D. Dowd Muska


‘Islamization’ -- the Right’s Global Warming

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 Fox News 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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