September 01, 2011
Malik, the guy with the beard and funny accent who does oil
changes at the dealership? He’s hopped up on anti-U.S. rhetoric, courtesy of
the radical clerics who run his mosque. Rania, the friendly lady down the hall in
HR who always has candy for your kids? She’s surreptitiously slipping them
passages from the Quran. And Samir, that tight-lipped homeowner a few blocks
over? Neighbors say he’s been buying an awful lot of fertilizer lately….
The 9/11 atrocities wrought a bloody quagmire in Afghanistan, a slaughterhouse in Iraq,
and the Transportation Security Administration. But for professional
Muslim-haters, Mohamed Atta and his killer compatriots were good for business.
That’s the finding of the Center for American Progress (CAP), in
a new report, “Fear,
Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.” Wajahat Ali, Eli
Clifton, Matthew Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes, and Faiz Shakir investigated the
“so-called experts, academics, institutions, grassroots organizations, media
outlets, and donors who manufacture, produce, distribute, and mainstream an
irrational fear of Islam and Muslims.” The researchers found that just five
individuals -- Frank Gaffney, David Yerushalmi, Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer,
and Steven Emerson -- “are primarily responsible for orchestrating the majority
of anti-Islam messages polluting our national discourse.” The “scholars” received
over $40 million in donations from seven foundations between 2001 and 2009.
Islamophobia, which CAP defines as “exaggerated fear, hatred,
and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative
stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and
exclusion of Muslims from America’s social, political, and civic life,” has
plenty of conduits. Websites,
talk radio, and the
Channel ensure that millions of households are regularly exposed to it.
The Islamophobia network’s diatribes and conspiracy theories are
so absurd, they border on parody. But their effectiveness isn’t in question. “President
Obama’s a secret Muslim” is a perennial accusation -- and 18 percent of the
population concurs. The silly notion that Islamic law will soon infect U.S.
courts is another go-to canard, yet dozens of state legislatures have drafted,
and a few have enacted, anti-Sharia bills.
No incident embodied the media sophistication of Fear, Inc.
better than 2010’s “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy. The proposed Park51 community center, which
CAP explains will be “neither a mosque nor at Ground Zero,” attracted the ire
of nutbar Pamela Geller, the cofounder of “Stop Islamization of America.”
Protests followed, as did countless interviews with Geller and her allies, and
candidates running for federal office anywhere in the nation were forced, quite
preposterously, to take a position on a zoning matter in New York City.
Opportunistic pols won’t let Muslim-bashing go. Newt Gingrich
has made it a highlight of his campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential
nomination. CAP’s report notes that earlier this year, “Gingrich bizarrely
worried aloud that his two children would grow up in a ‘secular atheist
country, potentially dominated by radical Islamists,’ suggesting that the
country would be simultaneously run by Islamists and atheists.” Michele Bachmann
is also connected to the Islamophobia network. Herman Cain has recently
renounced the despicable comments he’s made about Muslims, an
about-face that brought disparagement from predictable sources.
Most disappointing of all, prominent religious leaders have
embraced anti-Muslim bigotry. Franklin Graham believes that “true Islam cannot
be practiced in this country.” Why not? “You can’t beat your wife. You cannot
murder your children if you think they’ve committed adultery or something like
that, which they do practice in these other countries.”
When it comes to national suicide, America’s dance card is full. The
birth rate, with a boost from legal abortion, is falling. Taxes are too high. Washington is insolvent,
and many state and local governments aren’t far behind. Welfarism -- schooling,
housing, food stamps, healthcare, “disability” checks -- is rampant. Forty
percent of children are born to unwed mothers. Corporate welfare showers tax
revenue on fashionable industries. The currency is constantly debased by a
largely unaccountable central bank. NIMBYism and junk science drive up the cost
of food, energy, and transportation. An unwinnable “War on Drugs” supercharges
the police state. Popular culture celebrates triviality, sloth, and ignorance.
In light of CAP’s thorough debunking of the Islamophobia
network’s specious claims, might a deal be brokered? Can neocons stop their
hysterical warnings about “Islamization,” if left-liberals will halt their
apocalyptic nonsense about manmade “climate change”?
No, neither ideology is likely to give up an idée fixe that garners so much funding
-- and so many votes. But reality-based Americans should ignore both fairy
tales, and confront genuine economic, security, cultural, and environmental threats.
D. Dowd Muska (www.dowdmuska.com) writes about government, economics, and technology. Follow him on Twitter @dowdmuska.
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