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Anti-Muslim Bigotry

Islamophobia Part-1: It Exists

Amad Abu Reem

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Cross-posted on Dailykos.com & Streetprophets.comislamophobia1.jpg

In what will hopefully be a series of posts, I will be examining the trend of rising Islamophobia in America, employing a sprinkling of information from the collection of articles in the book with the title, “Islamophobia and Anti-Americanism” edited by Mohamed Nimer (an Amana Publication) mixed. I highly recommend this book for any Muslim who is concerned about the difficult times American Muslims are finding themselves in these days.

What I found especially compelling about the book is that the collected opinions come from a spectrum of important American voices (Muslim and otherwise), from Dr. Asma Asfaruddin (an associate professor at Notre Dame and adviser for Karamah) to Cherif Basyouni (a distinguished professor at DePaul and president of its International Human Rights Law Institute) to Richard Cizik (vice presisent of National Association of Evangelicals) to Claude Salhani (UPI’s international editor) to Dr Shanta Premawardhana (a Baptist pastor and director of Interfaith Relations for National Council of Churches) and many more.

This first part will be an attempt to establish that Islamophobia is real and does in fact exist. Some may find this to be redundant because it is so obvious, but others in the know will disagree. While it is obvious and real, there is a deliberate and sustained effort by the Islamophobes to suppress this term and its implication for many reasons:

  1. Of course, the first reason is obvious. Without Islamophobia, they would not be Islamophobes. And without the burden of this word (whatever little baggage it currently holds), it would be hard to find an appropriate label to describe this prejudice and bigotry, in essence providing the Islamophobes a free-pass. In other words,
  2. If there was no Islamophobia, then those engaged in daily and consistent bigotry against Muslims would assume that they were engaged in rational behavior that is not driven by hatred and prejudice.
  3. Since the world has embraced the concept of antisemitism, I think the need and importance of terminology, i.e. for Islamophobia, can draw some parallels from the need for having the word antisemitism.
  4. Another way to recognize the importance of driving this term into “common” Western lingo, such that its far-reaching implications are obvious to people, is to recognize the efforts by the Islamophobes to suppress it. Why are they so concerned about it? Why are they bent on making this term “go away”

In fact, if one were to visit with the right-wing opinion-makers in America, one would find that for them Islamophobia is a concept that does not exist except as a figment of imagination created by CAIR in order to be exploited by CAIR. What is amusing about this opinion is that most, if not all, CAIR directors could probably find better gigs, make more money and lead less stressful lives working outside CAIR! So, there is no obvious motivation, financial or otherwise, for the creation of CAIR, and more importantly for the creation of the term “Islamophobia”.

Searching online dictionaries, the first surprise (or is it?) is that Merriam-Webster online returns this message for the term “Islamophobia”, “The word you’ve entered isn’t in the dictionary.” Only in dictionary.com, is there a single return for its meaning: “noun- prejudice against Muslims; ‘Muslim intellectuals are afraid of growing Islamophobia in the West'” [WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University]. Interesting sentence choice for the usage example. Perhaps, it should be corrected to “common Muslims” not just “intellectuals” who are afraid of the growing Islamophobia!

On the other hand, a search of “anti-semitism” returns a similar meaning as well as a bit more at dictionary.com, which is “discrimination” in addition to “prejudice” against Jews. This is an important addition. When a state of mind translates into an actual negative behavior, then the implications of this prejudice become graver. One can also take historical parallels from the antisemitism that eventually culminated in the German holocaust to the development and denial of Islamophobia today. It is a well-recorded fact that anti-semitism was present and alive in Germany well before the holocaust, and that its denial was equally in vogue.

Let’s get into the meat of this post, with some of the following based on two articles in the book: Dr. Parvez Ahmed’s “Prejudice is Real and Exacts a Heavy Toll” and Dr. Samer Shehata’s “Popular Media and Opinion Leaders are to Blame”.

What is Islamophobia?

Dr. Ahmed states that

Islamophobia refers to unfounded hostility and fear of Islam.

Unfortunately, one of the handicaps of this word is that it may lead people to assume that it is merely a “phobia”, a state of mind, and not of action (as I mentioned earlier from its definition in Princeton’s WordNet). So, it is important to highlight that this is not only a state of mind, but also culminates a behavior that leads to hidden or explicit

discrimination against Muslims, exclusion of Muslims from mainstream political or social process, stereotyping, presumption of guilt by association, and finally hate crimes.

Most Muslims and a growing minority of non-Muslims recognize that all of these evils are present and growing in 21st century America and increasingly tolerated as being “justified”. Though to be fair, I should add that American Islamophobia is still less rampant than in many quarters of Europe where Islamophobia, much like anti-semitism pre-holocaust, is being actively institutionalized (consider the hijab ban in France that is now being picked up by other European areas).

The term Islamophobia gained popularity in part due to the famous thesis developed by Samuel Huntington (a thesis that is of biblical proportion for the right-wingers), in which he argued that there was an impending clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. 9/11 was literally “god-sent” in terms of helping this theory gain wider appeal, leading to a sustained campaign by the right-wing outlets (FOX, talk radio, etc.) to help create a climate of extreme prejudice and fear in “preparing” the “West” for this epic impending clash. Other important names to mention include many of the neoconservatives who pushed for the war in Iraq (and now pushing for it in Iran) such as Daniel Pipes, Steve Emerson, Bernard Lewis, Robert Spencer, David Horowitz, and others.

What are the beliefs representing shades of Islamophobia?

  • Islam is monolithic and cannot adapt to new realities.
  • Islam does not share common values with other major faiths.
  • Islam as a religion is inferior to the West. It is archaic, barbaric, and irrational.
  • Islam is a religion of violence and supports terrorism.
  • Islam is a violent political ideology.

Dr. Ahmed is spot on. In fact, most right-wingers would accept the preceding points without argument. At the same time they will insist that this is completely rational and normal behavior, without any prejudice. That this is simply “reality” and that anyone who does not accept it is either (a) an “Islamist” or (b) a sold-out liberal, who is as dangerous as the “Islamist” for America.

If you are one of those who does not believe the preceding points, then I would URGE you to spend about 15 minutes on just this website, reading just this one post (took me 30 seconds to find it), and then drilling down into the comments. I guarantee that you will find most, if not ALL, the mental diseases listed above at the post on Little Green Footballs (LGF). What is the post about? LGF’s campaign of letter-writing to Mayor Bloomberg of NYC against the green lighting of the Empire State Building in commemoration of Eid-al-Fitr! Remember one of the goals of Islamophobia: “exclusion of Muslims from mainstream political or social process”. By the way, LGF is one of the most popular conservative right-blog on the web.

What is the proof that anti-Muslim sentiments exist in America?

If the little LGF tour doesn’t convince you that the Islamophobic attitudes are not merely on the sidelines of American attitudes, then perhaps these statistics will convince you:

While survey data about Muslims prior to 9/11 isn’t readily available, a plethora did come in after the horrible attacks:

  • The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, conducted Aug. 1-18 among 3,002 adults, finds

Public attitudes about Muslims and Islam have grown more negative in recent years. About four-in-ten Americans (43%) say they have a favorable opinion of Muslims, while 35% express a negative view. Opinion about Muslims, on balance, was somewhat more positive in 2004 (48% favorable vs. 32% unfavorable). As in previous surveys, Muslim Americans are seen more positively than Muslims (53% vs. 43%); however, unfavorable opinions of Muslim Americans have also edged upward, from 25% in 2005 to 29% currently.

  • When asked for the single word that best describes their impression of Islam, far more Americans mention negative words than positive ones (30% vs. 15%). The word “fanatical” came to mind for 4 out of 10! “Radical” came in at 30%, terror/terrorism or violence/violent at nearly 25% of the time.
  • Almost half the population believes that Islam encourages violence, as opposed to about a quarter who say it doesn’t. While the rest didn’t know or didn’t answer. So, one could assume that the number would be as high as 65% if we were to split the difference.
  • A troubling poll by Washington Post/ABC seems to show that as people claim to “know” more about Islam, their negative opinion about it is actually increasing. This correlation is an important sign for Muslims that our “dawah” and campaign of information is failing, while the dawah and campaign of misinformation by the right-wingers and Islamophobes is winning. A commentator on Dailykos pointed out that this may also be due to the type and quality of the otherwise true information that people get. It’s very easy to pick out comments from the Qu’ran that are in direct opposition to the ethical worldview that most of non-Muslims are familiar with. So, the stats:
    • While “basic understanding (probably more like misunderstanding)” of Islam increased from about 31% in October 2002 to 40% in March 2006, unfavorable opinion of Islam increased from 24% to 46% over the same time period or a nearly 100% increase! It is important to recall that once the dust of 9/11 settled, unfavorable opinion of Islam actually dipped due to the efforts of people in politics and the media, as well as Muslim organizations, to prevent large-scale retribution and revenge-motivated assaults on Muslim life and property (which nevertheless still occurred). However, once past this, Muslims slept while the neocons and the right-wingers launched a campaign of Islamophobia that continues to resonate today.
    • On the other hand, another poll by USA Today/Gallup Poll (article here) finds that people who actually know Muslims, as opposed to claiming that they “understanding Islam” do feel better about Muslims:

      Considerable differences are seen in attitudes about Muslims according to whether one is personally acquainted with a Muslim. For instance, only 10% of those who say they personally know someone who is Muslim say they would not want a Muslim as a neighbor. This compares with 31% of those who are not acquainted with a Muslim — representing a 21-point gap in views between the two groups. Other large gaps are seen in attitudes toward special security measures targeted at Muslims, and fear of sharing an airplane flight with Muslim men.

    • The WP/ABC poll also finds that (similar to the Pew Poll), belief that Islam encourages violence has gone up from 14% to 33%, nearly 3-fold.
    • Nearly 34% had heard prejudiced things about Muslims. 27% honestly believed that they had some feelings of prejudice against Muslims, compared to 6% against Jews (is there a better indicator than this that anti-semitism is no longer the big problem in America, as Islamophobia has become?).

What are the implications of Islamophobia?

At work, we talk a lot about the “Injury Pyramid“, where the small first-aids form the bottom, large part of the pyramid and fatalities form the top, tip of the pyramid. In other words, for every 1000 first-aids or so, an average of 1 fatality occurs (the figures in this example are not meant to be accurate, just providing an analogy).

Similarly, one can think of racism or prejudice as a pyramid, with the bottom base being a myriad and widespread negative opinions and beliefs, which I have already described in the preceding paragraphs. The next, less-widespread, step up on this pyramid would be hate-talk. A step further up will be actions motivated by hate, like throwing a pig’s head into a mosque. Further steps up (less frequent but of higher intensity) would include direct attacks on Muslims and eventually to Muslim deaths and even large-scale terrorism (a plan by a Florida doctor to bomb Muslim educational centers was derailed in Florida in 2002 before it could be enacted). The question is not whether such hate-crimes will happen (because they already are); rather the question is when and how many.

Rest assured, and nearly every Muslim recognizes this, that if there is to be another terrorist attack in America orchestrated by Muslims, then no Muslim will feel safe in this country in the immediate wake of that crime. In other words, the ground-work has been laid. Feelings of hatred have been planted. And it does not require a pscyhologist to recognize that with such large-scale negativity, there will be enough nut-jobs to ac upon their prejudices.

Consider then, which should not come as a surprise, that a large percentage of Americans are ready and willing to strip the Muslim minority of America of its constitutional rights for what they perceive as their own safety. To be continued…

Next: Islamophobia Part-2: Hate Pyramid; Part 2 will further detail out this concept of hate pyramid, implications with evidence, including poll-data, documented discrimination and violence against Muslims.

Imad Shaykh is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Imad is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

50 Comments

50 Comments

  1. Amad

    Amad

    December 10, 2007 at 12:14 PM

    If anyone else has read the book, feel free to chime in.

  2. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    December 10, 2007 at 2:23 PM

    Very interesting post – and scary, too! :(
    I dunno what to add, except that when I were learning about the Holocaust at school I was getting freaked out about how similar the situation was pre-Holocaust for Jews to the situation it is for Muslims today.
    May Allah protect us!

  3. Avatar

    Ruth Nasrullah

    December 10, 2007 at 5:37 PM

    Asalaamu alaikum, Br. Amad. Great post – very detailed and clearly well researched.

    I have a question, though – why do you only compare rising Islamosphobia to anti-semitism and the holocaust? Why not historical prejudice and discrimination against blacks, or the virtual extermination of native American tribes? Those would seem more apt comparisons just because they were/are part of American history, which is not identical to European history. Is the rise of Nazi power in the 30s and 40s really an appropriate benchmark for Islamophobia in America?

  4. Avatar

    Zuneera

    December 10, 2007 at 5:42 PM

    SubhanAllah! The westerners are complaining about Muslim doctors in the UK planning to blow up some place, and they have lost respect for people they would put their life in their hands. I didn’t know about the Florida doctor and his plan to blow up a Muslim center! So much for “fairness and equality” in journalism!

  5. Amad

    Amad

    December 10, 2007 at 5:44 PM

    salam… Sr. Ruth.. good points.

    In fact one of the future posts will actually parallel Islamophobia with racism against blacks.

    I didn’t mention it in this introduction though, because the parallels of religious discrimination are easier to click, of a more “sticky” nature, and don’t need to be developed as much as the task of comparing prejudices of different types. Regardless, i am not about to delve into the historical Nazi details, neither does the book.

  6. Avatar

    Dr Esam Omeish

    December 10, 2007 at 11:32 PM

    Jazakum Allahu Khairan Brother Amad. I look forward to the rest of the posts

  7. Pingback: On Islamophobia « Dr. Esam Omeish

  8. Avatar

    Jonathan Constantine

    December 11, 2007 at 1:55 AM

    It’s hard to believe that being against radical Islam is racist. And, no. Not all Muslims are radical.

    But radical Islam an ideology not a race of people. I think it’s getting twisted. If someone takes issue with the version of Islam promoted by the 9/11 hijackers, it is perfectly rational. That would be like saying that if you were anti-Nazi during WWII, you are racist against all Germans.

  9. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    December 11, 2007 at 1:59 AM

    Amad,

    http://muslimology.wordpress.com/2007/12/09/new-film-bollywoods-badboyz/

    Not exactly related but just to show some Desi Islamophobia and the baggage Indian immigrants bring with them.

    Muslim vs. Sikhs and Hindus still happens, especially in young crowds.

  10. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    December 11, 2007 at 2:02 AM

    “It’s hard to believe that being against radical Islam is racist. And, no. Not all Muslims are radical.

    But radical Islam an ideology not a race of people. I think it’s getting twisted. If someone takes issue with the version of Islam promoted by the 9/11 hijackers, it is perfectly rational. That would be like saying that if you were anti-Nazi during WWII, you are racist against all Germans.”

    This will only make sense once non-Muslims fully learn and understand Muslims and Islam–an effort which has not been accomplished by non-Muslims.

  11. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    December 11, 2007 at 2:04 AM

    …otherwise, you won’t be able to see the line between radical and normal and all hope is lost.

  12. Amad

    Amad

    December 11, 2007 at 9:27 AM

    It’s hard to believe that being against radical Islam is racist. And, no. Not all Muslims are radical.

    “Not all Muslims are radicals”? That’s not very comforting is it? I mean it leaves open the possibility that a large number are, heck even a majority could be right?

    I don’t know you well enough to question your sincerity in asking this question, but you should know that this is a very common cop-out. When the right-wingers claim that “not all Muslims are radicals, and that we are against radical Islam”… we have to go one step further and understand what they mean by “radical”.

    So, in fact, radical for them are pretty much all mainstream Muslims. The only non-radicals would be sell-out progressives and muslim (using the term loosely) uncle toms such as Zuhdi Jasser, Irshad Manji, and other PMU types.

    When you include all mainstream Muslim organization such as ISNA, ICNA, MSA, MAS, CAIR, TDC as being radicals, then you have essentially isolated the “good Muslims” into a fringe element. That in fact is the purpose of the Rand Report.

    Finally, the point of the article was to highlight actual opinions in America and it is obvious that common Americans are not distinguishing between everyday Muslims and the radical fringe:

    Back to the WP Poll:

    Every religion has mainstream beliefs, and also fringe elements or extremists. Thinking of mainstream Islam, do you think mainstream Islam teaches respect for the beliefs of non-Muslims, or not?

    Answer: Nearly 50% said NO

    Do you think mainstream Islam encourages violence against non-Muslims, or is it a peaceful religion?

    Answer: A third said MAINSTREAM Islam encourages violence.

  13. Avatar

    Yahya Birt

    December 11, 2007 at 10:57 AM

    As-salamu alaykum,

    To contribute to this discussion I have a series of post on Islamophobia and racism. The two most substantial posts are “Notes on Islamophobia” and “With Us or Against Us: The Rhetoric of the War on Terror”.

    The sectional link to this topic is here:

    http://www.yahyabirt.com/?cat=13

    wa s-salam, Yahya

  14. Avatar

    Ruth Nasrullah

    December 11, 2007 at 12:44 PM

    I think it’s important to clearly identify the political/geopolitical nature of events overseas so that non-Muslims can differentiate between those events and religious practice. We don’t want to deny that we’re all part of the same ummah, nor silence our support for those whose situations are unjust, but we should ensure that people to distinguish the Islamic from the political.

    For example, the life of a Muslim Palestinian in Jenin has virtually no resemblance to my life as a Muslim American in Houston. We share the deen but not the circumstances, and that needs to be made clear. People need to know that there is a difference between jihad against a clear oppressor and so-called “jihad” against a government you don’t agree with.

    I’ve gotten several books on African American Muslims for the Light of Islam booth at Texas Dawah, and in going through them I’m realizing more and more how little we’re delving into our own history and revealing how much Islam is a historical American religion. I’m tired of talking about al Qaeda, and defending my religion because of what they do. Let’s talk instead about the stories of Muslim slaves from the 17th century – like it or not, that’s our *American* heritage.

  15. Avatar

    Ruth Nasrullah

    December 11, 2007 at 12:48 PM

    Or for that matter…let’s talk about Malcolm X. I’ve been surprised to find out how many people don’t know that he turned away from the Nation of Islam after going on hajj. That’s a great story for a dawah effort.

  16. Avatar

    Sequoia

    December 11, 2007 at 1:08 PM

    Johnathan,

    Here is my take on it… Being against Al-Queda obviously does not make a person rascist. But the problem lies in the fact that there is so much negative assoication in the media between terroists and Muslims these days that it becomes quite influential in the midset of people. Take for example some of the more popular rightwing blogs. What do you think the subject of stories are when the subject is muslims or Islam? How many stories can you rember that weren’t about suicide or some Muslims with “rage” burning flags? So if everyday Americans are constantly and repeatedly shown these images..well what do you think peoples opinions towards Muslims are.

  17. Avatar

    Solomon2

    December 11, 2007 at 1:28 PM

    Comment, please:

    Islamists prefer to just run and hide from open respectful debate about the issue of Islamism. Islamists would rather continue wallowing in denial. They prefer to project responsibility for terrorism upon everyone else in the world, rather than placing the responsibility upon the ideology of political Islam and the toxicity of the dreams of an Islamic state. They would much rather debate non-Muslims or former Muslims, because they can change the debate focus to Islamophobia, rather than the central issue of Islamism…I find the term “Islamofascism” to be quite accurate when defining the ideological goals of Islamist militants.

  18. Amad

    Amad

    December 11, 2007 at 3:46 PM

    There is nothing to comment on… this argument is turning the victim into the instigator. Would you have no problem to free speech if it included denigrating Jewish faith and denying the holocaust? And if you have no problem with that horrible free speech, would you not, as a Jew, make an argument that this is hate speech (antisemitism) that is unacceptable?

    In any case, the fact that this bigot thinks that a stupid term such as islamofascism means anything, then the article is already rendered worthless. Really, one day I’d like to find a nice little article from one of these right-wing sites, and replace Muslims with Jews and Islam with Judaism and just post it to see the reaction and the charges of antisemitism that will be flying in. And let me say, APPROPRIATELY so (i.e. it would be appropriate for the post to have antisemitism charges). So, why is it any different?

    Instead, I’d like readers to go to this article pointed out by JDsg:

    Sheila Musaji at The American Muslim: If Muslims Are So Terrible, Why The Need To Make Up So Many Lies? and the articles by Br. Yahya Birt as he points to above:

    http://www.yahyabirt.com/?cat=13

  19. Amad

    Amad

    December 11, 2007 at 3:53 PM

    JazakAllahkhair Dr. Esam… may Allah help me do even the bit of justice that this deserves.

    Again, I’ll be basing much of my thesis on the great compilation by Dr. Nimer so the majority of credit goes to him and the authors in that compilation.

  20. Amad

    Amad

    December 11, 2007 at 5:39 PM

    This post was “honored” to be bashed over at LGF… more examples to illustrate everything I said in this post:
    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=28230_Islamophobia_Myth_Promoted_at_Daily_Kos

  21. Avatar

    Jonathan Constantine

    December 12, 2007 at 12:16 AM

    I never implied that most Muslims are radical. But some of the rhetoric coming from the Muslim community is very, very radical. For example, where I go to school, the Muslim Student Union — who call themselves moderate — consistently invite people to campus who are anything but. They bring this guy in who says that Muslims will be victorious because they aren’t afraid of death (as MSU members chant “Allah Akbar”) as the Westerners are. They have also brought in Yvonne Ridley who calls the mastermind of the Beslan School massacre a martyr and Zarqawi a brother. They make racist depictions of Jews with hooked noses, etc. They also say that Americans misunderstand the Taliban, and they’re not so bad.

    You have all of this going on, and rarely do you see a strong voice condemn it.

    Why can’t we see the following come to fruition:
    1. A Muslim community united with the values of other Americans
    2. A Muslim community who will accept a two-state solution in the ME.
    3. a Muslim Community who will reject inflammatory rhetoric from members of their community.

    Accordingly, Islamophobia can only be a myth. I don’t think anyone has a problems with Muslims who accept the above principles and I know they are a lot out there. The ultimate issue is whether they will stand with Israel, America, and peace in the Muslim world. I’m confident (if given support) many will.

  22. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    December 12, 2007 at 2:22 AM

    “You have all of this going on, and rarely do you see a strong voice condemn it.”

    A strong voice? You see HUNDREDS of strong voices condemning:

    http://www.mujahideenryder.net/2006/08/17/what-the-media-needs-to-show-muslim-scholars-condemning-terrorism/

  23. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    December 12, 2007 at 2:25 AM

    “Why can’t we see the following come to fruition:
    1. A Muslim community united with the values of other Americans
    2. A Muslim community who will accept a two-state solution in the ME.
    3. a Muslim Community who will reject inflammatory rhetoric from members of their community.”

    You are asking Muslims to revolve around non-Muslims. Muslims only know how to revolve around Islam. It’s as simple as that, dude.

  24. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    December 12, 2007 at 2:30 AM

    “I never implied that most Muslims are radical. But some of the rhetoric coming from the Muslim community is very, very radical. For example, where I go to school, the Muslim Student Union — who call themselves moderate — consistently invite people to campus who are anything but. They bring this guy in who says that Muslims will be victorious because they aren’t afraid of death (as MSU members chant “Allah Akbar”) as the Westerners are. They have also brought in Yvonne Ridley who calls the mastermind of the Beslan School massacre a martyr and Zarqawi a brother. They make racist depictions of Jews with hooked noses, etc. They also say that Americans misunderstand the Taliban, and they’re not so bad.”

    In a community of 2 billion people you will have the same number of people for something as you will have against. Nothing more can be said.

  25. Amad

    Amad

    December 12, 2007 at 9:33 AM

    They make racist depictions of Jews with hooked noses, etc.

    Pls show me evidence that your MSU was engaged in the above.

    You have all of this going on, and rarely do you see a strong voice condemn it.

    In fact, it is this, not Islamophobia, that is a myth. It only provides further evidence of islamophobia, because the moderate MAJORITY Muslim voices or the voices that condemn, are consistently stifled. So, what do you want us to do? Wear placards on our back? You should read this too:
    Saudi cleric’s letter to Osama

    Here’s another little project:
    Type in “muslims do denounce terrorism” in google and you will obtain the answer to the question.

    Here’s just one:
    AntiTerrorism

    A comment on SP:
    221 links on Muslim condemnations of terrorism for you to peruse. (Give or take – I was counting fast.)

  26. Amad

    Amad

    December 12, 2007 at 9:34 AM

    Here’s a heart-felt comment from a non-Muslim commentator on SP:

    I got a chain email from a friend who just forwards those things on without reading them. It ruined my day. I still mist up when I think of it.

    At first it was just a series of historical facts about Iraq. Then it essentially said that America was doing God’s bidding by invading Iraq and wiping Islam from the planet. That when Islam is gone, there will be peace.

    I started to cry. I am no Muslim but the day Islam is wiped away from the planet will be a day of terrible mourning for many including myself. I wrote an angry reply. I laid out facts. I rebuked my friend with them. I told her that any god who would wipe out whole peoples like that is not worthy of my worship. I do not pray to evil.

    She wrote me back sickened by what she unknowingly sent on. I don’t think she will ever send a chain letter on without reading it again.

    Islamophobia, it’s real. I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it in myself. I hope I am past it but fear is an insidious thing. I am here to learn and grow and am thankful for the Muslim presence here on SP, disagreements aside. Without you, and your wisdom, I would be far more ignorant.

    Shekah

  27. Avatar

    Jonathan Constantine

    December 12, 2007 at 12:45 PM

  28. Avatar

    DrM

    December 12, 2007 at 4:07 PM

    I see the usual suspects are it again. There is no such thing as “radical Islam” a bogus term invented by the the judeofascists and subservient shabbos goys who gave us “Islamofascism.”
    Solomon2 is particular makes me laugh given that zionist criminals run from debate and impose censorship, whenever the tide is not in their favor. Cancellation of Desmond Tutu’s apperance University of Saint Thomas, Minnesota, anybody?
    People might take you seriously Constantine if you weren’t peddling radical websites like Freak Republic as sources for your anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. Constantly peddling 9/11 to commit terrorism around the world killing hundreds of thousands, and people wonder where “anti-Americanism” comes from.

  29. Avatar

    Solomon2

    December 12, 2007 at 6:06 PM

    My replies are getting trapped again.

  30. Avatar

    brae

    December 12, 2007 at 10:11 PM

    How about the Muslim community at large do the following:

    1. Focus their indignation on Muslims committing violent acts in the name of Islam, not on non-Muslims reporting on those acts.
    2. Renounce definitively not just “terrorism,” but any intention to replace the U.S. Constitution (or the constitutions of any non-Muslim state) with Sharia even by peaceful means.
    3. Teach Muslims the imperative of coexisting peacefully as equals with non-Muslims on an indefinite basis.
    4. Begin comprehensive international programs in mosques all over the world to teach against the ideas of violent jihad and Islamic supremacism.
    5. Actively work with Western law enforcement officials to identify and apprehend jihadists within Western Muslim communities.

    If Muslims do those five things, voila! “Islamophobia” will vanish.

  31. Avatar

    DrM

    December 13, 2007 at 1:10 AM

    The problem with that your neocon to do checklist, brae, is that it applies far more to judeofascists and useful shabbos goys.

    How about the judeofascists and co. at large do the following:

    1. Focus their indignation on jews committing violent acts in the name of judaism and Israel, not on Muslims resisting these terrorist acts.
    2. Renounce definitively not just zionism as an ideology, but any intention to attack and install puppet regimes in the Middle East and beyond.
    3. Cease supporting zionist terrorism and neocon imperial fantasies. All zionists must Israel and go back to the countries of their origin.
    4. Begin comprehensive international programs in evangelical Churches and Synagogues all over the world to teach against the ideas of violent milhemet mitzna and Jewish supremacism.
    5. Actively work with law enforcement officials to identify and apprehend zionist operatives within Western governments.

    If judeofascists and shabbos goys do these five things, voila! “anti-Americanism” will vanish. Try again Shlomo.

  32. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    December 13, 2007 at 1:33 AM

    Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad Peace be upon him ) till you follow their religion. Say: “Verily, the Guidance of Allah (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) that is the (only) Guidance. And if you (O Muhammad Peace be upon him ) were to follow their (Jews and Christians) desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e. the Quran), then you would have against Allah neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper. (2:120)

  33. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    December 13, 2007 at 1:37 AM

    brae – i found this point of yours interesting:

    “Teach Muslims the imperative of coexisting peacefully as equals with non-Muslims on an indefinite basis.”

    as long as you are looking down upon muslims through your ethnocentric lens, no matter what we say, we will never be equals, as you will always be trying to degrade and subjugate muslims.

    and as dr. m mentioned – that advice is better served in places like israel where the terrorism is state sponsored.

  34. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    December 13, 2007 at 1:39 AM

    jonathan – that hooked nose thing is a political cartoon of ariel sharon..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariel_sharon#Sabra_and_Shatila_massacre

    that guys picture should be next to the word terrorist in the dictionary

  35. Avatar

    just a brother

    December 13, 2007 at 9:19 PM

    Salaam:

    First of all, I will be saying something controversial, that I guess most people will vehemently disagree with, but please hear me out, because I truly believe that we as Muslims must look in the mirror, and take “some” blame for the rise of these Islamiphobes and their behavior. I say “some” blame because I DO NOT condone their Islamiphobia, I DO NOT agree with their outlook, their view of the world, the reprehensible things they say (I can’t stand listening to these idiot fascists such as Michael “Weiner” Savage, Sean “let’s bomb another Muslim country for sake of the zionist entity” Hannity, etc.), nor can I spend more than five seconds on any of these anti-Muslim websites. Nor do I at all agree with any of theses bigots in any of their philosophies, agenda, or plans, for instance, more Crusader-zionist wars against Muslims or Muslim countries, such as Iran.

    I preface by saying all of that because I know I may get a lot of criticism for saying what I am going to say.

    Let’s start with this. Let’s look at what many Muslims are doing and saying. You have many, many Muslims saying the same exact things the Islamiphobic bigots are saying. Do you not agree? It’s very ironic, and very sad indeed! THE SAME EXACT THINGS. Many shuyookh and ‘ulema and even the common brother/sister will go on and on about how evil all of the non-Muslims are, how evil, wicked the ideology of the Yahood and Nasara religions are, how our deen has nothing in coming with these false man-made, detestable so-called religions, or with the people that follow these “deens.” And like the Islamiphobic bigots, they will go on and on about how us Muslims should never use the term “Abrahamic” religions, as this gives validity to these false ideologies of the non-Muslims. Do you not agree that the extremist zionists, neocons and pro-Crusader types do not also say the same exact thing, accept the other way around?

    Now about the so-called clash of civilizations. The so-called “Western” civilization is seen by many Muslims (both layperson and ‘ulema) as totally, 100% evil, disgusting, filled with nothing but shaytanic ideas, and as nothing but the extreme opposite of what Allah (swt) has told us what is good, and pleasing to Him, etc. Do you not agree?

    You will see many Muslims say that YES, al-Islam IS a religion of violence and terrorism. No, I don’t mean on the battlefield as Allah (swt) tells us to defend ourselves with terror against the terror of the enemies who are fighting, and persecuting us. They will say, point blank that Islam is a religion of violence and TERROR, and that all Muslims should be very proud of this. One of the so-called “shaykhs” wrote an essay stating that “whoever denies that terror is not a part of Islam is a kaafir,” or something to that effect. They will go on and on about how the blood and wealth of non-Muslim civilians is halaal. Of course the “terror” that these extremists are talking about are operations such as the London attacks, the Madrid attacks, the Bali attacks, etc., and pretty much ANY killing of any non-Muslim civilian. (They will quote ad nauseam Shaykh ‘Uthaymeens’ (rahimahullah) famous/infamous fatwa that says killing women and children non-combatants is allegedly “permissible” according to al-qisaas) They are talking about the the fact that ALL kuffar should be very fearful and terrified when he/she sees a Muslim walking down the street. They are saying that they want all of the non-Muslims to hate Muslims, and they want all Muslims to hate non-Muslims. I mean, let’s keep it real, if I had a nickel for each time I heard or read about these brothers going on and on and on about the concept of al-wala wa bara (and they use extreme examples)…. well you know what I’m saying.

    We have the self identified so-called “real” Muslims saying the EXACT same things as the extremist non-Muslim Islamiphobic types… That the REAL Muslims are exactly like “shaykh” Osama and all of his followers and every Muslim who shares this type of “extremist” ideology. They say that anyone who disagrees with their so-called “shuyookh,” and followers, or say that any of these operations that they fanatically support are “haraam” and unIslamic, are nothing but “traitors,” very naive, misguided, pro-tawagheet “dupes,” hypocrites, etc., that is if we are laypeople, and if scholars, SubhanAllah, you are lucky if takfeer is not made on them, as they will in essence call these people evil, palace, “pro-taghoot” scholars, deserving Allah’s wrath, etc.

    My point is that we need to look in the mirror, place some blame on ourselves, and NOT sweep things under the rug. We need to admit that we have many Muslims that are saying, believing in, and more importantly DOING many, many crazy, evil, UNISLAMIC things that do nothing except give much, much ammunition to the Islamiphobes, their supporters, and their agenda.

  36. Pingback: Islamophobia : It Exists « Muslim in Suffer

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  45. Avatar

    Janet

    November 16, 2009 at 2:56 PM

    “Islamphobes” are not some kind of united entity with a mission. The expression has been made up to shame people who have reacted to Islamic terrorism with fear: maybe they will be next, maybe they can’t trust their Muslim workmates, maybe those Muslims who say they are going to take over the world and subjugate the unbelievers wiil succeed, and all we have read about in the history of Islamic expansion is going to happen. Well, why not? It could happen. Islamic expansion tends to occer with violence, or if not violence, extreme pressure to convert.

    Islamophobia is a cleverly-devised word as it puts the onus on the person who is feeling fear rather than the people who are being frightening. All kinds of things are frightening, but my fear of them does not make me some kind of lunatic.

    Islamophobia is an agenda-laden word, designed to shame people and make them feel ithat they are irrational. When salesman try to sell me a new product, I am wary of his friendliness, but I don’t have a “phobia” about salesmen. I am not impressed by Islam’s message, and surely that is my right. But I am fearful because in many ways I am being told I HAVE TO buy the product, sooner or later. I don’t want buy it, and I don’t want to live by Islamic rules. But my mind is sound.

    Anti-Semitism is dislike of Jews. The word does not IMPLY inherent irrationality; it simply means dislike of Jews. It is racial. Islamophobia is a new, politically-correct concept ,meaning not “dislike” but excessive fear bordering on mania. But it is fear of something which has shown itself to be frightening. It has come about with the post-colonial resurgence of Islam, some adherents of which take great delight in being frightening to the rest of us. When people I know are NOT disturbed by Muslims carrying nasty banners in the street, shouting for the beheading of those who insult Islam, etc, I worry that we are not taking the threat of radical Islam seroiusly enough because we want to appear “cool”.

    I am not “cool”. I am wary of totalitarianism, religious or otherwise. Call me what you like.

  46. Avatar

    Janet

    November 16, 2009 at 3:18 PM

    Amad, to say that 9/11 was “God-sent” to the right -wing to help spread anti-Islam thinking is truly outrageous. I can only suggest you are seeing things through your own warped lens; and this surely furthers the idea, for me at least, that Islamophobia is an idea with merit. I had better not look at this site any more, because I might start to hate Muslims!

  47. Pingback: Updated-2 | In the Wake of "Obsession" Hate-DVDs: Muslim Children Gassed in Ohio Mosque | Sabbah Report

  48. Avatar

    Garo

    October 26, 2010 at 2:26 AM

    Amad,

    It is an excellent article for being so precise in definition and analysis. I enjoyed reading it. Thank you for the opportunity.

    Although you are correct in saying that the tragic events of 9/11 were “God-Sent” for the neoconservatives,expect a total rejection of your statement by people who think and believe like Janet.

    • Amad

      Amad

      October 26, 2010 at 7:54 AM

      Thanks, I hope I get to part-2 onwards some day :)

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#Culture

Retire Aladdin To The Ends Of The Earth

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By Jinan Shbat

I grew up in an upper-middle-class suburb in Ohio, where I never felt different than the kids in my neighborhood. Sure, my siblings and I had odd-sounding names, and we spoke a second language. But to our neighbors and classmates, we were white, like them. However, that perception changed when I was 11-years-old, when a Disney cartoon movie named “Aladdin,” was released based off of a character created by a French orientalist at the height of Orientalism. At first, my siblings and I were excited because we thought Disney had made a movie that represented us. However, shortly after the movie came out, the questions began.

Are you from Agrabah?

Do you have a magic carpet? Are you going to be married off to someone your parents choose? Do you have outfits like Jasmine?” My head was swarming with all these questions, and I admit, I was intimidated. A little scared, too. I didn’t know how to answer them, and so I just shook my head and walked away.

My parents thought they were doing us a favor by buying the movie and have us watch it anytime other kids came over to play. This just created a larger divide between us, and soon my siblings and I were the “other.” It made me hyper-aware of my brown skin, my visiting foreign grandparents, and my weird-sounding name that no one could ever pronounce correctly. As I grew up, the movie and its racist, Orientalist tropes followed and haunted me. Anytime anyone found out I was Arab, they would ask, “oh, like Aladdin?” I didn’t know how to answer that. Was Aladdin Arab? South Asian, Persian? These were all different ethnicities, yet the movie seemed to be an amalgamation of them all, set in a fiction land I could not identify.

Why is Disney’s Aladdin Harmful?

It may not seem like a big deal to be misidentified in this way, but it is. And these stereotypes that have been present in Hollywood for decades are a huge disservice to our communities- all our communities- because when you misidentify a person’s culture, you are saying that all people of color are interchangeable— which is dehumanizing.

With the new release of the live action version, “Aladdin” is reinforcing the trauma and obstacles we have had to fight for the last 30+ years. The addition of a diversity consulting firm made Disney look good; it showed good faith on their part to receive feedback on the script to try and improve it.

However, issues remain with the original story itself, and no amount of consulting will change that.

Although the Aladdin remake was marked by controversy over Disney “brown-facing” its white cast, and despite original Aladdin’s racist history, last weekend Disney’s live-action version soared to $207.1 million globally. Money experts tell us that the remake success comes from the “power of nostalgia”- that is, the film’s ability to connect with feel-good memories.

The original production is the second highest grossing film project in Disney history. Last weekend, millions flocked to the remake in record numbers, despite critics’ negative and mixed reviews.

The accompanying Aladdin Jr. play is also a major concern, sales of which will skyrocket because of the film. Disney only recently removed the word ‘barbaric’ in its description of Arabs in the opening song. Many more problems abound, but Disney promises through its licensing company, Music Theatre International, to keep the concepts explored in the original production intact.

A Whole New World Needs Less Anti-Muslim Bigotry

From my perspective, as an organizer that fights a huge Islamophobia network in my daily work, it would be a disservice to my work and our community to sit by and allow racist, Islamophobic, orientalist tropes to make their way into our theaters, homes, and schools. What exactly is not a big deal in this movie? The depiction of Arabs and South Asians as one demographic, the storyline of forced marriage, power struggles, a black man playing a genie literally bound by chains to a lamp?

Hollywood’s history of Islamophobia needs to be rectified. There is a plethora of writers, actors and creative minds with alternative positive portrayals of Muslims, Arabs and South Asians. Our consumer appetite must shift to embrace authentic stories and images about people like me.

Aladdin is beyond repair; in its original form, it is problematic. No number of meetings with executives will fix the problems that are still prevalent. It should be retired, indefinitely, and put on the shelf with all the other racist caricatures from Hollywood history.

It’s our duty to speak out- and if you don’t believe we should, then you can choose to stay silent. I cannot.

Jinan Shbat is an organizer in Washington DC.

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#Current Affairs

Faith Community Stands With Peace And Justice Leader Imam Omar Suleiman During Right Wing Attacks

Hena Zuberi

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In a follow up to the right-wing media platforms attack on Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists, as well as criticism of Israel policies, Faith Forward Dallas issued a statement.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanksgiving Square – Faith Leaders United for Peace and Justice is a Texas-based interfaith organization that has worked on many initiatives with Imam Omar Suleiman.

The statement reads:

“Imam Omar Suleiman a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice!!!!!

Time after time in our city, in the United States and around the world, Imam Omar Suleiman has been a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice. When others seek to divide, he calls for unity. Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square works to unite faith leaders for justice and compassion. Imam Suleiman has been a trusted leader among us. In the wake of his beautiful prayer to open the House of Representatives on May 9, he has received threats of violence and words of vilification when instead he should have our praise and prayers. We call upon people of good will everywhere to tone down the rhetoric, to replace hate with love, and to build bridges toward the common good.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square”

Commenters on the Faith Forward Dallas statement have left comments of support.

The group has invited locals and other leaders to endorse and share the statement. “Endorsed! I love and fully you Imam Omar Suleiman!” wrote Karen Weldes Fry, Spiritual Director at Center of Spiritual Learning in Dallas (CSLDallas), commenting on the statement.

Some commentators do not understand the manufactured controversy.  Heather Mustain writes, “What people are writing is so vile. They obviously didn’t even listen to his prayer!” Imam  Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives on May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas, TX.

“I’m grateful for the faith leaders with whom I’ve built relationships with and served with for years that have shown full support throughout this process. Together we’ve stood with one another in solidarity in the face of bigotry, and in the support of others in any form of pain. We will not let these dark forces divide us,” said Imam Omar Suleiman in response to the outpouring of love from the people he has worked with on the ground, building on peace, love, and justice.

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#Current Affairs

#UnitedForOmar – Imam Omar Suleiman Smeared by Right-Wing News After Opening Prayer at US House of Representatives

Zeba Khan

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Sh. Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives yesterday, May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas.

Immediately since, right wing media platforms have begun spreading negative coverage of the Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists as well as criticism of Israel policies.

News outlets citing the criticism have pointed to a post from The Investigative Project on Terrorism or ITP, as the source. The  ITP was founded by and directed by noted Islamophobe Steven Emerson. Emerson’s history of hate speech has been documented for over two decades.

Since then, the story has been carried forward by multiple press outlets.

The immediate consequence of this has been the direction of online hate towards what has been Imam Omar Suleiman’s long history of preaching unity in the US socio-political sphere.

“Since my invocation I’ve been inundated with hate articles, threats, and other tactics of intimidation to silence me over a prayer for unity,” Imam Omar Suleiman says. “These attacks are in bad faith and meant to again send a message to the Muslim community that we are not welcome to assert ourselves in any meaningful space or way.”

MuslimMatters is proud to stand by Imam Omar Suleiman, and we invite our readers to share the evidence that counters the accusations against him of anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate. We would also encourage you to reach out, support, and amplify voices of support like Representative E.B.Johnson, and Representative Colin Allred.

You can help counter the false narrative, simply by sharing evidence of Imam Omar Suleiman’s work. It speaks for itself, and you can share it at the hashtag #UnitedForOmar

JazakAllahuKheiran


A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam Walk Into a Church in Dallas

At an interfaith panel discussion, three North Texas religious leaders promoted understanding and dialogue among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Amid a vexed political and social climate, three religious leaders in North Texas—a priest, an imam, and a rabbi—proved it’s possible to come together in times of division. Source: DMagazine.com


Muslim congregation writes letters of support to Dallas Jewish Community

The congregation, led by Imam Omar Suleiman, penned more than 150 cards and letters. source: WFAA News


Historic action: Muslims and Jews for Dreamers

“We must recognize that the white supremacy that threatens the black and Latino communities, is the same white supremacy that spurs Islamophobia and antisemitism,” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Bend The Arc


Through Dialogue, Interfaith Leaders Hope North Texans Will Better Understand Each Other

“When any community is targeted, they need to see a united faith voice — that all communities come together and express complete rejection of anything that would pit our society against one another more than it already is.” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Kera News

 


Conversations at The Carter Center: Harmonizing Religion and Human Rights 

Source: The Carter Center


Imam: After devastating New Zealand attack, we will not be deterred

My wife and I decided to take our kids to a synagogue in Dallas the night after the massacre at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh to grieve and show solidarity with the Jewish community. My 5-year-old played with kids his age while we mourned inside, resisting hate even unknowingly with his innocence…” Source: CNN

 

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