with an anti-Muslim epidemic”
Fakhruddin Ahmed starts out well in this op-ed, explaining the genesis of “Islamophobia” with a greater degree of honesty than most Muslim spokesmen in the U.S. have ever displayed. But he soon enough resorts to the familiar Islamic supremacist tactic of evading responsibility, pointing fingers at non-Muslims who dare to point out how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism and to make recruits among peaceful Muslims. By the end of the piece he has run off the rails entirely, flinging wild charges of racism and bigotry, and blaming Pamela Geller and me for the fact that non-Muslims in America are looking at Islam and Muslims with open eyes, instead of buying into the full-blown campaign of deception, disinformation, and soothing lies that the mainstream media continues to pursue. He never connects up the first half of his piece with the second — in other words, he never explains why Islamic jihad terrorism and Islamic supremacism are real, and yet any resistance to them constitutes racism and hatred.
Yeah, sure, Fakhruddin — as if Pamela Geller and I inspired Khalid Aldawsari, the would-be jihad mass murderer in Lubbock, Texas, or Muhammad Hussain, the would-be jihad bomber in Baltimore, or Mohamed Mohamud, the would-be jihad bomber in Portland, or Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood jihad mass-murderer, or Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square jihad mass-murderer, or Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, the Arkansas military recruiting station jihad murderer, or Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be Christmas airplane jihad bomber, or Muhammad Atta, Anjem Chaudary, Omar Bakri, Abu Hamza, Abu Bakar Bashir, Zawahiri, Zarqawi, bin Laden and all the rest.
The Times of Trenton should be ashamed to print such a farrago, but it isn’t really anything special — just another mainstream media outlet printing a deceptive, disingenuous piece claiming victim status for Muslims in order to deflect attention away from jihad terror and Islamic supremacism.
“Examining a painful history fraught with transgressions,” by Fakhruddin Ahmed in the Times of Trenton, March 12 (thanks to James):
There are cogent reasons why roughly half of Americans, according to polls, harbor an unfavorable opinion of Islam. Besides perpetrating the most horrendous crime on American soil on 9/11, Muslims have been responsible for some pretty ugly incidents lately.
The Ayatollah Khomeini challenged one of the West’s core values, freedom of speech, by issuing a “fatwa,” or religious decree, in 1989, for the murder of Salman Rushdie over his controversial book, “The Satanic Verses.”
The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were quickly followed by Muslim terror attacks in Bali, Indonesia (2002), Madrid (2004), London (2005) and Mumbai (2008). And when some Muslims went berserk, burning and boycotting in reaction to the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2006, the rest of the world held its collective breath in consternation.
Muslim terrorists’ attempts to blow up planes, airports, tunnels and subways in America were thwarted. And if Qur’ans had actually been burned by Pastor Terry Jones in Florida last fall, as he threatened to do, some Muslims would have reacted by creating mayhem. Clearly, there is a less-enlightened, fanatically violent underbelly at work in the name of Islam. Understandably, the Judeo-Christian polemic against Islam centers on terrorism.
Submerged in an all-encompassing anti-Muslim hysteria, when non-Muslim Americans see signs of increasing Muslim presence around them, they feel besieged by an intimidating culture. That America’s complexion is transforming from shades of white to brown is difficult for many Americans to stomach; when some of those brown faces belong to Muslims, the transformation becomes downright frightening.
With no prominent Muslim-American voice to assuage those apprehensions, fear begets fear, spawning more virulent anti-Muslim vitriol.
Are Muslims, their religion and their culture a mortal threat to America? Is this the vaunted “Clash of Civilizations” between the West and Islam, as Harvard’s Samuel Huntington had predicted in 1993?
Civilizational narratives are rarely one-dimensional. Western democracies, especially Britain and France, exploited and repressed most Muslim nations as colonial powers over the centuries, souring Muslim taste for democracy. Conceivably, America’s more recent interventions in the Islamic world are fueling Americaphobia. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, with the concomitant collateral death of thousands of civilians, have exacerbated Muslim-American relations, as have the al Qaeda-seeking drone attacks inside Pakistan that inadvertently kill civilians and whose legality stands on shaky grounds.
We may consider ourselves to be the “good guys” eliminating the “bad guys” before they attack us; but to the child of the civilian we kill in Afghanistan, we are the bad guys. He or she may vow to exact vengeance.
Quid pro quo is in vogue in international relations. America garnered the Muslim world’s gratitude when it rushed to bolster the Afghans after the Soviet invasion of 1979 (which led to Muslim participation in Gulf War I in 1991), and liberated the Bosnians (1995) and the Kosovars (1999) from the Serbs. Muslims were not thrilled, however, when America attacked Afghanistan in 2001 (and has occupied it since); the neoconservatives fabricated WMD “evidence” to facilitate President George W. Bush’s attack of Iraq in 2003; and America started waging an undeclared war inside Pakistan.
Excluded from the debate about them inside America, and reduced to passive observers, Muslim-Americans are chagrined at the spectacle unfolding right before their eyes. Right-wing Republicans see no downside to demonizing the Muslims. It energizes their base, carries no political penalty, and forces the Democrats to defend a progressively unpopular minority.
Democratic defense of Muslim-Americans has not been stellar either, perhaps because they, too, secretly covet the bigot vote. Deprecators realize that Muslim-Americans, who number only 7 million, cannot retaliate electorally, making Muslim-baiting a win-win proposition.
Sarah Palin tweeted last July, imploring “peaceful Muslims” to “refudiate” the proposed New York City mosque near Ground Zero. Other Republicans and some Democrats jumped on the bandwagon, attaching intellectual heft to an originally ignorant far-right-fringe viewpoint.
A “moderate” Muslim is being redefined as one who condemns on demand. Detractors are not interested in Muslim points of view; they want Muslim condemnation of Islam. For them, Islam-bashing is the new normal, the new acceptable form of racism. If any other ethnic or religious group was so maliciously mauled, the attackers would be branded incurable racists.
What astonishes Muslim-Americans is that those hurling imprecations at them on television, on the radio and in the blogosphere do not seem to care that Muslim-Americans are watching and listening. It’s as though Muslim-Americans are apparitions that do not really exist or have feelings. Muslims feel like screaming: “Hey, I am in the room. Stop backbiting!”
The virus incubated by right-wing bloggers Pam Geller and Robert Spencer has been spread so far and wide by Fox News that all of America is now infected with an anti-Muslim epidemic. It hurts Muslim-Americans to see their patriotism questioned, their faith defined, distorted and defiled beyond recognition by anti-Muslim bigots through blatant lies. It is un-American to attempt to sacrifice an entire America-loving community, already reeling under vicious attacks, at the altar of higher television ratings.