Creeping Islamophobia: the Rise of Hate

COOL HATE                                 
By; Zia Pacha Khan

The recent attempt to drive off the road a hijab-clad Muslim convert and her children by a person in a pick-up truck in Florida is symbolic of a bigger and growing problem in the United States: the concerted multi-pronged effort to demonize Muslims and drive them off from the collective socio-political spheres of the American life.  Such hateful actions do not happen in vacuum.  In fact they are a product of the incessant hate propagation by certain prejudice-driven individuals and organizations in the US, whose main aim is to create an exasperated fear of Islam, and thus drive the Muslims into alienation from their respective societies.   It is a well-established multi-million dollar hate enterprise with “scholars,” books, websites, lobbyists, strategists and propagandists out in full force to impose their obscure,  infectious profit-driven views about Islam on others––often on ones not so educated about Islam.

By using Creeping Sharia as a platform, such anti-Islam abomination and hostility has not only been successful in demonizing Islam, but also has created a top-down effect on societies, leading to the creation of large bands of brainwashed followers. And those misinformed bands of followers are deepening everyday politically, and are also multiplying in every way numerically.

The Center for American Progress released a report called Fear, Inc., which outlined the roots of the Islamophobia enterprise in America.  The report outlined the top foundations and wealthy donors that directly fund the anti-Islam groups and “misinformation experts” for a “variety of sinister political, financial, and ideological motives.” According to the report, more than $40 million flowed from the seven foundations over just 10 years since 2001.

Similarly, other studies and reports by advocacy organizations and institutions such as Political Research Association (PRA) make it clear that Islamophobia is creeping in a very perilous way into US politics and media­­––and especially into US security institutions.  The PRA report “Manufacturing the Muslim Menace,” finds that “public resources are being used to propagate this dangerous falsehood (Islamophobia) to the nation’s first responders, intelligence analysts and other public servants.” The report further states that “the religious and racial prejudice” has created an atmosphere where “public servants are regularly presented with misleading, inflammatory, and dangerous information about the nature of the terror threat through highly politicized seminars, industry conferences, trade publications, and electronic media.”  All this is done to falsely illustrate that the religion of Islam is the cause of terrorism and the non-existent creeping imposition of Sharia law in all corners of life.

By purporting to help secure US, they are actually making it less secure and less free. In fact, they (the Islamophobes) are slowly killing the US constitution and constricting all its civil liberties for minorities.  Their goal is to not only distort the true teachings of the Islamic Sharia itself but also to collectively blame Islam as the root cause of any problem anywhere at any time.  As such, Islamophobes like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer are spreading dangerous bias as well as augmenting cause of Islamic militant groups who claim that the West is at war with Islam.  The equivalent to this is how some extremist groups in the Muslim world tell their fellow Muslims about America being a single entity of infidelic creatures bent on world domination, while ignoring the vast majority of sincere folks that make up the US populace.  Ironically, the US is waging a bloody war on those kinds of extremist groups and what they promote, but yet the anti-Islam groups on the opposite side of the equally hateful spectrum are easily finding their ways into American institutions and establishments.

A growing number of self-proclaimed Islam experts have been especially working its way through the U.S. military, intelligence and law enforcement communities.  As a result, Islamophobia has crept into the Department of Defense (DoD) with an instructor teaching “total war” on Islam via “Hiroshima” tactics, harming civilian populations, and abandoning the Geneva Conventions.  Islamophobia has crept into the CIA, with training given by biased trainers with noted history of smear campaigns against American Muslims.  Islamophobia has also crept into ICE, with people like “Reverend” Hicham Chehab, head of the Chicagoland Lutheran Muslim Mission Association (CLMMA) training immigration officers on using hateful proselytizing-methods when engaged in Muslim communities.

Particularly disturbing is the Islamophobia creeping into the US military, an entity that has presence in hundreds of bases around the world, including in many Muslim-majority countries.  Because of the self-proclaimed experts teaching military personnel about Islam, there is also a growing crusader sub-culture in the military, as reported by Islamophobia Today.  Unfortunately many vulnerable members of the military have accepted and adopted the Islamophobic teachings propagated by the Islamophobes to the point that some service members have tattooed themselves and their gears with “Kafir” and “Infidel” labels.  They take to calling themselves infidels as a show of arrogant hatred towards Islam.  This is one of the by-products of Islamophobia, and has dangerous consequences once these indoctrinated men are sent to Muslim countries.  One simply has to wonder the kinds of acts that has, and will be committed by these individuals once they confront the Islamic “enemies,” described to them by the Islamophobes.

Why has such hatred of Islam become so prevalent? Truthfully, a large portion of the blame lies with the Muslims themselves.  Muslims have largely pursued the economic and educational opportunities in America (the West in general), and have essentially shunned the political and social aspects of life.  There is very little, if any, proactive engagement from Muslims.  Such kind of disengagement with the American public has left the door open for Islamophobes to fill in the gap of what Islam is.  Thus, the Islamophobes have successfully redirected the American public’s natural inquisition about Islam towards an egregiously distorted version of Islam––in hopes to descend America into a new form of anti-Islam McCarthyism; or a kind of Salem-style witchcraft hunt directed at Muslims.

It is evident that Muslims need a complete overhaul on how they engage with their respective non-Muslim communities.  The priority should be to positively reach out to the American public at large before the hateful demagogues do.  Moreover, they need to work with organizations like CAIR, which has been at the forefront of detecting and preventing Islamophobia in its initial stages.  Overall, more personal, social, educational and political engagement with the American public is needed to reduce the malignant growth of anti-Islam hatred.  Doing so will require the small Muslim community to firmly hold on to the steering wheel as the community moves forward on the American highway, without being intimidated by the creeping Islamophobes.

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