[…] No matter what your feelings are about the proposed community center, there can be little doubt that Islamophobia is on the rise in America.
A Washington Post poll released last year found that nearly half of Americans — 48 percent — have an unfavorable view of Islam. That’s nine points higher than in the months after the Sept. 11 attacks. A new national survey by the Pew Research Center found that 30 percent of those who disapprove of President Obama’s job performance believe he is Muslim.
Note the snake oil that Aslan is peddling. He pretends that Americans have some irrational hatred of Islam, and hopes that as he wrings his hands about “Islamophobia” that his enlightened NPR readers will not remember the Fort Hood jihadist who murdered thirteen people, or the Christmas underwear jihadist that almost took down another airliner, or the Mumbai jihad, or the London jihad, or the Madrid jihad, or the Bali jihad, or so many, many other jihads around the world since 9/11. He wants you to think that Americans have an unfavorable view of Islam that stems from irrational hatred, from bigotry and racism.
And he isn’t even concerned that some readers will see through his game and view him with greater suspicion and reserve once they do, because even that he will turn around to his own advantage in that parlor game ever-popular among Muslims in America, The Quest for Privileged Victim Status.
What’s more disturbing is that anti-Muslim sentiment seems to have gone mainstream, with fringe groups like Stop Islamization of America — which is behind many of the protests in lower Manhattan and has been participating in similar anti-Muslim rallies across the country — suddenly receiving regular air time on mainstream media outlets.
Stop Islamization of America is actually an affiliate of a European organization called Stop Islamization of Europe, an anti-Muslim hate group whose motto is “Racism is the lowest form of human stupidity, but Islamophobia is the height of common sense.”
Actually SIOA hasn’t adopted that slogan precisely because it can be misused by used car salesmen like Aslan, but its actual meaning should be clear to anyone who is not playing Gotcha or trying to portray freedom fighters in the worst possible light. SIOE is emphasizing that the resistance to Islamization is not racism, as is commonly charged, since the Islamic supremacist political ideology is not a race, and it is saying that concern about the advance of Sharia imperatives in the West is not an irrational fear, but a genuine concern for the preservation of European freedoms.
The connection between the two organizations is telling.
In Europe, the passage of laws curtailing the rights and freedoms of Muslims and the success of avowedly anti-Islam political parties have led to a sense of marginalization and disenfranchisement among Europe’s Muslim communities. That in turn has led to what I believe is a sharp increase in radicalization among Europe’s young Muslims.
So “radicalization” is a response to attempts to preserve European cultural identity and genuine pluralism. Got it. What specific laws curtailing the rights and freedoms of Muslims were passed in London before the July 7, 2005 jihad bombings, Mr. Aslan? What specific laws curtailing the rights and freedoms of Muslims were passed in Madrid before the March 11, 2004 jihad bombings, Mr. Aslan?
[…] The fear is that this may lead to the same kind of radicalization among Muslim youth in the U.S. that we’ve seen in Europe. It has already played into the hands of al-Qaida, which has for years been trying to convince American Muslims that the unfettered religious freedoms they enjoy is a mirage — that the U.S. will eventually turn against its Muslim citizens.
Are we in danger of proving al-Qaida right?
I am a liberal, progressive, secularized American Muslim. But when I see that bigotry against my faith — my very identity — has become so commonplace in America that it is shaping into a wedge issue for the midterm elections, I can barely control my anger.
I can’t imagine how the next generation of American Muslim youth will react to such provocations. I pray that we never find out.
Threat noted, Mr. Aslan. But instead of tossing veiled threats onto the cappuccino-stained pages of National Public Radio, shouldn’t you, sterling moderate that you are, be working among those young Muslims to counter their tendencies to “radicalization”?
But of course, to do so would be to acknowledge that “radicalization” proceeds from wellsprings within the Islamic community itself, instead of as a response to provocation from without — and that would contradict Aslan’s entire victimhood narrative.