While the demonization of Arabs and Muslims in Hollywood movies and political and media disourse has been going on for decades, with the new Islamophobic New York ad campaign, hate mongering in America has crossed all limits
[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ystemic injustice is rife. It’s longstanding. Constitutional rights don’t matter. America’s First Amendment clearly states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Western discourse unfairly portrays Muslim/Arabs stereotypically as culturally inferior, dirty, lecherous, untrustworthy, religiously fanatical, and violent.
In his book, “Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People,” Jack Shaheen explained how they’ve been defamed for generations.
They’ve been vilified throughout decades of cinematic history. From silent films to recent ones.
Prejudicial attitudes are fostered. Notions of Western values, high-mindedness, and moral superiority are reinforced.
Slanderous media commentaries portray gun-toting terrorists. It’s the wrong time to be Muslims in America.
They’re victimized, vilified, and persecuted for their faith, ethnicity, prominence, activism, and charity.
Their rights are systematically denied. They’re denigrated for praying to the wrong God. They’re guilty by accusation.
They’re dehumanized, spied on, targeted, hunted down, rounded up, held in detention, kept in isolation, denied bail, restricted in their right to counsel, tried on secret evidence, convicted on bogus charges, imprisoned for false reasons, and treated harshly as political prisoners.
America’s MSM turn a blind eye. They ignore gross injustice. They regurgitate spurious accusations.
Innocence becomes guilt. Muslims are targets of choice. Hate-mongering is longstanding practice.
Muslims are war on terror scapegoats. Dirty war targets them unjustly. Waging war requires enemies. They’re created when none exist.
The Runnymede Trust calls itself Britain’s “leading independent race equality think tank.” It says Islamophobia is “a challenge for us all.”
Muslims are stereotypically mistreated. Dominant perceptions are damaging. They ignore vast complexities and differences in Muslim identities.
They mischaracterize Muslims disgracefully. They turn truth on its head. They do it for political reasons. They ignore reality. They cause enormous harm.
Islam is falsely characterized as:
- monolithic, static, and unresponsive to change;
- having differing values from other cultures and religions;
- being inferior to Western societies;
- barbaric, irrational, primitive, sexist, violent, aggressive, threatening, terror-prone, and ideologically different Western civilization;
- seeking political or military advantage;
- irrationally criticizing Western values;
- warranting discriminatory practices permitting exclusion from mainstream society; and
- believing anti-Muslim hostility is natural and normal.
Bernard Lewis is a notorious Islamophobe. So was the late Samuel Huntington. They promoted clash of civilization notions.
Huntington claimed Islamic fundamentalism isn’t Western societies’ underlying problem. It’s Islam.
It’s “a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power,” he claimed.
The late Edward Said criticized both men. He called their thinking “belligerent.”
He cited Huntington’s 1993 “The Clash of Civilizations” and Lewis’ 1990 “The Roots of Muslim Rage.”
He said both men treat Islam(ic) identity and culture in “cartoon-like” fashion. It’s similar to how “Popeye and Bluto bash each other mercilessly.”
The more “virtuous” one prevails. Huntington, Lewis and likeminded ideologues rely on stereotypes and gimmickry. They ignore reason. They shun reality.
Huntington claimed “Western ideas of individualism, liberalism, constitutionalism, human rights, equality, liberty, the rule of law, democracy, free markets, the separation of church and state, often have little resonance in Islamic societies.”
So-called Western values are polar opposite what Huntington claimed. Likeminded hate-mongers call Islam a religion of war, not peace.
In February 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft said it’s “a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him.”
“Christianity is a faith in which God sent his son to die for you.”
Edward Said contrasted a West/East dichotomy. He wrote about colonizers v. the colonized, “the familiar (Europe, West, us) and the strange (the Orient, East, them).”
The strong against the weak. The superior against the lesser. The belief that might makes right, no matter how misguided, destructive or hateful.
Islam mischaracterization is rife. It’s diverse, not monolithic.
It’s not inherently violent or intolerant. The term jihad is wrongfully used to connote holy war.
It refers to internally struggling to overcome personal weaknesses, as well as striving for self-preservation and defense.
Common notions turn truth on its head. Western societies spread democratic values, it’s claimed. Islam spawns terrorism.
Western societies must modernize, restrain and tame it. America’s choice is mass slaughter, destruction, colonization, exploitation and dominance.
Netanyahu lies saying “Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas.”
“They simply work in the same way,” he claims. “They are branches of the same poisonous tree.”
Israeli hardliners want Hamas destroyed. Vilifying its adherents is longstanding practice.
On September 20, RT International headlined “Hamas = ISIS? Anti-Islamic ad campaign to run on NYC buses,” saying: “A provocative ad campaign featuring anti-Islamic messages is to run on one hundred New York City buses and two subway stations beginning next week. Costing $100,000, it equates Hamas with Islamic State militants for ‘education purposes.’ “
It’s stereotypical hate-mongering. It’s fear-mongering. It’s waging war on Islam.
Big Lies substitute for truth. “Hamas is ISIS,” it says. “Islamic Jew Hatred: It’s in the Quran.”
It’s not in the Quran. It contains positive references about Children of Israel and Jewish history. Systemic Islamic Jew-hatred is nonexistent.
Many Jewish prophets are mentioned more often than the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Talking about the Torah, the Quran says:
“It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong).” (3:3)
“It was We who revealed the law (to Moses): therein was guidance and light…And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear God.” (5:44,46)
Talking about various prophets, it says:
“Say ye: “We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them, and to Him have we submitted ourselves.” (2:136)
“Behold, we have inspired thee (O Prophet) just as we inspired Noah and all the prophets after him — as We inspired Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants, including Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon; and as We vouchsafed unto David a book of divine wisdom.” (4:163)
“And We bestowed upon (Abraham) Isaac and Jacob, and We guided each of them as We had guided Noah aforetime.”
“And out of his offspring, (we bestowed prophethood upon) David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron: for thus do We reward the doers of good.”
“And upon Zachariah, John, Jesus, and Elijah: ever one of them was of the righteous; and (upon) Ishmael, Elisha, Jonah, and Lot: every one of them did We favor above other people.” (6: 84-86).
Yet the hateful ads demonizing Muslim Americans scream: “Hamas is CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations)”.
Islamophobes call the organization a cancer in US society. Its ideology is polar opposite these types of mischaracterizations.
CAIR actually seeks to “enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.”
One ad is titled “Yesterday’s Moderate is Today’s Headline.” It features a photo of London-based Muslim Abdel-Majed (aka Abdel Bary) with the caption “Executioner who beheaded a reporter before he became a jihadist.”
An image of journalist James Foley in an orange jumpsuit appears alongside a hooded man before his execution.
It’s captioned “Executioner who beheaded a reporter after being devout.” British intelligence claims Abdel-Majed is the executioner.
Language along the ad’s bottom says “It’s not Islamophobia. It’s Islamorealism.”
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) claimed First Amendment law requires these type ads be run.
Pamela Geller’s ‘Stop Islamization of America’ ran them. SIOA is known as the American Freedom Initiative or Freedom Defense Initiative.
It’s an Islamophobic, hate-mongering organization.
Geller lied calling it “a human rights entity dedicated to the freedom of speech, which is under attack, as well as to the freedom of religion and to individual rights.”
New York’s MTA initiated a new policy. Ads continue. A disclaimer says they don’t reflect transit authority opinions.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tried having things both ways. On the one hand, he called Islamophobic ads “outrageous, inflammatory and wrong, and have no place in New York City or anywhere.”
On the other, he’s done nothing to counter them through public service announcements, other responsible messages or city policy.
Hate-mongering continues unabated. Proliferating it benefits the global war on Islam. It rages out-of-control. It shows no signs of ending.
It reflects our permanent war policy and war on humanity. It’s merciless slaughter of millions for unchallenged dominance. It’s longstanding. It shows no signs of ending.
Wars ravage one country after another. Humanity is ruthlessly targeted.
Battlefields shift from one theater to another. Rule of law principles do not matter. Nor do democratic values and human and civil rights.
Might justifies right. It’s the American way.
All opinions and views expressed in columns and blogs are those of individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Caravan