October 26, 2010

Islamophobia just like Stephen's

In Stephen's Bigotry Against Muslims, we saw reader Stephen M.'s own words condemned him as a bigot. Now let's see what other right-wing bigots have to say on the subject.

If you can tell the difference between their views and Stephen's, e-mail me and let me know what it is. Because their views sound exactly like Stephen's to me.

National Day of Prayer:  Franklin Graham Deserved to Be BootedFranklin Graham, a brand-name evangelist (as the son of Billy Graham), has repeatedly denigrated Islam--not Islamic fundamentalists who engage in terrorism, but the entire religion. In 2001, after 9/11, Graham said that Islam "is a very evil and wicked religion." Five years later, he told ABC News this was still his view. He added, "Do they want to indoctrinate me? Yes. I know about Islam. I don't need an education from Islam. If people think Islam is such a wonderful religion, just go to Saudi Arabia and make it your home." And in an CNN interview last year, Graham reiterated this sentiment, calling Islam a "very violent religion."Fox News' Islam problemFox News' recent rush to defend Rev. Franklin Graham, who described Islam as a "wicked" and "evil" religion, including hosting him on Fox & Friends, is just the latest example of Fox News' relentless crusade against Muslims. The network has a history of making controversial assertions about Muslims--often by baselessly branding them as "terrorists" or "terrorist sympathizers"--calling for profiling, or equating Islam and all of its adherents with radical extremists who claim to act in its name.Mosque Ado About Fear-Mongering:  Right Wing Takes on Muslim Worship Anywhere and EverywhereLong story short: It's starting to become clear that some conservative groups think that if Muslims are able to worship on American soil, the terrorists have won.

In big cities and small rural communities, from New York to Tennessee to California, the right-wing fear machine is spinning up to take on the construction of mosques and Muslim community centers. In each case, the argument is essentially the same, when the hedging is peeled away: you don't necessarily have to exercise your freedom of religion in the privacy of your own home, but hey, you can't do it in public here either.
Top Social Conservative:  'No More Mosques, Period'Bryan Fischer, the "Director of Issues Analysis" for the American Family Association, wrote a blog post yesterday on the AFA's site arguing that the United States should have "no more mosques, period."

"This is for one simple reason," he writes. "Each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government."

Fischer, who is scheduled to speak at the Value Voters Summit in September alongside Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Mitch McConnell, and a host of other Republican politicians, writes that every mosque "is a potential jihadist recruitment and training center, and determined to implement the 'Grand Jihad.'" He adds that "because of this subversive ideology, Muslims cannot claim religious freedom protections under the First Amendment. They are currently using First Amendment freedoms to make plans to destroy the First Amendment altogether."
Rallies over mosque near ground zero get heatedSigns hoisted by hundreds of protesters standing behind police barricades read "SHARIA"--using dripping, blood-red letters to describe Islam's Shariah law. Around the corner, NYPD officers guarded a cordoned-off stretch of Park Place occupied by the old building that is to become the Islamic center.

Steve Ayling, a 40-year-old Brooklyn plumber who took his "SHARIA" sign to a dry spot by an office building, said the people behind the mosque project are "the same people who took down the twin towers."

Opponents demand that the mosque be moved farther from the site where nearly 3,000 people were killed on Sept. 11, 2001. Ayling said, "They should put it in the Middle East," and added that he still vividly remembers watching television on 9/11 "and seeing people jumping from the towers, and ashes falling on my house."
Fallout of Hate Is Spreading Across America from 9/11 Site

The hysteria over a planned Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan is only the tip of the iceberg.

By Joshua Holland
One thing is clear: the feverish discourse about Muslims’ role in American society is not about the proposal to build an Islamic community center a couple of blocks from the World Trade Center site. Park 51, as it’s being called, merely let an ugly genie out of the bottle. The dark stain of Islamophobia had spread far and wide long before the controversy erupted.

In May, a man walked into the Jacksonville Islamic Center in Northeast Florida during evening prayers and detonated a pipebomb. ... It was the most serious of a series of incidents in which mosques far from the supposedly hallowed earth of Ground Zero have been targeted. A mosque in Miami, Florida, was sprayed with gunfire last year. Mosques have been vandalized or set aflame in Brownstown, Michigan; Nashville, Tennessee; Arlington, Texas (where the mosque was first vandalized and then later targeted by arsonists); Taylor, South Carolina; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Eugene, Oregon; Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Tempe, Arizona; and in both Northern and Southern California. A mosque in a suburb of Chicago has been vandalized four times in recent years.
Why so much Islamophobia?

Islamophobia died down a few years after 9/11. Why is it reappearing now?

More on IslamophobiaI think there is actually a pretty basic explanation for why the seeming rise in Islamophobia in the last year or so. One of the few issues that I had to give George W Bush credit for was his refusal to demonize Islam as a whole and his rejection of the Islamophobes, many (if not virtually all) of which were in his own Party. His being President and the nominal head of the GOP basically kept a lid on many of the fanatical Islamophobes and the few who did rear their ugly heads (Tancredo, Bachmann and others) were essentially kept away from the Party and to some degree the media (by being told to keep their mouths basically shut on the issue or just being ignored by the media because they were viewed as merely the fringe).

However the transition from Obama to Bush has unleashed the beast if you will. The Islamophobes no longer have anyone from up high to keep them quiet. The weak leadership of Steele, McConnell, etc. offers no resistance to the rather outrageous and flat out bigotry towards Muslims that has come forward on the last year and a half. Combine that with the paranoia, racism and xenophobia that leads to the widespread belief that Obama is himself a Muslim and the lunatics feel both unrestrained and a greater sense of desperation because their worst nightmares are supposedly coming true (keep in mind many of these folks are grossly ignorant and VERY paranoid). Whenever Obama makes a statement similar to the numerous statements W made about about Islam it is painted by the right wing (including FoxNews and talk radio) as evidence that Obama is somehow pro-Islamist, apologizing, pro-terrorist, surrendering ... whatever, take your pick. Before such rhetoric would not only be condemned by the W Administration but it would be an untenable open split with a GOP Administration.

The combination of the exit of Bush and the entrance of Obama I believe can explain the rise of the demagogues and their rhetoric. It isn't that their is necessarily a greater number of Islamophobes, but that they (the ones who already existed) are no longer being contained by political forces and realities greater than them. And because of that politicians and talking heads who see political benefit from pandering to these base instincts and ignorance are now free to do as they like.
Comment:  To his "credit," I think reader Stephen was bigoted long before Obama came to office. He isn't an opportunist like professional haters such as Gingrich and Palin; he sincerely believes his bigoted beliefs.

For more on the subject, see Terrorists Oppose Foreign Occupation and Conservative Bigotry Against Islam.

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