Jihad Against Islam
America’s right wing is on a witch hunt, and they’re tying Muslims to the stake
Zina Saunders / www.zinasaunders.com
Rarely has the United States seen a more reckless and bare-knuckled campaign to vilify a distinct class of people and compromise their fundamental civil and human rights than the recent rhetoric against Muslims.
It would also be hard to imagine a more successful campaign. Since the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency in 2009, an astonishing number of people have turned into a political wolf pack, convinced that 0.6 percent of the U.S. population is on the verge of trampling the Constitution and imposing an Islamic, Shariah-guided caliphate in its place. Like the communists that an earlier generation believed to be hiding behind every rock, infiltrated “Islamist” operatives today are said to be diabolically preparing for a forcible takeover.
Recent news reports strongly suggest a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes. In May 2010, for example, a bomb exploded at an Islamic center in Jacksonville, Florida. In August, a man slashed the neck and face of a New York taxi driver after finding out he was a Muslim. Four days later, someone set fire to construction equipment at the future site of an Islamic center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In March 2011, a radical Christian pastor burned a Koran in Gainesville, Florida, leading to deadly riots in Afghanistan that left at least 20 people dead.
The American public psyche has undergone a subtle but profound metamorphosis since 2001, moving from initial rage at the 9/11 mass murder to fear of another devastating attack by Muslim extremists to, most recently, a more generalized fear of Islam itself. That evolution from specific concerns to general stereotyping is the customary track of racism and xenophobia—and those inclined to bigotry may have found their perfect bogeyman in Muslims.
Muslims are predominantly non-white. They practice an unfamiliar religion with unusual rituals. They are a small population in this land, with a largely inconspicuous history. They are regarded by many as a military enemy of the United States. They are perceived as a threat to the American social and cultural fabric. They have few ideological allies outside their own number. Never before have all of these factors been arrayed against an American minority group. Muslims also have one uniquely debilitating characteristic: a sliver of global Muslim society willing to resort to terrorism. It’s a small sliver, but it doesn’t need to be large. If 99.9 percent of the world’s Muslims were firmly dedicated to peace and nonviolence, that would still leave hundreds of thousands posing a legitimate and very significant public danger. It took only 19 jihadist terrorists, after all, to kill 2,977 innocent people on 9/11.
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