Muslims and Islamophobia
Even in polite society, fear-mongering, negative stereotyping and abuse are now out of control – as I know from bitter experience. Have you ever been called an Islamist? How about a jihadist or a terrorist? Extremist, maybe? Every morning, I take a deep breath and then go online to discover what new insult or smear has been thrown in my direction. Whether it's tweets, blog posts or comment threads, the abuse is as relentless as it is vicious. "Get out of my country, goatfucker." How many other political columnists have to deal with such "feedback"?...
To Shave or Not To Shave
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
What is it about Muslim beard that pricks non-Muslims where it hurts the most? Psychologists call it “conditioning”. People learn from their experiences and behave on that basis. And “Muslims with beards” have, over the past few decades, given some rather rude lessons to non-Muslims. Virtually every terrorist attack, be it in New York, Bali, Madrid or London, has been carried out by bearded Muslims. The most prominent faces of Islamist extremism, from Osama bin Laden to Omar Bakri Mohammad, sport long, flowing beards. This has “conditioned” non-Muslims to link bearded Muslims, if not all Muslims, with terror. …
Demographics Unit dispatched “mosque crawlers” (informants) and “rakers” (undercover police officers) to engage in the “human mapping” of mosques, cafes, bookstores and other hangouts within “communities of interest.” These communities consisted—or still consist, as officials have not denied that the program is ongoing—of people with roots in twenty-eight predominantly Muslim countries as well as those designated “American Black Muslim.” Imams—including those reputed to be close to law enforcement Cabdrivers, food-cart vendors and college students were all fair game, and not a single detail of their lives seemed too small to record….
Mitt Romney declared that Park51 had “the potential for extremists to use the mosque for global recruiting and propaganda.” Rudy Giuliani called it “a desecration.” And Sarah Palin famously tweeted, “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate [sic].” A month later, a cabdriver in New York was asked, “Are you Muslim?” When he said yes, he was stabbed in the neck....
Let me state quite directly: Islamophobia and those who promote it are a greater threat to the United States of America than Anwar al Awlaqi and his rag-tag team of terrorists. On one level, al Awlaqi, from his cave hide-out in Yemen, can only prey off of alienation where it exists. Adopting the persona of a latter-day Malcolm X, he appears street-smart, brash, self-assured and assertive - all of the assets needed to attract lost or wounded souls looking for certainty and an outlet for their rage....
A colleague from Hyderabad office came to meet me. He said he has come to Mumbai for his wife’s treatment. She is to be operated in a few days. Blood will be needed for the operation. I told him there is a list of blood donors in the office. ... He nodded but said that the blood should be that of a Muslim. ... We, the Muslims, are busy proving that all the Islamophobic propaganda and misunderstandings created after 9/11 are true. Because of our foolish actions people get excuses to propagate that Islam is not fit for a pluralistic society and that it treats every religion with hatred. And that Islam wishes its followers to be detached from all others. All this is only because of our stupidity. On the other hand, enemies of Islam wish to separate it from all other religions under a pre-planned scheme. ...
The response of Europe’s political class to the presence of Muslim minorities can be described most generously as a moral panic, and most accurately as a repressive legislative and rhetorical onslaught. A number of states from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean have gone to extraordinary lengths to ban what women can wear, what people can say, and where and how they can worship....
Sheila Musaji Islamically befuddled
“This shocking New York Times article describes a girl only, public school prom especially created to accommodate the religious practices of observant, female Muslim students. Further proof of the Islamization [sic] of America, as outlined in my book. Get the practical guide to the resistance…
The original slaves have broken free of their shackles but still suffer discrimination; the Jews have squashed blatant ant-Semitism, but bear the indignity of subliminal racism; the so-called ‘Latinos’ are stigmatized as aliens who will forever change the complexion of this country. But the most feared and loathed Americans today are the Muslim citizens of this country. This is no accident. It is the result of a well-orchestrated propaganda war against Islam and Muslims by a coalition of anti-Muslim fear-mongers....
People are relying on fear, mistrust, [and] nurturing the victim mentality. You can see this among Blacks, Latinos, [and] Muslims. Sometimes they play the victims. Victims are talking to each other. We are the victims of your colonization, legal colonization. It’s the way you accept the role given by the dominant: you become the victim. Yet pushing victimhood was the principal purpose of the conference. Moreover, Ramadan contributed to that narrative by implying that assimilation—the antidote to the balkanization caused by nurturing a victim mentality—was impossible in the U.S.
Is all this hysteria justified? Are Muslims the new red threat, an implacably hostile enemy that despises the West and is plotting to destroy us? Hardly. It is the West not the Islamic world that has enough nuclear weapons to destroy the earth’s human population many times over. It is the West not the Islamic world that instigated actions that have led to hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths in Iraq alone from the sanctions regime of the nineties to the recent war.
The legacy of hatred which was started by George Bush was later continued in the form of classes and organized trainings. In line with this Islamophobic policy funded by Washington and the powerful Zionist groups in the country, the US military has long been involved in fomenting anger and hatred against the Muslims by teaching its future leaders that a “total war” against the Muslims would be necessary to protect America….
Many readers took issue with the pejorative term "knuckle draggers" that I used to describe those who protested against Hassan Shibly, who spoke about Islam at Steinbrenner High School. Never mind the protestors have slandered Shibly by calling him a terrorist — I'm sure he'd swap that term for knuckle dragger. I have spoken with Shibly several times, and I have researched the facts surrounding the government's labeling of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Shibly leads its local office) and the Islamic Society of North America, and do not believe that he or either of those groups support terrorism….
The number of Muslims living in Madison County may be small, but they represent 20 percent of the world population. Beshir says it only makes sense to learn more about this faith shared by millions of people. "What we believe in doesn't need to be agreed upon by everybody else, but it will help for the majority to know more about the minority," he says. Through greater knowledge, he hopes will come greater understanding and acceptance…..
General Martin Dempsey speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon
The Pentagon suspended the course in late April when a student objected to the material. The FBI also changed some agent training last year after discovering that it, too, was critical of Islam. The teaching in the military course was counter to repeated assertions by US officials over the past decade that America is at war against Islamic extremists, not the religion itself.
"They hate everything you stand for and will never coexist with you, unless you submit," the instructor, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley, said in a presentation last July for the course at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk,Virginia. The college, for professional military members, teaches mid-level officers and government civilians on subjects related to planning and executing war.
Dooley also presumed, for the purposes of his theoretical war plan, that the Geneva conventions that set standards of armed conflict, are "no longer relevant". He adds: "This would leave open the option once again of taking war to a civilian population wherever necessary (the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki being applicable to the Mecca and Medina destruction decision point)."...
Islamophobia is an ideological phenomenon that has taken place across Europe -- in the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Great Britain and elsewhere -- and has become the core belief uniting right-wing groups. The Salafists, for their part, constitute a small group in Germany. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the country's domestic intelligence agency, estimates that there are only about 1,000 militant Salafists in the country. "In contrast to the right-wing extremists, the Salafists profess not to have a political agenda," Miliopoulos says. "Rather, they seek a manifestation of Islam in the world according to their own -- purely spiritual -- vision. From the point of view of our society, however, that can lead to violent Islamism, and as such is very political."....
As France prepares for a new chapter in its political and social history, with the decisive victory of François Hollande of Socialist party, Helene Irving from the At Home in Europe project spoke to people in France working on issues of social inclusion about the significance of what has passed to date and what the future may hold.
What role do you believe xenophobia, the fear of foreigners or outsiders, has played in the French presidential election campaign so far?
Marwan Muhammad, the spokesperson for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France: The campaign for the presidential election has been mostly focused on immigration and xenophobic issues. The Front National has been asking questions and the other parties have just had to answer the questions in a different manner, but they have all been following the Front National’s political agenda. So, of course it gives them a future advantage … there is no unemployment problem anymore, there is no housing problem, there is no social problem in the country because everyone’s attention is focused on phenomena such as the halal meat business, the presence of immigrants in the country and the place of Muslims and Islam in France nowadays. …
Programme Host: Are Non-Muslims allowed to preach their religion and to build their
places of worship in an Islamic State? If yes, then why building of Churches
are not allowed in Saudi Arabia whereas Muslims are building their Mosques in
London and Paris?
Dr. Zakir Naik’s Answer: In some Islamic Countries – for example Saudi Arabia propagation of
other religions is prohibited. Even construction of any place of worship is
also prohibited. So many Non-Muslims ask that when we allow Muslims to preach
and build their Mosques in our countries then why we are not allowed to do so
in these Muslim countries? In my reply, I ask the Non-Muslims that suppose you
are a principal of a school and you intend to select a math teacher.
Three candidates come and you ask them what
will be the total of 2+2? The first replies that 2+2=3 and the second one
answers that 2+2=4. And the third one answers that 2+2=6. Now I ask these
non-Muslims that will they allow the candidates to teach in their school who
says that 2+2=3 or that 2+2=6? They say that no. I ask why? They say because he
does not have the correct knowledge of mathematics.
The FBI has employed informants ever since its inception as the Bureau of Investigation in 1908. In 1961 director J. Edgar Hoover established the Top Echelon Criminal Informant Program, in which FBI field offices were instructed to develop live sources in the “organized hoodlum element.” By 1975 the Church Committee found that the bureau was employing more than 1,500 domestic informants....
Farrukh Dhondy is a British writer, playwright and activist of Indian Parsi descent
Whether God inspired, or ideologically motivated, the murders perpetrated by Hitler, Breivik, Al Qaeda and ideologies of religious separation and slaughter, he didn’t do a good job of providing them with a strategy. Any idiot can see that the bombing of the World Trade Centre or the killing of innocent people on the London Underground will contribute not an iota to the fall of Western civilisation. This is just self-indulgent murder. …
Muslims view all the above initiatives as alarming developments and call them war against Islam launched in the West. But in reality, these notions are completely baseless. No doubt, attacks on madrasas and masjids are an outcome of Islamophobia, but these are the handiworks of a handful of misguided individuals, not of any government. I suggest all Muslims pay warm welcome to the initiatives taken by France, Belgium, Italy and Holland, because these are bound to help Islam in Europe to cope with the circumstances and keep pace with the times. Muslim imams are generally unacquainted with the local languages and culture of western countries, then how do we expect the West to become familiar with peaceful Islam? ... Therefore, we should rise above the negativity about the French and Dutch initiatives just as most Dutch Muslims have welcomed them with open arms. As for the arrest and deportation of a few Imams in Europe, we should not forget that such Imams propagating hatred and violence will be arrested in Muslim countries as well. Those people who constantly encourage violence are merely serving their vested interests, they may claim to believe in their religion but they do not follow it properly....
Adam Serwer is a reporter at the Washington, DC, bureau of Mother Jones
"We are not here to criticize the NYPD," declared Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), who was joined by House Homeland Security chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.), "but rather to thank them for doing the work that we as Muslims should be doing, which is monitoring extremism, following extremism, and helping counter the ideologies that create radicalization in our communities." …
Hem Borker is pursuing her D.Phil in Education at the University of Oxford
However their narratives echoed the contesting dilemmas many faced on account of “being Muslim”; dilemmas which illustrate the manner in which the increasing communalisation of social space subtly limits choices or renders them non-existent in something as fundamental as education. “We want schools that do not discriminate against our children.”…
Ed West is a journalist and social commentator
Islamism is political; it attracts angry, extreme, violent young men from the immigrant underclass who find others willing to justify their thirst for violence, by using holy texts. Merah’s justification – “you killed my brothers, I kill you” – is not words of faith but naked tribalism. Most people oppose large-scale immigration from countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Somalia not because of Islam but because the newcomers are alien to them and their arrival disrupt their neighbourhood and life. …
Yet the existence of Muslims who use accusations of Islamophobia as a political ploy to shut down dissent within Muslim communities does not make the reality of Islamophobia irrelevant. After all, anti-Semitism is no less real just because it has been exploited as a smear with which to silence critics of Israel. Muslims and non-Muslims alike have always engaged critically and creatively with the Islamic tradition, both reverently and irreverently. …