Muslim-bashing and the Seattle Museum of History And Industry
by Jeff Siddiqui
Those of us who keep pointing out that Muslim-bashing is growing rapidly in America, continue to witness worse and worse examples of it almost on a daily basis. Islam-bashing and Muslim-bashing are probably the most profitable pursuits in America today…along with the “War!” against “terror” which is really a branch of Muslim-bashing.
“Experts” wax forth, telling the world how evil and violent Islam is…“Some Muslims are perfectly fine people”, they tell us, “but when Muslims start to follow the teachings of the Quran, they become extremists”.
Politicians, never short of words, especially when it comes to self-promotion, take liberal bashes at us Muslims in order to show how “patriotic” they are and how resolutely they want to fight “terror”. Once America is left bug-eyed with fear, the politicians present themselves as the saviors of this nation…IF America is smart enough to re-elect the!
Once in office, the Battle of the Patriots begins; those not in office (but wannabe) strike out at those in office as “not patriotic enough to be TOUGH on ‘terror’! while those in office seek to enact draconian measures to prove how “TOUGH they are!
...and Muslims get ground up in the fray.
The Seattle Museum of History And Industry (MOHAI) brought in an exhibit put together by the Spy Museum of Washington DC., called, “The Enemy Within: Terror in America – 1776 to Today”.
In general, this is a fine exhibit. It shows how we would perceive an “enemy” inside the US and how we reacted to them, sometimes, with an over-reaction that destroyed many innocent lives…but ALL that seemed acceptable or certainly endurable at the time.
One walks through the circular exhibit (I certainly learnt some new things) and at the end, there is a kiosk with a continuous-loop video on the screen called, “Under Siege”. Having had a reasonable time in the rest of the exhibit, I sat down to watch the video…and felt as if I had been ambushed by a gang of thugs!
The film preys on the naïve and it plans on an audience that is largely unaware of Islam, Muslims and world affairs. It trots out some of the worst examples of Muslim-bashers to talk about “terrorism” and (as the title goes), “the enemy within”...us Muzlems!
They showed some mourning rituals being performed by Shias, as if these were examples of “trrrrrrsts” preparing for violence…mind you, these are NOT “normal” Shia rituals, they looked like rather exceptional rituals that are not normally practiced, but still, they were religious rituals.
They showed a Muslim Imam as the poster-boy for terrorism; this imam was found innocent in an American court, but the FBI could not stand to see him walk away so they slapped him with a “Lying to the FBI” charge and EVEN THEN, the judge criticized the FBI but felt forced to sentence the Imam to two months in jail before he was deported.
They showed scenes of violence as if those were representative of Muslims.
Then they trotted out their “experts”! People like Daniel Pipes, Steven Emerson and Reuel Gerecht who, behind a scholarly disguise, let it be known that there is no such thing as an innocent Muslim, suggesting that we Muslims are all lying in wait for the Call when we are going to commit great slaughter in the world, saying clearly, that Muslims MUST ALL be treated as guilty…and maybe we should not be so concerned about having all our civil liberties because we do have to think about security.
The video was a visit to 1930’s Germany, where leaders and scholars would make REAL Germans aware of the threat of the vile Jews, except these “leaders” were talking about America’s new Jews/Commies, the Muzlems!
By rights, the video should have been shut down because it should not be tolerated in any civilized context, but this time, obviously, it was deemed tolerable because after all, it was only “warning” us about Muzlems and that cannot be so bad, can it?
...I mean, aren’t we all Patriots?
...I mean, those Muzlems who are GOOD people have nothing to fear, right?
The entire exhibit, a Spy Museum production, is doing its circuit around the country, freely poisoning people’s minds as they are exposed to the video (which stands out as jarringly different from the main tenor of the total exhibit)
We protested and over a prolonged (but patient) debate, MOHAI finally agreed to put up a couple of posters (one right next to the video screen) that go a long way towards neutralizing some of the toxins from the video; we are not happy, but we are satisfied. I suppose we could have made it a battle if wills and aimed all-or-nothing to shut the film down, but then I believe both sides (MOHAI and Muslims) would have suffered; MOHAI would have been portrayed as a tool for hate-mongering and Muslims would have been “proven” to be intolerant and censorship supporters.
I believe it was more productive for us to engage even during times when it seems we were not getting anywhere with the discussion; we gave in at point which were not as important, but held fast to others which were non-negotiable and even after a number of miss-steps, we managed to get close to where we wanted to be…short of shutting down the toxic video altogether. We resisted calls from other Muslims, to start picketing the museum and we believe that was a good decision on our part; we got what we wanted without alienating the MOHAI staff and without it becoming an issue on everybody’s radar.
MOHAI is putting together a promising panel discussion that MIGHT even get filmed by KCTS (not sure yet).
It will feature the famous Judge Coughenour, who was seen as slapping the Bush-Ashcroft gang in the face when he sentenced Ahmed Ressam for his attempt to smuggle explosives into the country. The Panel will also have Acting Deputy Chief of the Seattle Police, Nick Metz and finally, there is also myself and it will be moderated by Enrique Cerna from KCTS TV. At MOHAI, on March 25 at 7:00 p.m.