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Thread: Islamophobia

  1. #21
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    Report: Islamophobia is a multimillion-dollar industry

    More than $200m spent on promoting fear and hatred of Muslims in US by various groups between 2008 and 2013.

    More than $200m was spent towards promoting "fear and hatred" of Muslims in the United States by various organisations between 2008 and 2013, according to a fresh joint report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the University of California, Berkeley.

    Released on Monday, the report identifies 74 groups, including feminist, Christian, Zionist and prominent news organisations, which either funded or fostered Islamophobia.

    "It is an entire industry of itself. There are people making millions of dollars per year from promoting Islamophobia. They often present themselves as experts on Islamic affairs when they are not," Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, a spokesman for CAIR, told Al Jazeera.

    "They have fuelled an environment of distrust among the American public by claiming that Muslims do not belong to the American community and that they could never be loyal citizens."

    Ruiz said that Islamophobia has posed two main dangers: a rise in hate crimes and anti-Islamic legislation.

    "For example, in the last year alone in Florida, there has been a 500 percent increase in hate crimes against Muslims. Mosques have been vandalised and there have been a number of bomb threats towards Islamic groups.

    "And Florida's government is even trying to ban school books from making any references to Islam in history."

    Since 2013, the country has seen a rise in the number of bills or amendments - about 81 - designed to "vilify Islamic religious practices", 80 of which were introduced to state legislatures by Republicans, the report notes.

    It cited Florida Senator Alan Hayes as once distributing literature that said: "Our religious, political, and peaceful way of life is under attack by Islam and Sharia Law. Save my generation from this ideology that is invading our country and masquerading as a 'religion'. It’s sedition: They are determined to overthrow our State and our Country."

    Meira Neggaz, the executive director of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) - a US-based think-tank, told Al Jazeera a poll published in March showed that one out of every five American Muslims had experienced discrimination on a regular basis, while more than half of them had faced some discrimination.

    "The other faith group you would think would suffer from some discrimination are Jews. They do, but far lower - only about 5 percent," she said.

    She also noted that the rise in anti-Islamic sentiment was more tied to political rhetoric than terrorist events.
    "2008 and 2012 - the years of election campaigns - saw spikes in Islamophobia that had nothing to do with terror. And we are now seeing similar trends in this election cycle.

    "It is part of a broader backlash against minorities. Lawmakers who are legislating against Muslims are also against other minority groups.

    "At least 32 states have introduced and debated anti-sharia or anti-foreign law bills. And, according to our research, 80 percent of legislators who sponsor this type of legislation also sponsor bills restricting the rights of other minorities and vulnerable groups."

    Neggaz emphasised that Islamophobia is a threat to US democracy and affects all of the country's residents.
    "Religious discrimination is illegal. There has to be legal procedures that can address that."


  2. #22
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    Israel’s Hand in the Short History of Islamophobia.

    You know you have reached peak Islamophobia when semi-literate, ex-cons who have never studied Islam or terrorism, can’t read Arabic, have never visited the Middle East, and don’t have a single Muslim friend publish a book about Islam and its alleged (non-existent) relationship to violence.

    Well, that’s exactly what Tommy Robinson, the high profiled leader of drunken football hooligans (aka English Defense League) who hate Muslims has done. It would appear his two stints in prison (12 months in prison for assaulting a police officer in 2003, and another 18 months in jail in 2012 for mortgage fraud) has bestowed Robinson all the credentials he needs to publicly comment on a complex religious faith — one that is followed and practiced by a great many diverse cultures and ethnicities.

    Yes, that guy has written a book on Islam, which is kind of like writing a book on cardiothoracic surgery because you once watched a season of General Hospital. But this is where we are today. If you have neither a job nor qualifications, a career in peddling anti-Muslim hate awaits.
    In a recent Australian televised panel debate on Islam and terrorism, the moderator asked Mehdi Hasan, a British Muslim television journalist, where exactly Islamophoba comes from. “The fear comes from many places,” replied Hasan. “Partly, of course, it comes from the fear terrorism provokes…but a lot it, unfortunately, comes from media and social media these days.”

    Since al Qaeda attacked the United States in 2001, Islamophobia has been a rags-to-riches story and a career builder for any number of opportunistic cons, politicians and book peddlers. It has put the likes of Richard Dawkins, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Sam Harris on best selling book lists; has launched or re-launched the political careers of Geert Wilders (The Netherlands), Marine Le Pen (France), and Pauline Hanson (Australia), and helped put Donald Trump into the White House.

    All of who portray Islam as uniquely violent, hostile to Western democratic values, and tied to terrorism, despite the fact none of the aforementioned has attained a single academic credential in either Islamic or security studies.

    Behind them is a cadre of anti-Muslim organizations and networks, many funded by a cohort of groups that could be described as loosely affiliated with the pro-Israel lobby. In 2014, this column identified the pro-Israel millionaires who fund what has become widely known as the “Islamophobia industry.”

    Their conspiracy theories about Muslims — ones that accuse Muslims in the West of plotting to implement Sharia and those that portray Muslims as a demographic time bomb — and their unrelenting efforts to tie Islam to acts of political violence make their way into mainstream media and then later into actual official government policy.

    But while this account of Islamophobia in the post -9/11 West is well known and documented, the Israeli origins of the Western discourse on terrorism are more opaque, and it’s from here that most of the erroneous anti-Muslim narratives were born.

    Professor Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire, says the effort to tie Islam to terrorism in public discourse started at a neo-con, Zionist funded conference on international terrorism in 1979. Notable attendees included George H. Bush and Likud party founder Menachem Begin.

    If the conference had one goal, it was to reach an agreement that right wing parties in Israel and the United States should adopt rhetoric that paints Palestinian struggle for self-determination and independence as “terrorism.” Kumar notes that while the conference aimed to “serve as the new beginning of a new process — the process of rallying the democracies of the world to struggle against terrorism and the dangers it represents,” it did not emphasize any ties between terrorism and Islam.

    This changed five years later, however, at the second International Conference on Terrorism held in Washington DC. It was here that US neo-cons and the Israeli far right rooted modern terrorism to Islamic and Arab radicalism, notes Kumar. At this conference, Bernard Lewis became the first public intellectual to overtly link terrorism to Islam by arguing “Islam is a political religion,” and thus because terrorism is an act of political violence, the term “Islamic terrorism” applies, while the descriptor Jewish terrorism or Christian terrorism does not.

    From this point forward, both US neocons and Zionists worked together to convince Western policy makers that “Islamic terrorism” would replace Communism as the West’s next great threat. By tying Islam to terrorism, neocons would gain political cover for their imperialistic ambitions in the Middle East, and Zionists would benefit from garnering Western sympathies for their struggle against Palestinian “terrorism.”

    Dr. Remi Brulin, a research fellow at New York University, observes that the term “terrorism” was largely absent from American discourse until the Reagan administration began adopting a “very specific, narrow, and ideologically driven understanding of ‘terrorism” — one adopted from those tied to the respective neoconservative and Zionist movements.

    “The discourse on ‘terrorism” is thus full of contradictions, and inconsistencies,” notes Brulin. “It is, at heart, the result of a deeply political and ideological process of meaning production, one in which specific political actors, from American neoconservative political operatives to Israeli officials to…the mainstream media, played a central role. Since it burst onto the American political scene three decades ago, this discourse’s central aim has been to de-humanize, de-politicize and de-legitimize the ‘enemy of the day,’ while legitimizing any and all uses of political violence against it. It is, in its contemporary expression, a dangerous, a-historical and anti-intellectual discourse, which should be deconstructed and, ultimately, discarded.”

    It is thus from these pro-Israeli and US neoconservative think tanks that anti-Muslim conspiracies, tropes, and negative stereotypes emerge. It is from this discourse that the likes of Trump and all those associated with the Islamophobia industry, including Tommy Robinson, borrow their Islamophobic notions that posit Islam as dangerous, violent, and a threat to Western civilization itself.

    And right there is your short history on Islamophobia in the West, and Israel’s hand behind it.


  3. #23
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    Trump politics, media bias triggers Islamophobia in US

    On Aug. 5, the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center, a small mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota, was targeted with an "improvised explosive device" at around 5 a.m., at a time when the congregation was inside getting ready for their morning prayer. Fortunately, no one was injured during the attack, which caused material damage to the property and was termed as a "terrible, dastardly, cowardly, terrible" crime by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. "The destruction done to this sacred site is just unthinkable, unforgivable," Dayton was quoted as saying by The Star Tribune during his press conference on the same day.

    The latest incident was a new dark stain in the U.S. record of anti-Muslim tendencies, which have significantly increased in the past couple of years. According to experts, in addition to other factors, the election of Donald Trump as president and his discriminative political rhetoric, as well as the media bias against Muslims and Islam has been a contributing factor to the recent escalation violence against Muslims in the United States.

    Although racial discrimination is not a hidden story in American history and politics, and continues to haunt the daily lives of many in the U.S., a new alarming trend, particularly against Muslims and or those with perceived Muslim backgrounds, has been observed.

    Documenting the anti-Muslim hate crimes in the U.S., a recent report published by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) suggests that "the number of hate crimes in the first half of 2017 spiked 91 percent compared to the same period in 2016," which was the worst year since 2013, the year CAIR began to document incidents in a new system.

    According to the report, "the number of bias incidents in 2017 also increased by 24 percent compared to the first half of 2016."

    "The most prevalent trigger of anti-Muslim bias incidents in 2017 remains the victim's ethnicity or national origin, accounting for 32 percent of the total. Twenty percent of incidents occurred because of an individual being perceived as Muslim. A Muslim woman's headscarf was a trigger in 15 percent of incidents," the report also indicates.

    'Trump effect' triggers anti-Muslim acts

    Todd Green, an associate professor of religion at Luther College, who writes and speaks on topics pertaining to Islamophobia in Europe and the United States, and is a former advisor at the U.S. State Department, says the recent attacks should be a "wake-up call for the U.S. and its leaders."

    "The use of an explosive device clearly indicates the intent to harm or kill," Professor Green told Daily Sabah. He added that the rising violence and attacks against Muslims is a result of the "Trump effect."

    "There's no doubt in my mind that this is the 'Trump effect.' True, the overt anti-Islamic rhetoric [used by Trump] has decreased, but we must take seriously the long-term effects of the rhetoric from his presidential campaign. Trump flirted with a registration system and ID cards for Muslims. At one point, he stated flatly that 'Islam hates us.' Most significantly, he called for 'a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the country.' Trump repeatedly signaled to his supporters and the nation at large that Muslims were not one of us, that they posed a significant security threat to the U.S."

    According to another CAIR report, titled "Civil Rights Report 2017: The Empowerment of Hate," between 2014 and 2016 there was a nearly 600 percent increase in hate crimes targeting Muslims.

    "In 2016, CAIR recorded a 57 percent increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents over 2015. This was accompanied by a 44 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes in the same period. From 2014 to 2016, anti-Muslim bias incidents jumped 65 percent. In that two-year period, CAIR finds that hate crimes targeting Muslims surged 584 percent," the CAIR report highlighted in its key findings.

    Green also highlights that, President Trump, known for being very active on social media, has refrained from tweeting on acts against Muslims, while he is very quick to show his stance when the victims are non-Muslims.

    "It's been over three days since the attack on the Dar Al-Farooq Mosque, and Trump has not uttered one word in response to the bombing. He's made no tweets condemning the attack and no official statements expressing solidarity with Muslims in Bloomington, MN. This is a pattern," Green said. "His silence sends a clear signal that Muslim lives do not really matter, that Muslims are not worth his time and effort."

    Craig Considine, a sociology professor at Rice University and an author, told Daily Sabah that the rise in anti-Muslim tendencies are "inextricably linked to the rise of Trumpism [white Christian nationalism]. Arsonists who attack mosques feel emboldened by a president who they perceive to be anti-Muslim himself."

    Media coverage biased against Muslims

    Another triggering dimension of anti-Islamic tendencies is the media's portrayal of Muslims as well as the bias against Muslims in covering attacks against them, the experts also say.

    "The word terrorism itself is hardly ever used when Muslims are the victims, only when they are the perpetrators," Professor Considine says.

    Todd Green claims that the word terrorism is now a "racialized" term and "It's applied almost exclusively to Muslims or people with a Muslim background."

    "Media outlets are hesitant to apply the word when Muslims are the target of attacks or when perpetrators are clearly not Muslim," Green says, adding that the media also describes some attacks as terrorism and others as not "based primarily on whether or not the perpetrator is a Muslim."

    According to a report released in 2016 by a Toronto-based consulting firm, the western mainstream media portrays a negative and biased perception of Islam and Muslims in their headlines. The report, titled "Are Muslims Collectively Responsible? A Sentiment Analysis of the New York Times," has used The New York Times as a case study, making comparisons between the usage of the words Islam/Muslims and other words, such as alcohol, cancer, Yankees, Christianity, and Republican.

    The report was prepared by using data from The New York Times from 1990 to 2014. It compared the headlines to "Identify the specific terms associated with Islam and Muslim, while simultaneously categorizing them as positive, negative or neutral." The report was prepared by making a comparative analysis with other key words, including Alcohol, Christianity, Cancer, Democrat, Republican and the New York Yankees.

    According to the findings of the report, 57 percent of the headlines using the words Islam/Muslim had negative meanings attached to them, while only 8 percent of the headlines were positive.

    'Americans do not know Muslims'

    In addition to political rhetoric against Muslims by Trump-like politicians and the media's biased coverage, Professor Considine argues that among the foundational reasons behind the escalation in anti-Muslim sentiment is that there is a lack of interaction with Muslims on a regular basis among non-Muslim Americans and the "lack of exposure to Muslims themselves is an obvious contributor to the increase in anti-Muslim sentiments." He also added that the "ignorance of Islam and American Muslims contributes to increasing Islamophobia."

    Professor Green, on the other hand, claims that Muslims are the new scapegoats, utilized by anti-Islamic proposals seeking far-right votes.

    "In the post 9/11 West, election cycles always lead to spikes in anti-Muslim prejudice and hatred as opportunistic politicians try to galvanize the electorate by proposing policies that target Muslim minority communities," Green said.

    "The political motive for generating anti-Muslim hostility cannot be underestimated. It's been quite effective, as we've seen with Trump's victory and the increasing influence of the far-right in Europe."

    Both Professor Green and Professor Considine share that interaction between communities based on understanding and education about each other will contribute to tackling Islamophobia, and ultimately benefit civil society in the U.S. and the West in general.

    In addition, Green highlighted that "The best way to tackle Islamophobia is to speak out against it. Unfortunately, too many politicians are either silent in the face of Islamophobia or muted in their responses to overt anti-Muslim sentiment or discrimination. If news had broken last week of an explosive device that detonated in a white Christian church, Trump and politicians on both sides of the aisle would have bent over backwards to condemn the attack."


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    Islamophobia is a Lucrative Industry

    In this edition of the Interview, Fair Observer talks to award-winning author Nathan Lean.

    The US-based Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life predicts that over the next two decades, Muslims will make up 26.4% of the world’s population of 8.3 billion people. This means that the worldwide Muslim population will have grown by 25% at the end of 2030.

    However, while the population of Muslims in the West is growing, a fear of Islam as an ideology is increasing. This has sometimes resulted in aggressive and discriminatory measures against Muslims, which compels some scholars and thinkers to warn against the rise of “Islamophobia.” The belittling and mocking of Islamic beliefs, the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad — often in popular culture and the media — indicate that Muslims face a serious challenge: How to continue living in Western societies peacefully, while being on the receiving end of hate crimes, the denigration of their faith and the restriction of social freedoms.

    Nathan Lean is an American scholar and writer, who has investigated Islamophobia extensively. He is the author of an award-winning book, The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims. He has published tens of articles about religious intolerance and discrimination against Muslims in the West for various media outlets, including The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and The Huffington Post.

    Lean believes that Islamophobia is a lucrative “industry” that wins skyrocketing salaries for those who promote and contribute to it.

    In this edition of the Interview, a new section for conversations with individuals from around the world, Fair Observer talks to Nathan Lean about why Islamophobia is rising in the West and how the fear of Muslims is being magnified by corporate media.

    Kourosh Ziabari: Islamophobia has been on the rise in the United States and Europe over recent decades. However, it appears that the tragic 9/11 attacks and the US government’s reaction to them intensified the anti-Islamic sentiments among many people in the West. Do you agree with the premise that the War on Terror eventually turned into a War on Muslims?

    Nathan Lean: An unfortunate consequence of the War on Terror was that it operated on the premise of a “foreign enemy, domestic threat.” While the Bush and Obama administrations went to great rhetorical lengths to avoid conflating the actions of extremists with the peaceful majority, the policies they put in place reinforced the notion that the religion of Islam, and by extension all Muslims, deserved special scrutiny.

    Thus, we see a plethora of examples of religious discrimination in the name of national security: The NYPD collaborated with the CIA to spy on Muslim communities in New York, in some cases designating entire mosques as “terrorist organizations”; the FBI paid informants to infiltrate mosques and entrap Muslim worshippers — in one California case, the informant was instructed to sleep with Muslim women; the State Department, in concert with federal immigration offices, delayed or denied visa, passport and citizenship applications based on nothing more than the applicant’s name or country of origin; Congress held a series of McCarthy-esque hearings on “radicalization” of American Muslim communities that produced no evidence such a thing was occurring; and more recently, the White House announced its “Countering Violent Extremism” program, which unlike its broad name, has a narrow focus on the Muslim American community.

    These initiatives, and others like them, reinforce the narrative that Muslims — by simple virtue of being Muslims — are a security threat and must be monitored. This fortifies the claim that terrorism is uniquely a religious problem and that Islam is particularly to blame. I’m hesitant to call this a “War on Muslims,” because that buys into the civilizational rhetoric of the terrorists. But what else buys into the terrorists’ apocalyptic worldview of “Islam vs. the West”? All of the disgraceful policies I’ve just mentioned.

    Ziabari: People like Geert Wilders or Pastor Terry Jones, who openly denigrated the Quran by “indicting” and burning it, and magazines such as Jyllands-Posten and Charlie Hebdo, which ridiculed Prophet Muhammad through their cartoons, conveniently used the pretext of free speech. Is it really fair to permit irreverence toward some 1.6 billion Muslims and what they consider to be sacred under the guise of freedom of speech?

    Lean: Charlie Hebdo and Jyllands-Posten had the “right” to publish their cartoons. But having that right does not mean that what they did was right. In Western societies, free speech is fast becoming a weapon. We don’t fight for it as much as we fight with it. Bludgeoning minority groups in the United States and Europe with the revered values of liberal democracy is not helpful. Is France better off because a cartoon of Muhammad angered two men who killed 12 people? Has French society gained something from that? Nearly a decade later, has Denmark realized an increasingly freer and more equal society because of its cartoon controversy? In the United States, have the anti-Muslim bus advertisements championed by the ridiculous hate group leader Pamela Geller advanced liberty for ordinary Americans?

    No. None of these things have contributed to healthier societies. All of these exercises in “free speech” communicate messages of prejudice. They target a marginalized and alienated group of people, and suggest that in order to be fully European or American, they must accept the defamation of their holy figures in public and cheer on the values that allow for such caricatures and representations to be shoved down their throats in the first place.

    Of course, there is a dirty bit of hypocrisy here, too: In France, anti-Semitic language — equally as inexcusable as Islamophobia — will likely land you in jail, as will any speech that the government selectively deems offensive. In 2008, actress Bridget Bardot was charged for the fifth time with speech that “incited racial hatred” toward Muslims. Three years later, fashion mogul John Galliano was convicted of uttering anti-Semitic comments in a cafè. In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, 54 people have been arrested for the ambiguous crime of “apology for terrorism.”

    Free speech is about as sacred to most people as are their religious values: When it works for them, they embrace it. When it doesn’t, they reject it.

    Ziabari: The number of Muslims in Europe and the United States is growing rapidly. Many of these Muslims are immigrants who move from developing or underdeveloped countries to the West in search of more prosperous, peaceful lives. However, they are often finding their daily lives more challenging as their civil liberties and social freedoms are being restricted. Are Western governments not responsible for the wellbeing and security of their Muslim minorities?

    Lean: European and American governments have an obligation to support the rights of everyone who calls those places home. Ultimately, though, government is a flimsy and often-pathetic institution. Its leaders campaign on value issues, but govern on special interests. A congressman from the deep American South would have little incentive to support policies that facilitate mosque construction or alleviate religious discrimination toward Muslims in the workplace. The same is true for various locales in Europe: An Austrian or Belgian politician caters to the desires of the group that elects them.

    This domestic political malaise is also tightly woven to the banner of foreign events — flashpoints of violence like ISIS [Islamic State] beheadings — that sow angst at home by fortifying nationalism and common identity. In Europe as in the United States, this may mean a coalescence of racial and religious groups whereby the interests of the majority (non-Muslims) prevail over the minority, Muslims.

    Ziabari: Statistics show that of all terrorist attacks that take place in Europe and the United States, only a small portion are carried out by Muslims. For instance, a Europol report showed that in 2010, of the 249 terrorist attacks on European soil, only three were perpetrated by Muslims. This is while a large number of politicians, law enforcement officials and media are inclined to repeatedly talk about the threat of Islamic fundamentalism and Islamist terrorism. What’s your take on that?

    Lean: It is true that the number of terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims in Europe is quite small, compared to other groups. In the United States, that is also the case. The University of North Carolina and the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security released a research report in 2014, indicating that since the attacks of 9/11, Muslim-linked terrorism has killed only 37 people in the United States. Nearly 200,000 people have been killed by gun violence in that same period of time.

    The problem, however, is that for most Europeans and Americans, Islam and Muslims are foreign. They exit “over there,” beyond “our” borders. As a result, it’s not the instances of domestic terrorism that we focus on as much as it is the instances of foreign terrorism: groups like ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, al-Qaeda and others. These groups do kill lots of people. Those images, which circulate on mainstream news media, are not balanced by depictions of non-violent Muslims. This results in a warped view of reality, and the real danger posed by these terrorist outfits is countered, in part, with domestic programs that are premised on the faulty notion that Muslim-led domestic terrorism is the biggest threat.

    Ziabari: Yes, as you say, the rise of the terrorist group ISIS has significantly contributed to the growth of anti-Islamic attitudes across the world, making those who believe the Islamic State is representative of Muslims more doubtful about the peaceful nature of Islam. How is it possible to make these skeptics believe that ISIS doesn’t have anything to do with Islam, and that all major Muslim scholars, both Sunni and Shiite, have denounced its atrocities and shameful killings of children, women and innocent men?

    Lean: What will cause people to understand that ISIS has nothing to do with the normative Islam practiced by the vast majority of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims? In a word: time.

    These types of prejudgments are not easily rectifiable. Fortunately, however, Muslims today have more tools at their disposal to push back against prejudice and persistent misinformation. While the Internet is a breeding group for Islamophobia, it’s also fast-becoming an outlet for viral memes and other expressions that offer nuanced views. Popular culture, too, is playing a major role. Wildly popular comedians and actors — most of them non-Muslims — are using their platforms to speak out against misinformation that targets Muslims. And as Muslim voices become more centrally featured in the world of popular culture and news — film, television, radio, etc — Americans and Europeans will become more comfortable with the idea that groups like ISIS are aberrations.

    Ziabari: In your internationally-acclaimed book, you called Islamophobia an industry. Do you think Islamophobia is really being promoted as an industry? Are there systematic efforts at work to propagate an illusory fear of Muslims, to make them the bogeyman and enemy who is responsible for all the evil that happens today?

    Lean: The Islamophobia “industry” is not like the automobile industry: There are no large companies, conglomerations, CEOs or assembly lines. But it is an industry in a more organic sense. A network exists — one that connects dozens of individuals and groups on several different continents. Major foundations with tens of millions of dollars (Donor’s Capital Fund, Scaife Foundation, Bradley Foundation, etc) donate money to think-tanks and pseudo-scholarly organizations and projects (Clarion Project, Middle East Forum, Horowitz Freedom Center, Center for Security Policy, etc) that reflect the donors’ ideological bent.

    These organizations and projects rely on a handful of self-proclaimed experts on Islam, the Middle East, terrorism, national security and related fields, [including] Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Zuhdi Jasser, Steven Emerson, Frank Gaffney, etc. These individuals manufacture narratives about Muslims and Islam — threat of sharia law in the United States, supposed influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, etc — that are disseminated to bloggers and activists such as Pamela Geller, Brigitte Gabriel [and] Walid Shoebat, who are paid hefty salaries to propagate them.

    These groups, which thrive on conservative politics and hard-line support for Israel, form part of an online echo chamber (Jihad Watch, Atlas Shrugs, BareNaked Islam, Gates of Vienna, Blazing Cat Fur, etc). Additionally, through their best-selling books, speaking tours, consulting fees and public events, the individuals in this “industry” draw incomes well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

    Ziabari: What role have corporate media companies played in stoking Islamophobia? Media organizations in the West normally take pride in their honesty, transparency and independence. Do they take orders from governments, or simply run their campaign of fear-mongering against Muslims on the basis of their editorial policies?

    Lean: The media plays a central role in stoking Islamophobia. While they don’t take cues from the government, they do advance stories that speak to the preferences of their respective audiences. The media’s problem on this issue is threefold.

    First, Muslim voices are largely absent. Most often, it’s non-Muslims talking about Muslims, rather than talking with them or featuring them as anchors, reporters, producers or others who can insert nuance, complexity and nurture a more sensitive conversation.

    Second, news media is a corporate venture, and money comes from advertisements, which come from high ratings. The way to keep raking in money is to keep raking in viewers. The way to keep raking in viewers is to keep them glued to the story.

    So, how do you keep viewers glued to a story when there is little information to report, for instance, after an explosion somewhere in the world? By asking leading questions that keep the story going. Rather than telling audiences to come back when more information is available, reporters often ask questions that suppose, infer, suggest, hypothesize, insinuate, wonder, imagine, conjecture, etc. They do things other than report the simple facts. An anchor might ask: “Do we have any information that this attack in Kansas was carried out by Islamic terrorists?” Another might wonder: “Could it be that al-Qaeda or ISIS affiliates in Europe were behind this slaughter?” Still, we might hear: “There are no indications at this early point that Muslim extremists were involved.” Suddenly, the possibility of Islam and Muslims being implicated exists, which perpetuates the idea that they are the usual suspects. And this sensational storyline — whether it is true or not — usually keeps people glued to their television sets.

    Lastly, in some cases, journalists breach objective protocol altogether and intentionally inflame. Fox News is the archetype, with figures like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly bloviating on air about “jihad” this, or “sharia” that. A 2011 study by ThinkProgress showed that Fox disproportionately deploys terms that reflect negative views of Muslims, inserting phrases like “radical Islam” into broadcasts significantly more than their competitors. It is also well-documented that Fox’s chief, Roger Ailes, drives news stories that confirm his paranoid worldview — one that is so teeming with violent Muslims [that] he once put an entire building on lockdown upon seeing a janitor who was wearing “Muslim garb.”

    Ziabari: And as the final question, let me refer to one of your previous statements. In a September 2012 interview with Al-Ahram Weekly, you said that Islamophobes and right-wing extremists in the United States make thousands of dollars each year through arousing controversies and spreading hatred against Muslims. How is this possible? Have you really come to the conclusion that Islamophobia is a lucrative industry for right-wingers and neoconservatives?

    Lean: Islamophobia is a lucrative industry. It’s a well-paying career for several people, who devote their life’s work to promoting narratives that sustain it.

    Take the boorish blogger Pamela Geller, for instance. Tax filings show that she draws an annual salary from her hate group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, of well over $200,000. She also draws income from book royalties, donations to her website and public speeches. Robert Spencer, a New Hampshire-based Catholic deacon who operates the online diary JihadWatch, receives nearly that amount each year from David Horowitz’s Freedom Center.

    Frank Gaffney, whose DC think tank was behind the unfounded claim that the Muslim Brotherhood have infiltrated the American government, drew a salary of just under $300,000 in 2011, while David Yerushalmi, who serves as an attorney for Geller and Spencer and who drafted the anti-sharia legislation, raked in more than $150,000, with much of it coming from consulting fees charged to Gaffney and legal fees paid by “lawfare” cases he filed on behalf of his clients.

    The Clarion Fund, which produced the anti-Muslim film Obsession, has received more than $18 million, while Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum has reported close to $6 million in income over the years. The Council on American Islamic Relations reports that between 2008 and 2011, 37 different groups earned a combined $120 million in total revenue.


    6 Rules Of Islamophobia In America

    The Huffington Post tracked Islamophobia in the U.S. throughout 2016. Here’s what we learned.

    After the 2015 terror attack in Paris, when Donald Trump and other GOP presidential candidates were ratcheting up their anti-Muslim political speech, we started a running list of Islamophobic acts. Sadly, in less than two months, the list became so long the webpage often wouldn’t load.

    This made us recognize the very real surge in anti-Muslim incidents sweeping the nation — a surge many wanted to deny was happening at all. (Think Fox News host Eric Bolling saying he “hadn’t heard of any” anti-Muslim hate crimes.)

    So we developed The Islamophobia Project, and committed to tracking anti-Muslim violence, vandalism, discrimination, public policy and political speech throughout 2016.

    The timing of the incidents we collected helped reveal patterns. We discovered that Trump supporters attacked, harassed, or plotted to kill Muslims at least 13 times during the election cycle, proving a potential link between Trump’s rhetoric and the actions of supporters. We documented apparent surges in anti-Muslim incidents during Muslim holidays.

    It’s now been a year, and our project is a sad and seemingly endless scroll through nearly 400 stories of Muslims in America being attacked, threatened, scapegoated, and profiled, seeing their places of worship vandalized and their faith denigrated.

    An email address we set up as a source for tips — islamophobia@huffingtonpost.com — generated hundreds of responses. Many people expressed gratitude for the project. One email led to a story about a Muslim Army veteran who found the word “terrorist” written on his locker. Mostly, we received anti-Muslim hate mail.

    Our reporters and editors were attacked on anti-Muslim hate group sites and trolled relentlessly on Twitter ― signs that the project was making waves.

    And, if you scroll through the tracker to March 10, 2016, you’ll read about the then-frontrunner in the Republican presidential primary saying: “I think Islam hates us.”

    So much cynicism and misinformation was packed into those five words. That Trump could say them and go on to get elected president of the United States underscores just how successfully Muslims have been designated the “other” in this country.

    When a group is an “other,” it’s easier to attack them, or to strip them of their civil rights. Our tracker documented this time and again.

    But in another sense, Islamophobia isn’t something that can ever be tracked comprehensively. There’s too much of it, and not every instance becomes a headline.

    It’s ubiquitous in the daily lives of Muslim Americans. It’s when a Muslim mom tells her daughter to maybe not wear the hijab today. It’s a Muslim father having to explain to his children that no, they’re citizens, they can’t be deported. It’s how almost every Muslim in a movie is depicted as a terrorist, and it’s why cable news channels only ask Muslims if they condemn terrorism.

    With the rise of Trump, the silver lining is that now, more people seem to be paying attention to anti-Muslim hate. Media organizations are covering the subject more robustly. The nonprofit investigative news organization ProPublica has launched its own project, called “Documenting Hate,” and The New York Times has started a weekly column on the subject called, “This Week in Hate.”

    This year, we won’t be updating the Islamophobia Tracker. The story is so much bigger than a dataset now. But we will continue telling stories of hate and extremism. And we will pay close attention to the new presidential administration that seems hell-bent on vilifying Muslims and persecuting them.

    Having tracked hate for a year, we’re able to see that people who disparaged Muslim Americans are mostly reading from the same old script. It’s possible even to look at our project as a kind of how-to guide for anti-Muslim bigotry ― a list of six “rules” of Islamophobia in America.

    And if we’re going to help protect our Muslim neighbors, coworkers, friends and family, these are six “rules” that desperately need to be dismantled and destroyed.

    Rule 1: Muslims are not American.
    Rule 2: All Muslims are terrorists.
    Rule 3: Pork is to Muslims as a crucifix or garlic is to vampires.
    Rule 4: All brown people are potentially Muslim, and are therefore potentially terrorists.
    Rule 5: Islam is not a religion, it’s a violent ideology.
    Rule 6: There’s a secret Muslim plot to take over and/or destroy the United States and/or Western civilization from within.



    We're tracking Islamophobic incidents across the U.S., because the only way to stop hate is to confront it

    Islamophobia is real.

    And it's not going anywhere.

    After last year's terror attacks in Paris and mass shooting in San Bernardino, California -- and amidst a surge in anti-Muslim rhetoric from U.S. politicians -- reports about Muslims in America facing violence, harassment, intimidation and bigotry have become omnipresent. Many Muslims say Islamophobia is worse now than it's ever been -- even worse than it was after 9/11.

    It might be impossible to create a comprehensive list of discriminatory acts against American Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim, but The Huffington Post will document this deplorable wave of hate for all of 2016 using news reports and firsthand accounts. The breadth and severity of Islamophobia in America can no longer go unnoticed. Enough is enough.

    We want to hear from you. Email us to report an anti-Muslim act for the tracker. Or better yet, tell us about those who have overcome, battled or survived Islamophobia for a possible story:

    Reports @ http://testkitchen.huffingtonpost.co...bia/#december/

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    How US groups spread hate via the Islamophobia industry


    Ahead of the nationwide 'March Against Sharia', Al Jazeera speaks to author Nathan Lean about the Islamophobia industry.

    Anti-Muslim marches are slated to take place in dozens of cities across the United States on Saturday, with several counter-protests expected.

    ACT for America, the country's largest grassroots anti-Muslim group described by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as an "extremist group", called for the nationwide "March Against Sharia".

    In a statement on ACT for America's website, the group claims that Sharia - or Islamic law - runs contrary to human rights and the US Constitution.

    Yet rights groups and watchdogs, among them the SPLC and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), have criticised the marches as Islamophobic.

    In a report published last year, CAIR examined what it calls the "Islamophobia industry".

    Between 2008 and 2013, the report found, ACT for America was one of 33 anti-Muslim groups that had access to more than $204m in revenue and helped push for legislation targeting Muslims.

    Brigitte Gabriel, the group's founder, is a Lebanese-American who has in the past accused the Muslim Brotherhood political movement of conspiring to conquer the US. She has also referred to Arabs as "barbarians" and claimed they have "no soul".

    Gabriel, a vocal supporter of right-wing President Donald Trump, claims ACT for America has more than 500,000 members.

    Members of the alt-right - a loosely knit movement that includes white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other far-right groups - have announced their intention to participate in many of the marches.

    Al Jazeera spoke to Nathan Lean, author of The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims, about ACT for America and the prevalence of Islamophobic sentiment in the US.

    Al Jazeera:
    The SPLC describes ACT for America as the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in the country, while CAIR classifies it as an "inner core group" within the Islamophobia industry. How influential is ACT for America within this network?

    Nathan Lean:
    ACT for America is, perhaps, the most influential anti-Muslim hate group in the country today. Their significance in the Islamophobia industry has waxed and waned over the years.

    However, with the slow rise of populist and nationalist sentiment that has ignited the birther movement, anti-immigration narratives and a groundswell of racist rhetoric targeting minorities, they have grown in size and scope.

    (The birther movement subscribes to the conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama was not born in the US.)

    Like most of the "organisations" in this network of bigots, they exist in a rather loose fashion, formally speaking, but have used the Internet to establish contacts and so-called "chapters" all across the country.

    Al Jazeera: How would you describe the support bases for organisations such as ACT for America? What kind of impact do they have on the ground?

    Lean: These bases of support, which often meet in people's living rooms or at local coffee shops, have served to strong-arm local politicians, and [have] sown an anti-Muslim ideology amongst anxious [mothers and fathers] in the heartland.

    Upon hearing the screeches of ACT's leader, Brigitte Gabriel, these groups come to genuinely believe that Sharia and the Muslim Brotherhood are lurking in every shadow.

    That sense of fear has not only led to the adoption of legislation that discriminates against Muslims but has, in my opinion, spurred a smattering of hate crimes and other acts of violence and intimidation online and in the public that create a very dangerous situation for American Muslims.

    Al Jazeera:
    How has anti-Muslim discrimination evolved in recent years?

    Today we are witnessing a very strange thing. Islamophobic groups like ACT for America are not only joining forces with people and factions of the so-called alt-right, but they are also bringing into their fold noxious voices on the left that paint themselves as liberals [while espousing] a blinkered and prejudiced world view when it comes to Islam and Muslims.

    The issue of "free speech" is central to this new union.

    It has allowed for people like the paedophile-defending blowhard Milo Yiannopoulos, the blogger-cum-anti-Muslim-hate-monger Pamela Geller and a coterie of rabid 'New Atheists' who present themselves as progressive princes and princesses to join forces in the name of fighting Islam.

    In other words, as much as Islamophobia has been about the far-right in recent years, that's no longer the case.

    Liberals who have long buried their animosity towards [Islam], or towards religion in general, are quickly cosying up to a group of right-wing nuts who make it their business to attack the civil rights and liberties of Muslims, and smear their religion with half-truths, lies, and intentionally slanderous accusations.

    Al Jazeera: How should we understand the relationship between the Islamophobia industry and the uptick in anti-Muslim legislation and hate crimes?

    Lean: There is a mutual relationship between all of these things. If anxieties about Muslims - or even blatant prejudices about them - did not exist organically, to some degree, the ground would not be very fertile for anti-Muslim agitators of the Islamophobia industry.

    But, of course, the argument can easily be made that the Islamophobia industry is responsible for the images, narratives, memes, tropes, axioms and even policies that engender a climate of fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims. People are not born prejudiced.

    As the South Pacific song goes: "You've got to be taught to hate and fear, it's got to be drummed in your dear little ear". Some of the people doing that drumming today are those who comprise the Islamophobia industry.
    It's time we stop listening to them.


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    Funding Islamophobia: $206m went to promoting 'hatred' of American Muslims

    Council on American-Islamic Relations and University of California Berkeley report names 74 groups they say contributed to Islamophobia in the US

    Inciting hate toward American Muslims and Islam has become a multimillion-dollar business, according to a report released on Monday.

    Released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair) and University of California Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender, the report names 74 groups it says contribute in some way to Islamophobia in the US. Of those groups, it says, the primary purpose of 33 “is to promote prejudice against, or hatred of, Islam and Muslims”.

    The core group, which includes the Abstraction Fund, Clarion Project, David Horowitz Freedom Center, Middle East Forum, American Freedom Law Center, Center for Security Policy, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Jihad Watch and Act! for America, had access to almost $206m of funding between 2008 and 2013, the report said.

    Corey Saylor, author of the report and director of Cair’s department to monitor and combat Islamophobia, said: “The hate that these groups are funding and inciting is having real consequences like attacks on mosques all over the country and new laws discriminating against Muslims in America.”

    Saylor added that the Washington-based Center for Security Policy and Act! for America have the most impact, because they are trying to push their anti-Muslim rhetoric beyond their formerly fringe following.

    Two groups on the list, the Center for Security Policy and the David Horowitz Freedom Center, have given awards of recognition to Jeff Sessions, a US senator from Alabama who chairs Trump’s national security advisory committee and is a possible vice-presidential pick.

    On Monday, the headline on the David Horowitz Freedom Center website was “Muslim privilege killed 49 people in Orlando”, a reference to the mass shooting on 12 June in an Orlando LGBT nightclub by Omar Mateen, a Muslim American from Port St Lucie, Florida.

    Two other Trump foreign policy advisers have ties to groups named in the Cair-UCB report. The Center for Security Policy lists Joseph Schmitz as a senior fellow; Walid Phares reportedly served on the board of Act! for America.

    The Guardian contacted Brigitte Gabriel, the founder of Act! for America, and the Center for Security Policy, which is led by Frank Gaffney, who advised Ted Cruz on national security during the Texas senator’s presidential campaign. Neither group responded immediately.

    The Trump campaign and Sessions’ Senate office also did not respond to requests for comment.

    Act! for America Education runs the Thin Blue Line Project, a password-protected database of information about Muslim communities in the US. According to the group’s website, the project “provides educational and informational content about issues relating to national security and terrorism and how the call to Jihad is accelerating homegrown terrorism”.

    In a 2 June article, Stephen Piggott of the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that the Thin Blue Line Project’s key component is a “Radicalization Map Locator … which lists the addresses of every Muslim Student Association (MSA) in the country as well as a number of mosques and Islamic institutions – all listed as suspected national security concerns”.

    The Cair-UCB report also tracks anti-Islam bills, which it says have become law in 10 states, and 78 recorded incidents in 2015 in which mosques were targeted. Saylor said this was the highest yearly number of attacks on mosques since Cair started tracking in 2009.


  7. #27
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    Major report on Islamophobia calls for independent inquiry into Prevent

    A major new report on Islamophobia has called for an independent inquiry into the government’s controversial Prevent counter-terrorism strategy, which is widely perceived in the Muslim community as targeting Muslims.

    Report “Islamophobia: Still a challenge for us all” by the Runnymede Trust was launched in Parliament on Tuesday.

    The report said: “There is substantial evidence that among the government’s four counter-terrorism strands, the current Prevent policy is discriminatory, disproportionate and counterproductive.

    “Given the mounting evidence, the independent review must answer whether the Prevent strategy should be withdrawn and how to better separate the state’s security apparatus from wider safeguarding or social policy strategies.”

    The report also urged the media to tackle inaccurate and discriminatory reporting on Muslims. It said a press regulator should investigate the prevalence of Islamophobia, racism and hatred espoused in the media.

    “Media regulators should intervene more proactively in cases of allegedly discriminatory reporting, and in so doing reflect the spirit of equalities legislation, as recommended by the Leveson Inquiry,” the report stated. “Where inaccurate or misleading content is published, corrections or retractions should be given equal prominence, and not relegated to a small box in an inconspicuous position…

    “The press and the wider media should publish data on the ethnic and class diversity of their journalists, editors and senior management, and establish targets in line with local working-age populations.The government should establish a group of media practitioners, and representatives from the press, local authorities and race equality NGOs, to initiate new strategies to combat racial prejudice in the media and negative public perceptions of minority ethnic groups. All politicians should show greater accountability for the impact on race relations of negative media coverage and misrepresentation of minority ethnic and religious groups.”

    The report also called for:

    – The government to adopt a definition of Islamophobia as anti-Muslim racism.

    – Public services and private and charity sector employers to collect more data on Muslims.
    – The government to reintroduce a target to reduce child poverty, and develop a wider anti-poverty strategy.
    – Employers and employment support organisations to address barriers to equal labour market participation.
    – Local mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners to ensure appropriate resources are allocated to tackling hate crime effectively at a local level.

    Commenting on the report, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi said Islamophobia is Britain’s “latest bigotry blind spot.”

    She said: “In 2011, I said that Islamophobia had passed the dinner-table test. I was speaking about those who display their bigotry overtly, but also those who do so more subtly in the most respectable of settings – middle-class dinner tables. It is this more covert form of Islamophobia, couched in intellectual arguments and espoused by think tanks, commentators and even politicians, that I have spent the last decade trying to reason with…

    “Of all the challenges to a cohesive Britain at ease with its Muslims, the hostile press environment is the most worrying. The daily poisoning of the discourse around British Muslims has intensified, and shapes our collective understanding of the challenges we face. It informs dialogue across the country, from Parliament to the local pub. The fact that as a country we have allowed this scourge of Islamophobia to grow should worry us all.”


  8. #28
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    Manufacturing the MUSL IM MENACE: Private Firm s, Public Servants, & the Threat to Rights and Security
    Thom Cincotta's heavily documented critical study uncovers and exposes the dangers to national security posed by a group of private security firms operating outside officially accredited systems. These firms offer anti-terrorism training programs , driven by an ideological agenda that trade facts for fiction and promote Islamophobic conspiracy theories that demonize mainstream Isla m and Muslim communities.

    Report: Islamophobia is a multimillion-dollar industry
    More than $200m was spent towards promoting "fear and hatred" of Muslims in the United States by various organisations between 2008 and 2013, according to a fresh joint report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the University of California, Berkeley.

    Fear, Inc. - The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America
    This in-depth investigation conducted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund reveals not a vast right-wing conspiracy behind the rise of Islamophobia in our nation but rather a small, tightly net-worked group of misinformation experts guiding an effort that reaches millions of Americans through effective advocates, media partners, and grassroots organizing. This spreading of hate and misinformation primarily starts with five key people and their organizations, which are sustained by funding from a clutch of key foundations.

    Fear Inc. - Explore the $57 million network fueling Islamophobia in the United States
    Interactive website - https://islamophobianetwork.com/

    Islamophobia works without Muslims and tells us more about the anti-Muslim racists than it tells us about Islam and Muslims, can best be seen in the eastern region of Europe. In countries like Hungary, Finland, Lithuania, or Latvia, where only a small number of Muslims live, Islamophobia functions as a successful means to mobilise people. People not only greatly overestimate the country's Muslim population but, although Muslims have not committed any violent acts in most countries in the name of Islam, they are still often deemed violent and are considered to be terrorists.

    Islamophobia: Still a challenge for us all
    Independent inquiry into the government’s controversial Prevent counter-terrorism strategy showed it to be discriminatory, disproportionate and counterproductive. Report also urged media to tackle inaccurate and discriminatory reporting on Muslims.

    All Terrorists are Muslims…Except the 94% that Aren’t

    • Study: Threat of Muslim-American terrorism in U.S. exaggerated
    • Europol report: All terrorists are Muslims…Except the 99.6% that aren’t
    • RAND report: Threat of homegrown jihadism exaggerated, Zero civilians in U.S. killed since 9/11


    Inventing Terrorists – Lawfare of Premeptive Presecution
    This study shows that there have been remarkably few actual terrorism threats to this country in the last decade. The vast majority of arrests in the war on terror have consisted of:
    • the FBI foiling its own entrapment plots; or
    • the government arresting people on material support for terrorism charges that effectively criminalize innocent conduct, such as charitable giving and management, free speech, free association, peace - making, and social hospitality; or
    • inflation of minor or technical incidents into terrorism events, such as immigration application inaccuracies, old weapons charges, or inaccurate statements to governmental officials The study shows that the war on terror has been largely a charade designed to make the American public believe that a terrorist army is loose in the U.S., when the truth is that most of the people convicted of terrorism - related crimes posed no danger to the U.S. and were entrapped by a preventive strategy known as preemptive prosecution.
    Study: http://www.projectsalam.org/Inventin...ists-study.pdf

    New Report Reveals Over Half Of Hate Crimes In US Go Unreported
    Hate crimes were most often not reported because they were handled some other way, the report said. But people also did not come forward because they didn’t feel it was important or that police would help, according to the report.
    Report: http://www.mintpressnews.com/report-...ported/229408/

    Study: Muslim job candidates may face discrimination in Republican states
    Most Republican states in the country, employers may be less likely to interview job candidates whose social networking profiles indicate that the applicants are Muslim.
    Study: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank...blican-states/

    Muslims Are Not Terrorists: A Factual Look at Terrorism and Islam

    • Non-Muslims make up the majority of terrorists in the United States
    • Non-Muslims make up the majority of terrorists in Europe
    • Even if all terrorist attacks were carried out by Muslims, you still could not associate terrorism with Islam
    • If all Muslims are terrorists, then all Muslims are peacemakers
    • If you are scared of Muslims then you should also be scared of household furniture and toddlers


  9. #29
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    The Futility of The Anti-Islamic Movement

    The anti-Islamic movement is destined for failure


    It is becoming increasingly obvious that there is a powerful anti-Islām narrative being played in the media[1]. I am not playing the victim card, the evidence is obvious. The Lands of Free Speech and Expression, where there are no limits on free speech and expression provided you are making a derogatory statement about Islām or Muslims, are the prime culprits. I can hear the anti-Muslim brigade inhale a collective breath in preparation for a barrage of free speech rhetoric, so I will just point at a poignant example in the recent Charlie Hebdo Killings. The newspaper itself restricted its speech on any anti-Semitic messages[2], but the doors were flung fully open when demonizing Muslim immigrants or attempting to insult the most beloved figure to any Muslim. Also, as we are on the topic of France, freedom of expression is a way of life in France, provided you do not choose to express your freedom by wearing a hijāb[3].

    However, my point here is actually far from demonstrating the disparity in the lack of freedom of expression. In fact, the point here is that this is all natural. The ever-rising tide of Islamophobic rhetoric is not, as most news outlets will lead you to believe, because of the rising tide of terrorism that takes place, supposedly in the name of Islām. The first point to make here is that of the number of people dying in the world today because of unnatural causes, Muslims are directly responsible for less than 1%[4]. The other point to make, is the increasing number of misguided Jihād campaigns are in fact a direct result of the so-called “war on terror”. Does this sound counter-intuitive? Was the war on terror not designed to curb the rising number of terrorist attacks taking place against the Western power houses? Or was this war on terror in fact an ideological centerpiece designed to initiate a war on ideology[5]? After all, as the Israelis can testify, massacring people to teach them a lesson generation after generation only leads to more people willing to carry on the fight. But staining an ideology means,supposedly, that there are far fewer people willing to embrace that ideology due to the associated stigma. Of course we, as Muslims, know that despite the increasing efforts to paint Islām as some form of backward religion, Allāh says in the Qur’ān:

    “And they plot and they plan and Allah is the best of planners.”
    (Quran 8:30)

    This is not the first time that Islām has been subjugated to a smear campaign. At the time of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), despite his presence and the Quraish’s knowledge of his good character, there was also a heavy campaign against the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). A man came to Makkah by the name of Dumad Al-Azdi. He was a specialist in incantation and, after hearing the Quraish tell people to avoid Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) he decided that he would go and practice his craft on him. After a brief conversation this man was lead to Islām.

    Also, during the 11th year of Prophethood, during the Ḥajj season, the Makkans announced a “party line” to dissuade any pilgrims from approaching the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). They issued an anti-Islām media campaign very similar to that of the modern day. It is interesting to note that the Prophet met the Yathrib delegation during the Ḥajj season despite the efforts of the smear campaign.

    These are all signs of one thing. The detractors and enemies of Islām only engage in such diabolical ideological warfare when they feel threatened. Islām is rising, there is no question about this. Despite the daily bombardment by anti-Islām detractors, Islām is gaining momentum. The misguided youth who are traveling to Syria and Iraq to join the ISIS movement are a clear example of this. These poor youth are powerfully misled into thinking that this is the way to promote Islām. Those that deceive them have their own reckoning with Allāh and those who encourage them are themselves foolish. These youth, are taking the greatest risk with their hereafter. They have let themselves believe, without taking the due diligence to gather a scholarly consensus, that joining a war effort is the path to success. But, despite their misdirected drive, the truth about these youth, is that they have an energy that they wish to support Islām with, but they need direction.

    The fact that they have been misguided and misled is very unfortunate, but it remains that there is a growing energy amidst the Muslim community and a determination. In truth this lack of direction amongst energetic Muslim youth is actually a deep-rooted problem. Perhaps local Muslim scholars and local Masājid should spend more time engaging the local community and learning to relate to the environment they are living in (learning English might be a good start) and less time working as backbenchers to the government by promoting the misguided works of Eric Pickles and his efforts to divert attention away from the real causes of “terrorism”[6].

    If you were to ask any middle aged Egyptian about the state of Egypt during the reign of Gamal Abdel Nasser they will paint a vivid picture of a distinct lack of Islām. This is perhaps best demonstrated through an address by Abdel Nasser himself, where in his speech he pokes fun at a cleric who suggested that all women should wear hijāb[7], the speech is well-received and the crowd laugh along. Now, a few decades later, the proportion of women wearing a scarf on the streets of Egypt is higher than those not wearing a scarf. This is just one sign, a distinct sign, but there are others. Turkey’s Ata Turk was the architect of the secularization of the state of Turkey. A few decades on, and Turkey has the only Muslim leader that Muslims across the world look to with any pride. We are by no means anywhere near the end of our journey, but in a world where all is presented as a depressing montage of doom and gloom for Muslims, it is worth recognizing that the Anti-Islamic Movement is only in response to fear generated by a growing Islamic conscience.

    The cycle of the rise and fall of Islamic nations is directly correlated with the rise and fall of Islamic consciousness. The sponsor of Islām is neither a great military leader like Salahuddin, nor the masses going out in protest against corrupt governments. The sponsor and benefactor is Allāh. Allāh will promote his religion regardless of whether you or I as individuals step up and be counted. If we are not prepared to put ourselves at risk, if we are not even prepared to make a slight shift away from our comfort zones then there will be others who will. We should feel secure knowing that the Religion of Allāh will be successful. Our worry should be that on the day when there is no shade but the shade of Allāh, and we stand before Him and are taken to account; we are asked, the Religion of Islām needed flag bearers and promoters. Where were you? What were you doing?

    Imagine if you were not involved in the Islamic Movements’ success, imagine if you took a back seat and assumed an attitude of arm chair support. Your position on that day will not please you. Remember also the reward of the early Muslims compared to the Muslims after the conquest of Makkah. Remember also the reverence that the companions of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) held, particularly the participants of Badr and Uhud. The reward when the Islamic community is comparatively weak is far greater then when the community has gained momentum.

    In short, the Islamic momentum is gaining speed, are you pushing or watching?



    [1] http://www.islamophobiawatch.co.uk
    [2] http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/01...ut-free-speech
    [3] http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...ack-on-freedom
    [4] http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/11/upd...cks-by-muslims
    [5] http://www.islam21c.com/politics/ton...g-war-on-islam
    [6] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...l-9987249.html
    [7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxKn6gBL-e8

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    The belief system of the Islamophobes

    The discourse over Muslims today resembles the manner in which Jews were vilified around a century ago.

    by Arun Kundnani - 09 Oct 2015

    Since the 1970s, Muslims have repeatedly been stereotyped in the US as dangerous terrorists. But, over the last six years, a new fear of Muslims has gradually entered the conservative mainstream: that Muslims are taking over the United States and imposing "sharia law".

    In 2011, Republican Congressman Allen West called Islam a "fifth column" that had infiltrated US institutions. In a 2010 speech in Washington, Newt Gingrich described sharia as "a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States".

    Another candidate, Herman Cain, condemned what he called the "attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government", and said he would introduce a special loyalty test for Muslims wanting to serve in his administration. Another US Representative, Michele Bachmann, declared that sharia "must be resisted across the United States" and demanded national security officials investigate Muslim Brotherhood infiltration into the federal government.

    Such fears are paranoid and lack any basis in reality. No significant Muslim organization has called for sharia in the United States. For most devout Muslims in the US, sharia is a personal, moral code rather than a political program.

    Imminent Islamic takeover

    Nevertheless, many conservatives view an imminent Islamic takeover as a real danger. The current leaders in the 2016 Republican presidential field are playing on that fear. Donald Trump and Ben Carson have both made anti-Muslim comments in the last two weeks.

    On NBC's Meet The Press show broadcast earlier this month, retired neurosurgeon Carson said: "I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that."

    A few days earlier, during a question and answer session at a New Hampshire campaign rally, a Trump supporter said: "We have a problem in this country. It's called Muslims."

    Trump nodded in response.

    A recent poll in Iowa found only around half of Republicans thought Islam should be legal in the United States.Forty-three percent of Republicans believe Obama is Muslim, according to a CNN poll. These attitudes are not simply a spontaneous reaction to 9/11. After all, this kind of rhetoric only really got going several years later. Nor are they a reaction to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

    Beyond the headlines lies an organized and well-funded propaganda campaign. According to an investigation by the Center for American Progress, seven conservative foundations spent over $40m on anti-Muslim propaganda between 2001 and 2009. Others estimate the amount spent is over $100m.

    Among the groups funded is Brigitte Gabriel's ACT! For America, which has 170,000 members and models itself on the highly successful National Rifle Association.

    The aim of this propaganda is to popularize an anti-Muslim version of the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that began to circulate a century ago. Like anti-Semitism, Islamophobia is not only about hatred. It is also an ideology that seeks to connect with people's social, economic, and political frustrations and advocate a course of action, even if the explanation and the action are based on falsehoods.

    Secret sharia

    Clearly, no national problems can plausibly be blamed on Islam. To have any effect, Islamophobic ideology needs a conspiracy theory that says the US is, despite appearances, secretly run by Muslims. Muslims can then be portrayed as a hidden force preventing American renewal. The message is a convenient one for the US ruling elite: don't blame the people who actually run the US, just smell the sharia.

    To the Islamophobe, the US government is not what it seems. The Muslim Brotherhood has placed a Muslim in the White House and is implementing its secret sharia plan. It begins with school textbooks in Texas trying to present Islam in a positive light, Campbell's bringing out a halal version of its iconic soups, or the Obama White House refusing to use the phrase "Islamic terrorism".

    Then, one day, Americans will wake up to an Islamic government. Europe, with its larger Muslim population, has already succumbed: It is now Eurabia, an Arab colony; London has already become Londonistan.

    A century ago, America's Jews were likewise seen as infiltrators threatening Western values. Central to US anti-Semitic ideology was also a conspiracy theory that presented Jews as secretly pulling the strings of international finance and world revolution. Henry Ford, for example, used the pages of his Dearborn Independent newspaper to propagandize such views in the 1920s.

    The modern discourse over Muslims today resembles the manner in which Jews were talked about then. In both cases, a religious minority is seen as a dangerous underclass destroying society from below with their alien values, as well as a hidden force secretly controlling the world from above, through their infiltration of centers of power.

    American Jews were eventually able to overcome the worst anti-Semitism of the 20th century and establish security and equality in the US. Will Muslims be able to do the same? Unfortunately, history never repeats itself in the same way. The key difference is that, today, widespread anti-Muslim fears among the public provide a justifying pretext for a global US empire that did not exist in the 1920s. Islamophobia is not just an irrational fear, but a belief system that is useful to sections of power.

    Opposing anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and all of their accompanying rhetoric are not just about defending the civil rights of Muslims in the US. It is also about removing one of the ideological supports of US imperialism.


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