Schama: Islamophobia Recalls anti-Catholic, Anti-Jewish Nativism of America’s Past

Historian Simon Schama explains the outburst of anti-Muslim bigotry in contemporary US society on CNN. Yay for Schama and kudos to CNN for seeking out a historian’s view.

I made a similar point last week in this post: “They used to burn Catholic Churches, now they Burn Mosques”

7 Responses

  1. The more the economy crumbles, the more religious talk and concern will be shown in TV Land.

    The past month has been wall-to-wall religion within the media.

    Glenn Beck at the Washington Monument was the highlight. And his FOX news program was all about selling the Poor People a conscience. The Rodney King trip of “Can’t we all get along?”

    The headline story may of been about a Ground-Zero mosque, but the interviews and followup stories allowed religious leaders to appear in TV-Land. It is these religious leaders which the government will call upon to quell the oncoming riots.

    The Rich Folks gotta sell the Poor Folks a conscience.

    It is people without a conscience who are returning to their workplaces with loaded guns and shooting management.

    The Rich Folks can’t enjoy their wealth if people don’t have a conscience because the Poor People will just take it from the Rich Folks.

    The Rich Folks gotta tell the Poor Folks that God will reward them in heaven and not to expect the rewards of enjoyment and wealth here on earth.

    As the Rich Folks have smirkly walked past homeless people on the streets, the Rich Folks don’t want the Poor Folks smirking as the Rich Folks are hung-up on a lampost in some sinister dark alley.

    Calm

  2. In 1963/’64 Mississippi racists burned down dozens of African-American churches where there was a suspicion local church members were tied up to the civil rights movement. James Chaney, Mickey Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman were murdered when they drove up from Meridian to Philidelphia, Mississippi to check out what had happened with one of those churches.

    My first job, as a voter rights worker, when I arrived in Meridian in late July, was to collect Mickey Schwerner’s effects: clothes and books and CORE buttons, and send them back to his widow Rita in Brooklyn.

    So burning houses of God is nothing new in this country. A documentary film called Neshoba (the town of Philadelphia is located in Neshoba County, Mississippi) has just been launched and included in-depth interviews with the lead Klansman who carried out the killing. (For more info. go to link to blog-aroundharlem.com.

    Keep up the good work, Juan Cole. I read our blog almost every day.

    Dan Berman, Davis, California

  3. Kudos too, to the interviewer who made a point of NOT referring to the building as the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’.

  4. Thanks for the link to Prof. Schama’s interview .
    My favorite is at the end , when asked what do we do , he says
    ” If you’re British , we’d give them lots of cups of tea ,
    and hope they calm down .”
    I love that Brit sense of humour .
    Those Tea Party followers could benefit from a nice cuppa – it’s therapy !
    ( But , please , use good tea – tea bags are floor sweepings .
    And start with boiling water – not hot – boiling . )

  5. Ditto on not letting the mis-characterization stand, it was never a mosque, and apparently is part of a anti-radical/reconciliation mission by a notable American, Faisal Abdul Rouf. His speech/Q&A yesterday at the Council for Foreign Relations is worth listening to (or reading the Q&A) , at:
    link to c-spanvideo.org

    But his Q&A response to the ‘why not take a time out, or go to plan B’ , which was ‘all options are being considered’ struck me, a sympathetic listener, as appearing a bit evasive.

    Given his mission, the furtherance of egregious interfaith moderation, I thought Mr. Rouf missed the oppty to throw back the question: If not here/now, then where and when? The folks opposing his project in lower Manhattan (from Florida or Michigan or…) are apposed to any ‘molsem mosque’ (or a community center that they can mis-characterise) anywhere, in any state. An American leader, even an immigrant ex-science teacher with only a coupla post-secondary degrees, faced with a chorus of ‘give up, lie low’ vis a project in his own community, is entitled to tell out of state righteous right activists to mind their own community centers.

  6. Mr Schama gave the Islamophobia entrepreneurs a pass. Sarah Palin even got sort of a pat on the back for opposing the Koran burning – a nuttiness to far even for her.

    I think it’s a little too simple to blame the hysteria on hard economic times. Regardless of George Bush’s soothing words right after 9/11, he quickly began two wars based on the premise that Osama Bin Ladin and his al Qaeda goons were out to conquer the United States and turn it into a fundamentalist Islamic state. The assumption was that he had hordes of radical Islamists at his beck and call.

    Times were economically good when the wars started, but the public and congress had nothing but enthusiasm for destroying Iraq and Afghanistan, and a fair amount of enthusiasm for adding Iran to the list.

    In short we’ve spent a decade building up a hatred for Muslims, and giving scant value to their lives and institutions.

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