There seems to be a growing number of people, especially on the right who reject the idea of Islamophobia; they either say it’s justified since modern-day terrorism is perpetrated by Islamic extremists or that it flat-out doesn’t exist because it’s somehow impossible to be prejudice against a religion (this second defence makes no sense whatsoever). I’m going to show you why both of these rationalisations are wrong and regardless of what people on the right think, Islamophobia is alive and well in contemporary society. Not only that, but I’ll outline why Islamophobia is without a doubt a form of prejudice, and yes, Islamophobes are in fact racists.
Firstly, let’s tackle the assumption that there’s a huge problem with Islam itself, that Muslims are somehow more likely to be terrorists than any other demographic, hence the justified “fear” of Islam. This standpoint is simply wrong. From 1980 to 2005 the FBI’s own database shows that Muslims haven’t committed the most terrorist acts in the United States, in fact the majority of terrorism has been committed by non-Muslims. In this FBI report, it also shows that there were more acts of terrorism in the good ol’ 80s than the 00s, and yet the 80s are a time that people look back with fondness (and forgetfulness it seems)…
Another time that everybody looks back with a sense of rose-tinted nostalgia is the 90s, a decade that most people in the West think was free of terrorism. Well, if these amnesic morons mean free of “Islamic terrorism” they’d be kind of right because during that time almost all terrorists, especially in America, were white, right-wing men. In the 90s there were the likes of Timothy McVeigh, Charles Ray Polk, Willie Ray Lampley, John Dare Baird, Ray Hamblin, Larry Wayne Shoemake, Eric Robert Rudolph, John Pitner, Charles Barbee, Robert Berry, Jay Merelle, Floyd “Ray” Looker, former Marine Ricky Salyers, Brendon Blasz, Carl Jay Waskom Jr., Shawn Dee Adams, Catherine Adams, Edward Taylor Jr., Todd Vanbiber, William Robert Goehler, Bradley Playford Glover, Chevie Kehoe, Cheyne Kehoe, Daniel Lee, James Charles Kopp, Benjamin Matthew Williams, James Tyler Williams, Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, Buford Furrow, James Kenneth Gluck, Donald Rudolph, Charles Dennis Kiles, and Kevin Ray Patterson. I don’t recall the same amount of hoo-ha about Militia members and white-supremacist neo-nazis in the 90s. It looks to me like white people who use guns and bombs to kill or injure, even stock-piling explosives, they’re apparently not terrorists in most people’s eyes.
This is not just a trait of the 90s, in the 00s, a time when Islamic terrorism was supposed to have grown to epic proportions, there were people such as Klan leader Charles Robert Barefoot Jr., Michael Edward Smith, Robert J. Goldstein, David Wayne Hull, William J. Krar, Sean Gillespie, Ivan Duane Braden, Demetrius “Van” Crocker, Bradley T. Kahle, Jim David Adkisson, Daniel Cowart, Paul Schlesselman, James G. Cummings, Frazier Glenn Miller, Larry Steve McQuilliams, Charles Carl Roberts IV, Dylann Roof, Allen Lawrence “Lance” Scarsella III, Nathan Gustavsson, Daniel Macey, Joseph Backman, Joseph Garguilo, Curtis Allen, Gavin Wright, and Patrick Stein. These are just some of the white, predominately right-wing terrorists in the United States, but what about worldwide? Surely there’s more Muslim terrorists if you take into account the Middle East and Africa? Well, I came across an article on Huffington Post that tackles this issue, the writer points out among other things that the percentage of terrorists to Muslims is minuscule…
“There have been 140,000 terror attacks committed worldwide since 1970. Even if Muslims carried out all of these attacks, those terrorists would represent less than 0.00009 percent of all Muslims. To put things into perspective, this means that you are more likely to be struck by lightening in your lifetime than a Muslim is likely to commit a terrorist attack during that same timespan.”
…I think that’s pretty conclusive.
With this kind of evidence around, it really makes you wonder what the fuck the right are reading and watching. The mainstream news loves to ignore these statistics, from CNN to Fox News, they all make it look like Muslims are some kind of major threat, very reminiscent of the anti-Japanese and anti-Communist fear-mongering of the past. All this modern-day scare-mongering reminds me of that Bill Hicks joke; “You ever watch CNN for longer than, say, 20 hours in one day? I gotta cut that out. Watch CNN. It’s the most depressing thing you’ll ever see, man… ‘WAR, FAMINE, DEATH, AIDS, HOMELESS, RECESSION, DEPRESSION, WAR, FAMINE, DEATH, AIDS’ over and over again. Then you look out your window [crickets chirping] where’s all this shit going on, man?”
Regardless of the facts however, people still seem to be living in constant fear of a threat that is largely unfounded. This is due for the most part to the mainstream news outlets who yell “terrorism” every time a person of colour commits a violent act but who subtly insert terms like “Lone Wolf” into their report every time a white person commits a similar act of violence. This has resulted in the public thinking there’s some kind of epidemic specifically with Islamic terror.
The subsequent Islamophobia that has taken root in contemporary society could be partly responsible for the likes of Robert Doggart who was planning to burn down a New York Mosque. Then there was Jewish Defense League chairman Irving David Rubin and a follower, Earl Leslie Krugel, who were arrested and charged with conspiring to bomb the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City. Krugel said “Arabs needed a wake-up call and the JDL needed to do something to one of their filthy mosques”. This to me sounds like there’s an argument to be made for the link between the media’s promotion of Islamic terrorism following 9/11 and the creation of further terrorism. If someone saw fit to blame the media for influencing these two potential terrorists, they’d have a hard time banning or censoring let’s say, Fox News, but say it’s the Quran or Islam’s fault and people are okay with Muslims being profiled and mosques being surveilled.
This neatly leads me to the other statement many people on the right make, that the Quran is a violent book which transforms it’s readers into terrorists and makes its followers wage wars on the West. Now unlike other people, I’m not going to pretend that I’ve read The Qur’an, but then again I haven’t read The Torah, The Talmud, The Vedas, The Guru Granth Sahib, The Tripitakas, or The New and Old Testaments in their entirety either. Anyone who claims they have I’m always dubious about, especially when they cherry pick passages to prove their already formed opinion. You’re telling me that some sun-burnt twat wearing an England football shirt is some religious scholar? Go online and there’s masses of morons claiming the Quran says so and so should do such and such but it’s all an interpretation by someone with bias. And let’s not forget that murder is committed in the name of many things. ‘The Catcher In The Rye’ by J.D. Salinger is a book that was owned by John Hinkley Jr. (the attempted assassin of Ronald Reagan), it was also owned by Robert John Bardo and he killed model and actress Rebecca Shaeffer, and Mark David Chapman (the killer of John Lennon) was found with the very same book in which he’d written “This is my statement”. So like the right-wing’s opinion of the Quran, should we also say that this book promotes violence and condones shooting too or can we see that psychopaths can and will be influenced by anything? It also has to be taken into account that the media always rushes to demonise art when someone commits a violent crime; the movie ‘The Matrix’ and singer ‘Marilyn Manson’ were both blamed for the Columbine Shooting, the film ‘Child’s Play’ was blamed for the killing of James Bulger, Rock group Judas Priest was blamed for a suicide pact, and it has been reported that serial killer Richard Ramirez said AC/DC’s song ‘Night Prowler’ inspired him to commit murder. But, whether these films and performers indirectly influenced people to kill, we can all agree that it’s never the fault of a book, a film, or piece of music, it’s the individual’s interpretation of it. If ‘The Matrix’, ‘Child’s Play’, and ‘The Catcher In The Rye’ didn’t exist are you seriously telling me that these crimes wouldn’t have happened? No, that would be ludicrous to assume. The same thing therefore should apply to the Quran.
The hatred for this particular Muslim holy book has really taken hold with the far-right. In this article for The Sun Newspaper, it is reported that a woman who urinated on and then set fire to the Quran has been sent to prison in Slovakia. A comment below the article reads…
“So this woman does a wonderful job of what we think about that crappy book, and is facing jail time because of it? Muslims have been doing this to the Bible for years and burning our flag and poppies etc etc and nothing gets remotely said/done about it”
…Whose “we”? Drumming up hatred between Christians and Muslims are we? I hope this is a troll and not an actual viewpoint – Our flag, Our Poppies? The flag which he’s referring to is the Union Jack and it represents Britain and all the people who live here, even if he was talking about the St. George’s Cross, that too represents a country not a specific religion. The poppy is a symbol of the soldiers who died in the first and second world wars which let’s point out right now, many different ethnicities and religions including Muslims served and died in. What a fucking imbecile.
Online you’ll come across masses of venomous hatred towards Islam. If you want a taste of what I’m talking about, just go on Twitter after a terror attack and amidst the hollow sentiments urging you to “pray for the victims” there’s always masses of Islamophobia. On that note, even when an act of terror is perpetrated by someone other than a Muslim, there’ll be people (including those working for mainstream news corporations) who will rush to incorrectly say it’s a “Middle Eastern” or a “Muslim” just like they did with the Oklahoma Bombing and the Quebec Mosque Attack…
…This type of erroneous reporting shows how the media is partly responsible for the rise in Islamophobia, but people will still try to avoid the blatant prejudice that surrounds not only contemporary terrorism but society in general. If for instance, a newspaper posts an article about an actual Islamophobic attack (in this case a drunken man grabbing a woman’s hijab) the reply section will always try to deflect from the obvious hate-crime and try to garner support for their own non-existent cause. Under this particular article, the first comment reads…
“Wonder if he’d get a prison sentence if he pulled a crucifix from a Catholic’s neck?”
…Now firstly, that’s an idiotic thing to say because we’re living, for all intents and purposes, in a white country with white people making the law. Why are you blaming the victim for an arrest made by white British Police officers and a sentence dished out by white British Courts? If you want to go out and snatch a crucifix from a Catholic’s neck to test out your moronic theory about consistency within the law, why not go out and do it? You chicken-shit prick.
Every now and again however, there is a sane comment amongst all the bigotry. In this article titled “White People Are The Biggest Terror Threat in The U.S.” there is the typical anti-left, anti-media sentiment in the replies section (some of which is warranted) but right at the bottom there is a brilliant comment which reads:
1. White terrorists are called “gunmen.” What does that even mean? A person with a gun? Wouldn’t that be, like, everyone in the US? Other terrorists are called, like, “terrorists.”
2. White terrorists are “troubled loners.” Other terrorists are always suspected of being part of a global plot, even when they are obviously troubled loners.
3. Doing a study on the danger of white terrorists at the Department of Homeland Security will get you side lined by angry white Congressmen. Doing studies on other kinds of terrorists is a guaranteed promotion.
4. The family of a white terrorist is interviewed, weeping as they wonder where he went wrong. The families of other terrorists are almost never interviewed.
5. White terrorists are part of a “fringe.” Other terrorists are apparently mainstream.
6. White terrorists are random events, like tornadoes. Other terrorists are long-running conspiracies.
7. White terrorists are never called “white.” But other terrorists are given ethnic affiliations.
8. Nobody thinks white terrorists are typical of white people. But other terrorists are considered paragons of their societies.
9. White terrorists are alcoholics, addicts or mentally ill. Other terrorists are apparently clean-living and perfectly sane.
10. There is nothing you can do about white terrorists. Gun control won’t stop them. No policy you could make, no government program, could possibly have an impact on them. But hundreds of billions of dollars must be spent on police and on the Department of Defence, and on TSA, which must virtually strip search 60 million people a year, to deal with other terrorists.
The other thing I always hear both the left and right say is “why aren’t there more Muslims condemning terrorism?”. To them I say “Why aren’t there more Westerners condemning the latest drone attack which killed innocent civilians abroad?”. It is possible to be a. saddened by an act of violence but also not want to air your views publicly or b. not give a fuck but at the same time not sympathise with terrorists. If these options can apply to non-Muslims then why can’t they apply to Muslims too? Or are you admitting that we have different and therefore prejudice conventions when judging a Muslim’s reaction to news? And what about all the Catholics who didn’t condemn the IRA’s actions? I don’t recall everybody constantly asking every Irish person to apologise for terrorism in the 80s.
Just to show how stupid this “call for condemnation” is, what if we asked all men to apologise to all women after a rape takes place, and hey, let’s ask all white men to apologise and publicly condemn all serial killers, and while we’re at it, let’s ask every person who owns a car to condemn all hit and runs. Why should you constantly have to defend something if it has nothing to do with you? You don’t have to apologise for something you personally didn’t take part in. Then again, even if Muslims do condemn terrorism, they’re faced with xenophobia and prejudice like this…
Hatred for Islam after 9/11 has now morphed into feigning concern for other minorities, so instead of people saying outright that they agree with illegal wars against Muslim countries, they now say crap like “we’re protecting women and gay people from oppression”. We know that this is all bullshit however, because these fake fucks couldn’t give a toss about the plight of Muslim women or homosexuals in Muslim countries on September 10th 2001. Masking their prejudice with a convenient and slightly believable reasoning is still bigotry, it’s just cleverly hidden. And whilst on the topic of “liberating” Muslim countries, if the right truly want change in these foreign countries (without benefiting themselves) they have to do it without xenophobia and jingoism. Firstly, if you’re a Christian country, then why are you ignoring “Thou shalt not kill”? If you’re a secular country, then how can you appeal to a particular religion when you kill them without separating the “guilty” ones from the “innocent”? You’ll never win the hearts and minds of people by bombing their school or hospital, a military attack from a Christian or Atheist country is terrorism to a Muslim country. The only hearts and minds are those splattered across the charred floor from a drone strike. But I digress.
Islamophobia is an extension of racism but bigots now have the excuse of saying they’re not prejudice because they’ve found a demographic that includes men and women and people from different races, but all evidence suggest otherwise. For instance, when a black woman wearing a headscarf returned from hiking in Mission Peak Regional Preserve, she found her car vandalised by a someone who left behind an Islamophobic note reading; “Hijab wearing bitch. This is our nation now. Get the fuck out”. The victim (named Nicki Pancholy) said she is not Muslim and that she wears a bandanna around her head to protect herself from the sun because she suffers from lupus. Islamophobia isn’t racist at all, eh? Then there was the fact that the Boston Bombing suspects looked “white” and were literally “Caucasian” and yet the internet named an Indian student as the suspect without any proof whatsoever. Was this case of Islamophobia again not also racism? This was literally “fake news” that no conservative gave a fuck about.
I came across a brilliant article about this modern-day, widespread accepted racism, something which shows the absurdity and prejudice of Islamophobia. In this article, the writer makes a great point which I’ll attempt to paraphrase. Basically white people look upon Arabs and Muslims as being the same thing, so when Islamic terrorism is promoted by the media, white people link Arabs and their stereotypical appearance to terrorism. This then leads to anybody who “looks Arab” to be subjected to prejudice including profiling and hate-crimes. Basically white people say he/she “looked like a terrorist” to which they mean he/she “looked Muslim” which means he/she “looked Arab” which is basically he/she “was brown” or he/she “was brown and wore something that looked foreign” or he/she “was brown and sounded foreign”. This kind of prejudice it’s pointed out in the article, has resulted in someone beating up a Greek Orthodox Priest, and there have been many other occasions where “Muslim looking” people have been kicked off aeroplanes and even arrested, and this has included praying Jews and Spanish men with beards.
Before 9/11, I remember that anyone “brown” used to be described as “Latino” in America but now it’s “Arab” or “Muslim”. But regardless it’s plain racism – “you all look alike” is something only a racist says or thinks. Islamophobia is just the evolution or an offshoot of racism.
This “this is us and that is them” attitude is readily used by Islamophobes who despite being racists, like to think of their Islamophobia as justified because of the religion of their present-day “enemies”. They like to piss and moan about “our soldiers” dying in Iraq or Afghanistan but they forget about people like Muhammed Akbar Khan who served in both the first and second World Wars and went on to become a General. There has also been Rear-Admiral Amjad Hussain in the Navy but forget about them, you just keep ignoring all the Muslims who served in the British or American Army, you dumb, racist cunts.
This brushing aside of “good” or “heroic” Muslims is widespread in modern society. When for instance a Muslim police officer is killed during an act of terror (Ahmed Merabet, Charlie Hebdo attack) nobody recognises that a. it was a Muslim that was protecting non-Muslims and b. being a police officer in France is the definition of “integrating” (another argument by the right which I’ll get to shortly). This kind of whitewashing of the facts is rife in contemporary society, apparently one Nidal Hasan (responsible for the Fort Hood shooting) means we forget about an American Muslim soldier like Humayun Khan or an American Muslim U.S. Army Specialist like Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan who posthumously received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Now I personally couldn’t give a flying fuck if you “fight for your country” but my point is that the same fake-patriotic, right-wing Islamophobes who act like serving in the Army is the greatest achievement and “sacrifice” a human can ever make, simultaneously ignore all the Muslims who serve in Western Armies. Let’s not forget that if you join the military, you’re also subjected to racism even from a Royal Prince who belittled soldier Ahmed Raza Khan by calling him “our little Paki friend”. Because of racists, Muslims can do their very best to “fit in” but it’s never going to be enough, especially to a hate-filled bigot.
The fact that the right has a selective memory when it comes to Muslim contributions to society, people have to keep making statements following an act of Islamic terrorism. Following the recent Westminster terrorist attack, they had to roll out someone like Brendon Cox (husband of murdered MP Jo Cox) to make this statement; “We have to remember that the person who did this is no more representative of British Muslims than the person who killed Jo is representative of people that are from Yorkshire”. It’s a sad situation that every time a Muslim commits an act of terror, the situation has to be put into perspective to stop an angry, idiotic mob forming – an angry mob who likes to ignore Christian, Jewish, and Atheist terrorism. What a bunch of blinkered fuck-wits.
You can be a Muslim doctor or surgeon and save people’s lives, you can be a Muslim basketball player, cricketer, or boxer and entertain people, you can be a Muslim poet, university professor, policeman, judge, Q.C., singer, actor, but apparently this isn’t enough. Being in these jobs is not “integrating” to right-wing bigots. Muslims are looked upon as some foreign entity by the right, as though being Muslim somehow nullifies being American, British, or European. To put things into perspective let’s name a few Muslim celebrities to show how a follower of Islam can quite easily “integrate” and “contribute” to a great white, wannabe secular nation. We have a TV presenter like Dr. Oz, a rapper like Lupe Fiasco, actors like Mahershala Ali and Riz Ahmed, singers like Zayn Malik and Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens), comedians like Aasif Mandvi, congressmen such as Keith Ellis and André D. Carson, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, have they all not proven that being Muslim and Western aren’t mutually exclusive?
There have even been outspoken Muslims such as Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, now looked upon with retrospective respect, but they were at one time called “militant” or “extremist” because of their points of view. But once the dust settled, both these Muslims are now seen as great contributors to American politics and society. Everybody who called them “un-American” or “un-patriotic” have now been proven wrong but do you hear any of them apologise for the scorn they dished out to them?
And what about converts to Islam? When Jermaine Jackson converted in 1989 or Everlast (of rap group House Of Pain) converted from Catholicism to Islam in 1996 did they all of a sudden become violent extremists? Therefore the problem isn’t with the religion, it’s a problem with psychotic individuals coupled with disinformation from the media.
One sector of entertainment where there are many Muslims is the Hip-Hop genre. Just to name a few Muslim rappers, there’s; AR-Ab, Bas, Big Daddy Kane, Brother Ali, Kevin Gates, Lord Jamar, K’Naan, Mos Def, Ali Shaheed and Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, and Rakim. So has any rapper committed any act of terrorism? No. Well then, there can’t be something inherently wrong with the religion then can there?
On the topic of Rap music, Muslims for me are like the Hip-Hop of religions – just like rappers, Muslims were ignored by the mainstream during the latter half of the twentieth century, but ever since a few bad ones blew up in America, every right-wing mouthpiece in the media portrays them all as violent misogynists. Yes there’s bad ones but there’s many more good ones, the mainstream media however only wants you to concentrate on those who make stereotype-reinforcing online videos that get millions of views. The public needs to stop focussing on the ones who get airtime and promotion on TV, this minority does not represent the majority. The reality is that the majority of Muslims are intelligent, tolerant, loving, and peaceful – the same as everybody else.
To close, the main reason I know Islamophobes are racists is the fact that I’ve heard their bullshit opinion before, especially with regards to Afro-Caribbean and South Asian immigrants. Back in the 60s and 70s there was an incessant distorted argument that these two ethnicities couldn’t ever be “British”; “their culture is too different!”, “their way is different to ours!” people cried out. Today, Muslims (whether immigrants or not) are facing the same crap from white bigots who once again seem to be yelling “why don’t they integrate?” or “why don’t they assimilate?”. This is said without any acknowledgement of irony, I mean are we to forget about Australia and America? Both countries with an indigenous population that was never integrated with by white, Christian Europeans. Shouldn’t white people including Christopher Columbus have converted to or adopted the ways of the Lucayan-Arawak Indians as soon as they set foot on America (or should that be Turtle Island)? Maybe white, Islamophobic, racists are so scarred these days of “Muslims” and “Muslim Immigrants” because it was their forefathers who overthrew and killed the natives in countries they migrated to. But these prejudiced morons need to realise that not every immigrant is as detrimental to a country as white Europeans. And speaking of “integrating”, these same white people who complain about “insular Muslim communities” seem to be ignoring their ex-pat counterparts who live in places such as Spain, eating chips and egg, chugging down pints of beer in an “authentic” British Pub, putting up the Union Jack, and supporting their national football team, all whilst living in a foreign country. You have some nerve asking people to integrate when you’re the ones who have the hardest time acclimatising to a foreign culture. People in other folk’s glass houses shouldn’t be throwing red, white, and blue stones.