Anti Muslim Rhetoric Reaching a Dangerous Level
by Sheila Musaji
After the Fort Hood Tragedy, every national Muslim organization and most local organizations condemned the actions of Maj. Hasan without qualification. When a Yemen based cleric, Anwar al Awlaki praised the shooting, they also repudiated al Awlaki’s comments. Many Muslims have spoken up condemning this tragedy, as they have previously spoken up against all forms of extremism and terrorism.
The President of the United States, top military Generals, and the Secretary of the Homeland Security Dept. have all appealed for reason and asked people not to turn this into blaming Islam or all Muslims.
However, what passes for analysis are items like the following:
Tunku Varadarajan in an article “Going Muslim” in Forbes suggests that the term in his title “would describe the turn of events where a seemingly integrated Muslim-American—a friendly donut vendor in New York, say, or an officer in the U.S. Army at Fort Hood—discards his apparent integration into American society and elects to vindicate his religion in an act of messianic violence against his fellow Americans. This would appear to be what happened in the case of Maj. Hasan.”
A few other passages from his article follow:
“The difference between “going postal,” in the conventional sense, and “going Muslim,” in the sense that I suggest, is that there would not necessarily be a psychological “snapping” point in the case of the imminently violent Muslim; instead, there could be a calculated discarding of camouflage—the camouflage of integration—in an act of revelatory catharsis.”
“Muslims may be more extreme because their religion is founded on bellicose conquest, a contempt for infidels and an obligation for piety that is more extensive than in other schemes.” Muslims are the most difficult “incomers” in the ongoing integration challenge, which America has always handled with pride—and a kind of swagger.”
“Have we reached that point of breakdown in trust? Not yet, I think, and not by some distance; but a few more murderous incidents of the Maj. Hasan variety—a few more shouts of “Allahu Akbar” as Americans are shot dead—will push many Americans on to a dangerous cusp.”
Notice the “seemingly integrated”, “apparent integration”, “Muslims are the most difficult ‘incomers’”. Notice his degrading description of the entire religion of Islam, not just the actions of a particular Muslim. This is a man who can barely control his absolute contempt, and who sounds as if he would be happy for a “dangerous cusp” to be reached. It is also a man who looks at only one aspect of the perpetrator of this crime - his religion. What about his nationality, the fact that he is a military person, that he attended Virginia Tech? What about his mental state? And, if his religion is the only explanation of the crime, does the religion also explain all of those Muslims who are law abiding and productive citizens? Haroon Moghul discusses this article at length.
Of course, everyone knows that most terrorists are Muslims, and there are no Christian and no Jewish terrorists (or terrorists of any other religious stripe). Everyone also knows that Muslims are not equivalent to real Americans, that they are the enemy within, that good Muslims can’t be good Americans, that they are all militant, that Islam is “of the devil”, and an “evil encroaching on the United States”, and this is a Christian nation, which everyone knows the Muslims are trying to take over, starting with getting an Eid stamp which is the first step towards shariah law. Everyone knows that Muslims are given a pass by the elite media. It’s “us versus them”. The problem is that what “everyone knows” is wrong.
Not to be outdone, in a broadcast of the 700 Club Monday night, the Rev. Pat Robertson, a Christian Minister said:
“Islam is a violent—I was going to say religion—but it’s not a religion. It’s a political system. It’s a violent political system bent on the overthrow of governments of the world and world domination.” And, he added: “They talk about infidels and all this. But the truth is, that’s what the game is. You’re dealing with not a religion. You’re dealing with a political system. And I think you should treat it as such and treat it’s adherents as such. As we would members of the Communist party and members of some Fascist group.”
His form of Christian brotherly love is only too familiar to Muslims, at least he’s not prayingimprecatory prayers against us (or like another Christian minister calling for our internment), although the Islamic Fascist connection is getting tiresome.
Dave Gaubatz, the author of Muslim Mafia had a posting on the Family Security Matters site: “Politicians, Muslims, and law enforcement are concerned about a ‘backlash’ against Muslims. Now is the time for a professional and legal backlash against the Muslim community and their leaders.”
Media Matters reports that: “Right-wing media figures have used the shooting at Fort Hood as an excuse to attack Islam and American Muslims in particular, with Debbie Schlussel, for example, urging readers to think of the alleged shooter “whenever you hear about how Muslims serve their country in the U.S. military.” ... Fox News host Brian Kilmeade suggesting the implementation of “special debriefings” for Muslim American soldiers to prevent future attacks.” The same articles notes some other comments: “Pamela Geller - Shooter is in the “pious Muslim category,” has “such Islamic bravery.” Michelle Malkin - links shooter to other “Muslim Soldiers with Attitude.”
Sean Hannity And Guests Baselessly Theorize That Muslims Are More Radical Than “People Are Willing To Say Publicly”. Sadly, one of these guests, Father Jonathan Morris appears to be a Catholic priest.
Lt. Col. Ralph Peters shared his forthright analysis of what threatens American society on Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor Tuesday evening: “Its clear that the problem is Islam.” And, according to the Huffington Post, this is the same Ralph Peters who in “His new novel, The War After Armageddon, recounts how a revitalized Christianized United States government dispatches a reorganized National Guard called the “Military Order of the Brothers in Christ” to crusade against Muslims who have attacked the United States and destroyed Israel and Europe.”
Rush Limbaugh is furious at President Obama because he thinks he doesn’t understand Islam, Rush said: “He also used the term “extremists” to talk about people who act as Nidal Hasan did. They are not extremists. They are mainstream in their sect of Islam. They are mainstream. There are hundreds of millions of them. They are not extremists.
Even Cal Thomas has jumped on the bandwagon:
“The federal government at all levels has hired and promoted Muslims to influential positions. It requires “sensitivity training” for federal employees, including those who work at the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. Last week, the House Judiciary Committee, dominated by liberal Democrats, defied the White House and removed from the USA Patriot Act a tool for tracking non-U.S. citizens in anti-terrorism investigations. As our enemies grow stronger and more emboldened, they see us becoming weaker and less committed.”
“No amount of evidence - from Koran verses urging the killing of “infidels” to cries of “God is great,” reportedly shouted by the alleged Ft. Hood shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan - will cure our self-deception. Sun Tzu famously wrote that all war is deception. But it takes two to deceive, and the United States is behaving like a willing partner.”
And most strangely after commenting on some legitimate questions about Maj. Hasan’s actions prior to the Fort Hood shooting Mr. Thomas added “Shouldn’t that, coupled with his statements about “the aggressor” and other actions - including his preference for Muslim clothing - have alerted someone in authority that he might be a time bomb waiting to go off?”
Muslim clothing as an indicator of extremism or danger to others? Would Orthodox Jews or religious Sikhs, or any other religious group wearing religious clothing pose the same concerns.
He ended his article with: “It is irrelevant that some have put the number of radicalized Muslims worldwide at 10 percent. Even if that figure is accurate, one hundred million jihadists can cause a lot of damage, as they plot the destruction of Western democracies. Other wars have been won with far fewer soldiers and far fewer dupes.”
The American Family Association has called for a ban on Muslims in the military and has posted an article on its website by the group’s Director of Issues Analysis, Bryan Fischer. Mr. Fischer argues that the tragedy at Ft. Hood is the sign to start the ban. “This is not Islamophobia, it is Islamo-realism,” Fischer said. What are Fischer’s reasons? He said: ”“The reason is simple: the more devout a Muslim is, the more of a threat he is to national security. Devout Muslims, who accept the teachings of the Prophet [Muhammad] as divinely inspired, believe it is their duty to kill infidels.”
I don’t believe that and don’t know any Muslim that does. Is he saying that every single devout Muslim believes the opposite of what the Qur’an clearly teaches?
Oklahoma freelance writer Timothy Rollins also said that Muslims should be kicked out of the armed forces. In a recent column he stated, “What [the Fort Hood] attack does is further strengthen the case for the honorable discharge of all Muslims from the United States Armed Forces, regardless of the degree to which they may adhere to their faith.” He also repeats the lie that almost all terrorists have been Muslims.
Perhaps they forget how many crescents are among the crosses at Arlington, how many Muslim soldiers fought with the allies WWI and WWII and how many of these soldiers are buried in Europe, how many Muslims and Arabs serve in the U.S. military, and have made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan - e.g. U. S. Army Corporal Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan: killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq, U.S. Army Specialist Rasheed Sahib: accidently shot to death by a fellow soldier in Iraq, U.S. Army Major James Ahearn: killed by a bomb in Iraq, Army Captain Humayun Khan, who lured a suicide car bomb away from the men in his charge, saving their lives but giving up his own, Army Spc. Rasheed Sahib, an American Muslim from Guyana, Army Spc. Omead Razani, a son of Iranian immigrants, Marine Staff Sgt. Kendall Damon Waters-Bey, who was killed in a helicopter crash, and sadly many more. Perhaps they think it is a good thing that the graves of 500 Muslim soldiers who died in WWI were defaced in a French veterans cemetery. There are about 3,500 Muslims in the military, Muslims and Arabs both maybe 10,000. Will we just throw out the Muslims or also the Arabs (Maj. Hasan was, after all an Arab). Perhaps we should also move the Muslim and Arab veterans out of the veterans cemeteries and put them in potters field, and as other bigots have suggested keep all Muslims out of America.
According to the Examiner, the Internet-based MoveAmericaForward.org is using their web site, email, and social networking sites such as Facebook.com and Twitter.com to push for the removal of Secretary Napolitano. Why? Because Napolitano appeared to reassure the world that U.S. authorities were taking measures to quell anti-Islam sentiments after last week’s attack by Maj. Hasan at Fort Hood.
Islamophobia truly does not represent American values, and it doesn’t make us any safer. I pray that the voices of dialogue and reason prevail and drown out the voices that would tear us apart. By burning bridges with American Muslims we make me and my family, and all other Americans, less safe.
Unlike harmless Mad Libs, this is not a game. We are hurtling towards an avoidable clash of civilizations and such rabble rousing only lessens our chances of isolating and marginalizing the extremists among all religions. When genuine anger about actual specific incidents or individual events is allowed to become generalized anger towards every member of a religious community we limit our options dramatically.
Even if you are an individual who agrees with attitudes such as those expressed in the statements, I would ask you to consider what is the goal? This will certainly not win hearts and minds, open possibilities for dialogue, or make any of us safer. Is it possible that when we vilify one particular group, the end result will damage not only them, but also us? If we create a stereotype and through repetition turn it into a meme (a mind virus). Will that meme also infect us? Insisting on this world view leaves only one option - a violent clash of civilizations, a final Crusade to convert or annihilate one group. And, one might wonder what a world without Islam would really look like.
How is it possible that we could have learned so little from our past mistakes, in spite of having access to so much information? Perhaps people have the right to say whatever hateful things they wish, but the fact that we have a legal right to such speech does not mean that we are required to say such things. More importantly, we have a right to not listen passively. If there are no condemnations of such speech, if toxic hate does not have the consequence of marginalizing the speaker, if society accepts such speech without remark then that is a loss of rights, isn’t it? Those who say such things are emboldened to continue and even to ratchet up the rhetoric, and this venomous rancor seeps into our media, our homes, our schools, our friendships.
The villification of Muslims, Arabs, and Islam has become relentless. Repeating the same things over and over again has been shown to create credibility. False logic seem plausible, and even outright lies repeated enough begin to sound like the truth. Sadly, these stereotypes have replaced knowledge with ignorance and misperception, and ignorance fuels hatred of what we don’t know much about. Muslims are consistently portrayed as “the other”, not part of us, and imposible to understand, and so not worthy of tolerance. Just the mention of Islam creates a feeling of fear on the part of many non-Muslims because of what they have heard so often and causes them to believe that this fear is reasonable.
It seems that any time a crime is committed by someone who is a Muslim, the rhetoric becomes more hysterical, and I really do wonder at what point American Muslims need to be afraid for our safety. I’m waiting to see some strong statements against this sort of religion baiting by interfaith groups.
I am puzzled as to how people cannot see that - yes, there are criminal Muslims, and Muslims who have attempted to justify their crimes by a distorted interpretation of their religion, but this sort of criminal behavior is not confined to Muslims. What about Charles Whitman, James Oliver Huberty, George Hennard, Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold, Jeffrey Weise, Charles Carl Roberts IV, Seung-Hui Cho, Sgt. William J. Kreutzer, Jr., Pvt. Steven Green, Master Sgt. John Hatley, Jomar Falu Vives, Scott Roeder, Timothy McVeigh, William Krar, Demetrius Van Crocker, Eric Robert Rudolph, Theodore Kaczynski, Terry Nichols, Lori Berenson, William Cottrell, Linda Evans, Jeff Fort, Irv Rubin, Earl Krugel, Victor Vancier, James Earl Ray, Buford Furow, Stphen John Jordi, Edgar Ray Killen, William Klar, James Charles Kopp, David Robert McMenemy, Gail Nettles, and thousands more.
Where does this sort of hateful rhetoric take us. On November 10th, in Tampa, FL, a Marine reservist attacked a Greek priest he claimed he thought was a terrorist, according to the news report: “Bruce pulled out a tire iron and attacked the priest, police said. He then called 911 as he chased Marakis, saying an Arab man was trying to rob him. When officers arrived, Bruce told them the man was a terrorist. Bruce also told police he heard Marakis yell, “Allahu akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great,” according to Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy. Marakis, however, does not speak Arabic, McElroy said. He speaks Greek. Police are working to determine if the offense meets the standard for a hate crime.” I haven’t seen a photograph with this story, but can make an educated guess that this Greek Orthodox priest had a beard and a long black robe, and so his religious clothing alerted this proud citizen to the danger he posed. Cal Thomas must be proud.
Normalizing hate speech, Aisha Ghani http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/a/3421