St. Louis Public Radio, part of the NPR digital network, reported breathlessly last week that “a 2013 report from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) identifies a network of 37 organizations that systematically promote anti-Muslim sentiment in America through prejudice, fear and hatred. CAIR calls it Islamophobia.”
As if anyone who has had access to radio, television, or the Internet over the last ten years wouldn’t know that. The St. Louis Public Radio piece was just the latest in a steady stream of articles that have appeared over the last few years about the “Islamophobia” industry, a supposedly well-coordinated, well-funded band of bigots, hatemongers and racists who are doing their utmost to disrupt what would otherwise be a peaceful and harmonious welcoming of Muslims into the United States and other Western nations.
Faizan Syed, executive director of CAIR-St. Louis, articulated this mainstream view:
After September the Eleventh, you would expect there would be a spike in anti-Muslim or anti-Islam attacks in the United States. And that’s what we saw after September the Eleventh. But what’s unique is that after the first few years, those percentage [sic] of attacks actually kept going down and down and decreased. And then in 2008 and 2009, we saw another spike in those biased, motivated attacks. And we’ve seen that height now more than even after September the Eleventh. We feel that part of the bigotry and hatred that exists is not just because it exists. But rather, it is an orchestrated, well-organized, well-funded thought process that is being pushed on the American public.
If it weren’t for the “Islamophobes,” we are told, Americans wouldn’t have the low opinion of Islam that surveys show they do; innocent Muslims would not be victimized; and discrimination against Muslims would be essentially non-existent.
The only problem with this scenario is that every detail of it is false.
Jonathan S. Tobin wrote in Commentary in late November that “when it comes to the question of America’s alleged Islamophobia, there is a consensus in the American media: American Muslims have been under siege since the 9/11 attacks.” However:
With the annual release of the FBI’s hate crime numbers, statistical proof is once again available for those who are interested in the real answer as to which groups are subjected to the most attacks…. Of the 1,340 incidents of anti-religious hate crimes reported, 674 or 62.4 percent were anti-Jewish in nature. Only 130 incidents or 11.6 percent involved Muslim victims. These figures are not much different from those assembled by the government for previous years. In virtually every year, the number of anti-Semitic incidents is a multiple of those involving Muslims.
No genuine hate crime is ever justified, but the disproportionate media interest in “Islamophobia,” and its comparative lack of interest in antisemitism, betrays the cynicism and hypocrisy of the entire “Islamophobia” enterprise. There is indeed an “Islamophobia” industry, but it is not the one that you will read about in sensationalistic “exposés” from leftist sources such as St. Louis Public Radio, offering highly misleading and often outright false information about the supposedly handsome funding of “Islamophobes.”
The real “Islamophobia” industry is the one that endlessly churns out those “exposés,” trying to convince the public that the problem most troubling the peace of the world is not Islamic jihad terror, but “Islamophobia” and the “Islamophobes” behind it. In reality, the producers of these “exposés” are the ones with the massive funding. They are the ones with the carefully planned and coordinated message. They are the ones, above all, who are by their actions justifying harm done to innocent human beings.
The moral inversion is astounding. It is hard to believe that anyone would fall for it, but understandable that they would, given the ubiquity of this line in the mainstream media and that same media’s stonewalling about the Islamic identity and motivations of so many jihad terror acts and organizations around the world. In reality, the world faces not an “Islamophobia” problem, but a problem with genuine Muslim persecution of those who speak out against jihad terror and Islamic supremacism.
Just last week, Bishoy Armia Boulous, a high-profile convert from Islam to Christianity in Egypt, was arrested and almost certainly tortured. Morning Star News noted: “Security forces claimed that Boulous was contributing to a ‘false image’ that there is violence against Christians in Minya,” a Christian area where Egyptian Christians have faced ferocious persecution from supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, “those familiar with Boulous said his arrest had nothing to do with any reporting work but constituted retaliation for becoming a Christian.”
Meanwhile, in India, a Muslim cleric issued a fatwa calling for the arrest and prosecution of the Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen for having “hurt the feelings of the Muslim community.” She supposedly caused these hurt feelings by writing on Twitter: “Since independence, Indian politicians have been seeking help of clerics who don’t respect human rights, free speech and the Constitution.”
At the same time, Islamic jihadists in Syria murdered a heating oil vendor for blaspheming against Islam, and carried out a massacre of Christians, Alawites, Druse and Shi’ites. In Pakistan, a Muslim mob murdered a fruit vendor after it was discovered that some of the fruit he was selling (imported from Iran, incidentally) was wrapped in pages of the Qur’an. And here in the U.S., a convert to Islam was arrested while trying to be “martyred in the path of Allah” and cause “maximum carnage + death” with a car bomb at Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport.
This is all just in the past week. And all of these and other attacks were carried out by Muslims who were acting in the name of jihad, believing that they were fulfilling a divine responsibility delineated in the Qur’an and Sunnah. To recognize this, and to call for an end to it, is not “hatred” or “bigotry” (pace St. Louis Public Radio), and above all it is not the trumped-up and manipulative neologism of “Islamophobia.” And to accuse the defenders against jihad hatred and violence of being the haters is not just wrongheaded; it is clearly in service of the jihad itself, as an attempt to clear away obstacles to that jihad violence. It is, in short, in service of a monstrous evil.
But for the latte-sipping cultural elites at St. Louis Public Radio, it is all in a day’s work. They have excoriated “bigotry” and “racism.” Their consciences are clear. And when the jihad comes to them, they can congratulate themselves that at least they were never “Islamophobic.”