Vilifying Muslims in America - by Stephen Lendman
Judge nations by how they treat all people, whether equally, or advantaging some over others. Judge them harshly if they persecute some for political advantage.
In America, people of color and Muslims are fair game. It's longstanding policy based on prejudicial attitudes, stereotypes, deep-seated racism, and notions of corrupted Western values, high-mindedness, and moral superiority.
Post-9/11, in fact, Muslims are perceived as barbaric, violent, uncivilized, gun-toting terrorists, easily targeted, accused, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned - not for wrongdoing, for their faith in American at the wrong time. As a result, it's no surprise that when suspects are named, media reports automatically convict them in the court of public opinion.
So do racist politicians for political advantage. Two notably among others stand out:
-- Senator Joe Lieberman (D/turned whatever-CT) last February wanting "a comprehensive national approach (developed) to (counter) homegrown radicalization to violent Islamist extremism; and
-- Rep. Peter King (R. NY), chairing House Committee on Homeland Security hearings, duplicitously claiming radicalized Muslims are increasing at an alarming rate, endangering US security.
In fact, notorious Islamophobes like him, Lieberman and many others in Congress threaten humanity worldwide by funding and supporting destructive global wars, as well as persecuting innocent victims at home, endangering everyone as a result.
No matter that Islamic tenets teach love, not hate; peace, not violence; charity, not selfishness; tolerance, not terrorism; or that Islam, Christianity and Judaism have common roots. You'd never know it in today's climate of hate and fear at a time America wages global wars on Islam, including at home.
People For the American Way (PFAW) Takes Aim at Anti-Muslim Extremism
Its new report focuses on "The Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism," saying:
"Under the guise of defending freedom and American values, right-wing anti-Muslim activists....prevent Muslim-Americans from freely worshiping and practicing their religion, curtail their political rights," urge deportations for some and prosecutions of others.
Connected to overall racial and religious hatred, Muslims became a favored target of choice. As a result, politicians argue for close monitoring, investigating, and curtailing their freedoms to stop them, destroying core democratic values in the process.
Post-9/11, manufactured paranoia claims Muslim are a fifth column threat to US security, "working to bring about America's downfall." Vicious rhetoric and accusations vilify them, calling them a dangerous internal threat to be stopped.
According to David Yerushalmi, a leading anti-Muslim propagandist/general counsel for the far-right Center for Security Policy:
"Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization....The Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it today, are our enemies." The way to defeat them is to criminalize Islam, he believes, proposing:
-- 20 years imprisonment for knowingly supporting the furtherance of or adherence to Islam;
-- congressionally declaring war on Muslim nations;
-- declaring all non-US citizen Muslims alien enemies under Chapter 3, Title 50 of the US Code, subjecting them to immediate deportation; and
-- assuring no Muslims get entry visas to America.
Accordingly, Muslims are perceived to be violent. No moderate ones exist. According to University of North Carolina Professor Omid Safi:
"A common ploy by Islamophobes is to go to a predictable list of verses in the Koran and the words of Muhammad and to argue that (they) - with no context, no interpretation, and no alternative (ones) - represent the essence of Islam for all eternity, no matter what Muslims may say or why they may protest."
Notorious Islamophobe David Horowitz claims that "between 150 million and 750 million Muslims support a holy war against Christians, Jews and other Muslims," based solely on his racist anti-Islamic hate.
In addition, right-wing religious extremist Pat Robertson compares Muslims to Hitler, urging Americans to fight them the same way, and the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer calls Muslims "parasites" and a "toxic cancer....out to eliminate and destroy western civilization."
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain says he won't have Muslims in his administration if elected. Newt Gingrich defended his position in a Republican candidate debate, comparing them to Nazis. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R. NC) calls them terrorists responsible for 9/11 (an exposed lie), and Allen West (R. FL) claims Muslims are naturally "wild" because God cursed Ishmael and his Muslim descendants.
The Pat Robertson/Jay Sekulow-founded American Center for Law and Justice claims Islam compels its adherents to fight America and other countries, saying:
"Because Islam grew out of the belief in complete world domination, every Muslim is obligated to labor in his own way toward achieving that goal, no matter where he lives or what sovereign claims his allegiance."
Distorting Truth to Spread Lies
Fake research is used to attack the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). As a result, Republican senators and congresspersons want the group investigated.
Not for wrongdoing. For encouraging young Muslim-Americans to become congressional interns to learn more about politics. Nonetheless, CAIR and other Islamic groups are vilified. During Rep. Peter King's first hearings, Rep. Chip Cravaack (R. MN) called CAIR a "terrorist organization."
Moreover, King and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R. TX) want its leaders prosecuted for being "an enemy organization operating within our midst," operating "as a front for terrorist organizations inside America."
Islamophobe Steve Emerson, a self-styled terrorist expert (aka hatemonger), notoriously uses fake research to maliciously vilify Muslim political groups by linking them to terrorist organizations.
During his witch-hunt congressional hearings, Peter King also used falsified information to claim over eight of ten American mosques advocate radical Islam, threatening US security.
Super-hawk racist Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy also repeats the same lies in his campaign to prevent US mosque construction, and Islamophobe Gary Bauer claims unnamed "experts" support his allegation that individuals disseminating "radical Wahhabist ideology" fund 80% of American mosques.
In fact, a 2010 Duke/University of North Carolina Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security study showed Muslim American communities use mosques and affiliated community groups to fight against violent extremism.
Nonetheless, vicious hatemongering persists. Other examples include:
-- ACT! for America claims public schools secretly convert students to Islam, "literally brainwashing (them) to prepare them to turn against our own soldiers and our own military and government by basically feeding them the talking points of al-Qaeda;"
-- The Oak Initiative's Rick Joyner tells parents that public school texts are replacing Founding Fathers with Muslims;
-- the American Family Association claims Mattel's Little Mommy Cuddle 'n Coo dolls tell children "Islam is the light;"
-- in 2010, numerous Islamophobes attacked the Miss USA pageant after it chose a Muslim America the winner; and
-- other right-wing hatemongers claim US judges must follow Sharia law, and Muslims want Sharia courts created.
Right-Wing Ideologues Want Freedoms Defended by Denying Them to Muslims
Gaffney claims "radical Muslims have proved adept at using (freedoms) to thwart legitimate surveillance and other countermeasures by law enforcement."
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R. TX) wants Muslims born in America denied citizenship.
Stop the Islamization of America's Pamela Geller claims if Muslims have the same rights as other Americans, they'll "impose Islamic supremacism" on the country.
Oklahoma legislator Rex Duncan wants the state Constitution to ban Sharia law because "America was founded on Judeo-Christian values, and we're unapologetically grateful that God has blessed America and blessed Oklahoma."
ACT! for America Kansas head Lisa Ritchie claims:
"The law that (Muslims) really do live under is completely different opposite from our law, so they can't live side by side. So one's got to go....We live in a free United States and I want to keep it like that."
Other Islamophobic groups also disseminate spurious accusations about Islamic jihad threatening America's security and culture.
Moreover, anti-Muslim extremists claim Islam is a dangerous political ideology, not a religion. Rep. Allen West (R. FL) calls it a "theo-political belief system and construct" that must be destroyed. The Traditional Values Coalition's Andrea Lafferty insists "Islam is a geo-political military system wrapped in a cloak of religious belief."
Former Muslims United's Nonie Darwish claims "mosque(s aren't) just....place(s) for worship. (They're) where war is started, where commandments to do jihad start, where incitements against non-Muslims occur. (They're) place(s) where ammunition is stored."
Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber calls Islam "Satanic, (something) not of God and of Christ, (so) what it is of is the Enemy."
The American Family Association's Bryan Fischer says "there is no spirit of God in Islam. It is the spirit of Satan." Pat Robertson also claims Islam's not a religion, "but a political system bent on world domination."
Islamophobic groups also argue that Muslim Americans deserve no First Amendment religious protections because Islam's not a religion. As a result, they claim, US legal freedoms will let them impose "totalitarian" ideologies. According to Gaffney:
"Our enemies are using our tolerance of religion to create an infrastructure of mosques here that incubate the Islamic holy war called jihad (as part of a) stealthy 'civilization jihad' in this country."
Others want mosques banned for this and other intolerant reasons. Lt. Gen. William Boykin (ret.), former Bush administration Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, claims Muslims have no constitutional rights, saying:
"We need to realize that Islam itself is not just a religion - it is a totalitarian way of life....It should not be protected under the First Amendment, particularly given that those following the dictates of the Koran are under an obligation to destroy our Constitution and replace it with Sharia law."
The American Family Association's Fischer also believes "Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, (nor the) right to build mosques in America." At the same time, AFA claims to defend "the rights of conscience and religious liberty from infringement by government."
ACT! for America urged UCLA to ban the school's Muslim Student Association, saying:
"We demand that they be removed from campus on the grounds that their purpose is to conduct a stealth jihad against America through the indoctrination of our youth on college campuses."
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain told a national TV audience that Americans can and should prevent mosque construction in their communities.
Republican ideologues also link Islamic hate to Obama, claiming he's a stealth Muslim when, of course, he's Christian. Yet former Arkansas governor/Fox News contributor/presidential candidate Mike Huckabee claims:
"We may have a president who has some fundamentally anti-American ideas that may be rooted in a childhood" much different from most Americans, because "our communities (have) Rotary Clubs, not madrassas."
Rep. Gohmert claimed on the House floor that a verbal Obama slip exposed his secret loyalty to Islam, saying:
"And I know the president made the mistake one day of saying he had visited all 57 states, and I'm well aware there are not 57 states in this country, although there are 57 members of OIC, the Islamic states of the world."
Other right-wing extremists make similar outlandish claims, including Obama wanting to "appease his Islamic overlords."
Muslims are also linked to other targeted right-wing groups, including progressives. For example, Islamophobe David Horowitz argues that there's "only a couple of degrees of separation between anybody on the left and the terrorists - and that includes people in the Democratic Party."
In his book titled, "Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the Radical Left," he claims Muslims and progressives abhor America and American values.
Christian Broadcasting's Erick Stakelbeck said "the left sees Islam as an ally and western civilization and the Judeo-Christian tradition (as an) enemy. They have a shared hatred for this country."
Glenn Beck claims left-wing groups work with radical Muslims to build an Islamic caliphate in America, united against capitalism, Judaism and stability.
Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber claims "radical Islam and radical progressivism" cooperate because of their shared hatred of God, saying together they'll "try to destroy Christian principles and Christian expression in this country and abroad."
Others link immigrants with Islamic terrorists, including claims that Iran is smuggling them into US cities. As a result, AFA's Bryan Fischer insists immigrants "must convert to Christianity" or be prohibited from coming to America.
Frank Turek (fired by Cisco Systems for his anti-gay writings) told American Family Radio that "the homosexual community and Muslim community (are) joining together (because they) both hate western civilization" and the Constitution.
Presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann collaborator Bradlee Dean targeted Rep. Keith Ellison (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party - MN) for his Islamic faith and support for LGBT equality.
Former House Speaker/Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told members of a Texas Church that secular humanists in league with Muslims want to destroy America as we know it, saying:
"I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time (my grandchildren are) my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."
A Final Comment
Republican and Democrat Party right-wing extremism is a cancer destroying America. In 2012, one of their own may become president, bringing ideological hate to the White House if elected.
On June 14, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) National Executive Director Nihad Awad expressed concern about anti-Islamic sentiment aired by Republican presidential candidates at a June 13 New Hampshire debate, saying:
"When the candidates were asked: 'Are American Muslims as a group less committed to the Constitution than, say, Christians or Jews?' not one spoke up (for) religious tolerance. While most remained silent, Herman Cain reiterated his position that he would treat Muslims differently than members of other faiths. (He) and (Gingrich) echoed the far-right manufactured controvery about Sharia replacing the Constitution."
In fact, "Muslim groups are currently at the forefront defending the Constitution against attempts by many states to pass anti-Muslim legislation that clearly violates the Bill of Rights."
Moreover, it's "unconscionable" that political aspirants like Gingrich, Cain, and many others equate Muslims with fifth column threats to America.
In fact, many do and say so. Others also but mute their comments or stay silent. At issue is what's threatened all Muslim Americans post-9/11 - persecuting them maliciously for political advantage, making it unsafe for anyone practicing Islam by equating it to terrorism.
America's First Amendment states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Those serving in it and the White House are mandated to enforce all constitutional provisions and statute laws. However, it hasn't prevented them from violating them, especially against vulnerable Muslim Americans.
As a result, anyone may be at risk in a nation targeting its own for political advantage. It's everyone's obligation to stop it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.