It’s always fun to see Haroon Moghul, or “Dwayne,” as he styles himself for fear of “Islamophobia” at Starbucks, taking up the cudgels again, as his increasingly risible “Islamophobia” victimhood posturing has made him the clown prince of the “Islamophobia” propaganda industry: Dwayne is far funnier than, say, Dean Obeidallah, who actually calls himself a comedian but appears never to have said anything funny in his life. To be sure, Moghul is as vicious as other “Islamophobia” propagandists, despite his comic persona: he cheerfully traffics in defamation and dishonesty and routinely takes advantage of his audience’s ignorance about Islam to invert reality, portraying Muslims as victims of a cruel “Islamophobia” machine, instead of non-Muslims threatened by the global jihad.
And now we learn from the sage and stalwart Dwayne that “Islamophobia” is to blame for these factoids: “Your smartphone is more advanced than nearly every air-traffic control system. Our sewage pipes, bridges and highways are falling apart. The residents of Flint, Michigan, just found their water is the opposite of potable….You can blame Islamophobia for that.” What? Have dastardly “Islamophobes” infiltrated the air-traffic control system and the government of Flint, Michigan? Have these “Islamophobic” villains persuaded those who take care of our nation’s sewage pipes, bridges and highways that if they kept them in good repair, Muslims might use them?
No. Dwayne has a splendid comic touch, but he is not quite that good. What he means is that if we hadn’t spent all that money in Iraq and Afghanistan, we would have the money to shore up our infrastructure. And that is actually true. Osama bin Laden has stated that he carried out the 9/11 attacks in order to weaken America economically, and he succeeded in splendid fashion. Both the Iraq and Afghanistan incursions were disasters in every way. They were intended to create stable secular republics that would be beacons of freedom in the Islamic world; only someone who believed that Islam is religion of peace that is completely compatible with democracy could ever have thought that outcome would be achieved.
The problem, however, was how we responded to 9/11, not the fact that we responded at all. But Moghul is suggesting that the best response to the global jihad threat would be to ignore it: al-Qaeda, he says, was “a fringe terrorist movement with the support of the backwater Taliban” that Bush transformed into “an existential threat to Western civilization.” Never mind that the Taliban actually ruled Afghanistan at the time, and that al-Qaeda had a global network and had declared war against the United States. “Jeb Bush was one of the rare Republican candidates who wasn’t an anti-Muslim bigot, but he still described ISIS as an ‘existential threat.’ Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, maybe, and in any case, Jeb’s out. But I hardly think Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi can destroy the world’s most powerful nation.” Certainly not by means of a conventional war. But his plan is to overwhelm law enforcement and intelligence agencies with so many jihad attacks and plots that they collapse, and bring the whole system down with them. And in September 2014, the Islamic State issued a lengthy call to Muslims to murder non-Muslim civilians in the U.S. It says: “If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him. Do not lack. Do not be contemptible. Let your slogan be, ‘May I not be saved if the cross worshipper and taghūt (ruler ruling by manmade laws) patron survives.’ If you are unable to do so, then burn his home, car, or business. Or destroy his crops. If you are unable to do so, then spit in his face.” Yes, how “Islamophobic” of Jeb to see this group as an existential threat!
What’s more, as wrongheaded as Bush was about both Iraq and Afghanistan, he was responding to a jihad attack that took 3,000 lives. Haroon Moghul is characterizing that response as “Islamophobia.” Apparently he would have preferred we had surrendered outright.
“Islamophobia Is Ruining America—But Not How You Think,” by Haroon Moghul, Time, February 26, 2016:
…Each time I land at JFK, I am amazed. Shortly after you exit, the manicured lawns vanish, the smooth surfaces become potholed and cratered—New York begins. Heaven forbid you fly to LaGuardia, where there’s only a creaking bus service. It is almost impossible to go via mass transit between most of Brooklyn and Queens, which are over four million people. Many of the city’s rail tunnels still haven’t recovered from Hurricane Sandy, and nobody knows what’ll happen if there’s another big storm. The Second Avenue subway was conceived before we could conceive of a black President, and it’s still not done. This is America’s alpha city and, with London, one of the two most important. In the world. But New York isn’t an American outlier.
Your smartphone is more advanced than nearly every air-traffic control system. Our sewage pipes, bridges and highways are falling apart. The residents of Flint, Michigan, just found their water is the opposite of potable. We are still the world’s most powerful country, one of the most secure, and one of the most stable. But our country has been crumbling apart for years now, and we’ve done next to nothing about it.
You can blame Islamophobia for that.
Islamophobia is like racism not because Islam is a race, but because, for the Islamophobe, “Islam” plays the same role “race” did for racists. It’s all about broad, sweeping, malicious judgments. Has any other demographic had to suffer the indignity of being declared insufficiently loyal to be President, or hear proposals to be banned from the country? When Trump and Cruz argue over who will impose more war crimes, do you think they mean to waterboard Dylann Storm Roof, or kill his family members?
No one said that Muslims were “insufficiently loyal to be President.” Ben Carson noted that elements of Sharia contradict Constitutional freedoms, which is manifestly true, since Sharia denies the freedom of speech and equality of rights for women and non-Muslims. Carson pointed out that a Sharia-adherent Muslim would have troubled defending certain elements of the Constitution. That was true, and needs to be discussed. Instead, as Leftist commentators always do, Dwayne misrepresents the position of those he hates and fears and sets up a straw man.
There are a lot of explanations for where this hateful language comes from; a report for the Center for American Progress, Fear, Inc., outlined the deliberate and calculated inflammation of anti-Muslim sentiment on the right.
Yes, “anti-Muslim sentiment” comes from “Islamophobes.” Nobody would get a negative view of Islam from, say, Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki and Khaled Shaikh Mohammed and Muhammad Atta and Nidal Malik Hasan and Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Mohammed Abdulazeez and Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik and so very many others like them. Tell us another, Dwayne!
But Islamophobia was also the vehicle by which the Bush administration was able to sell its policies. Most Americans know very little about Islam. Most, as President Obama recently pointed out, don’t know a Muslim, or don’t know they know a Muslim. (Knowing a Muslim is the best inoculant against anti-Muslim bigotry.) Which is why the Bush administration could sell the Iraq war to a fearful and unknowing public.
So the Bush administration transformed a fringe terrorist movement with the support of the backwater Taliban into an existential threat to Western civilization, which, if true, demanded we respond accordingly. And that’s one of the major reasons why Americans could be persuaded to go to war with a country that didn’t attack us. So while I could tell you why anti-Muslim sentiment is bad for Muslims, maybe it’ll be more impactful if we consider why it’s bad for Americans generally.
The Iraq war, which was an easier sell given our tendency to conflate Arabs, Muslims and everything about the Middle East, cost the lives of thousands of American soldiers, and injured thousands more. By circumventing the U.N., we lost much of our moral capital, and created a precedent for aggression by regional powers worldwide. Hundreds of thousands Iraqis died, and many in the Muslim world still only see America through this lens. By focusing on Iraq, which rapidly spun out of control, we abandoned Afghanistan, where the Taliban are now resurgent there. If all this was not horrible enough, the Iraq war also led to the rise of ISIS, which has dragged us back in. Even if we wanted to walk away, we can’t; ISIS is far too dangerous for us to ignore.
Some three years ago, the Iraq war was estimated to have cost us $2 trillion dollars. Researchers have suggested that amount could rapidly increase over coming years, never mind the rise of ISIS and the deployment of American forces anew. As a comparison, free public college for all Americans would cost $70 billion a year. Not only is that much cheaper, but the latter is an investment that would pay dividends for years to come. The Iraq war didn’t make America safer and, if we’re really lucky, the war will be wound down and ISIS defeated and the region returns back to the status quo. And all the while, many other countries, like China, invested in their own economies. Even oil-rich Saudi Arabia has been making huge investments in energy, public transportation and green initiatives. You’d think, after a decade of this, that we would have caught on. Instead Islamophobia is still used to score cheap points, and avoid real problems….