Hating Muslims in America

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the incoming chair of the House committee on Homeland Security has announced that he will hold hearings into the ‘radicalization’ of American Muslims. This, despite the fact that the Muslim Americans are pillars of the US community–disproportionately well-educated and well integrated into the country, and even though a third of tips forestalling radical Muslim operations come from the community itself. And, despite the fact that most terrorism in the US is committed by white supremacists. King’s obscene gesture of Kristallnacht-by-hearing does not come out of the representative’s own eccentricities, but is part of an organized conspiracy to demonize and marginalize Muslim Americans and Arab Americans. (Ironically, as we will likely hear more of from the Wikileaks cables, the British government considers King little more than a terrorist himself, given his vocal support for the Irish Republican Army, which regularly blew up London from the 1970s through the early 1990s).

Max Blumenthal, writing at Tomdispatch.com, explores the crazed underground world of anti-Muslim hatemongers, fueled by secret funding from millionaire fanatics and the poison pens of professional propagandists, who have proved that they can push around Establishment institutions and successfully smear their innocent scapegoats. It is worth remembering that there have been three phases of the Ku Klux Klan. The second arose in the wake of the massive wave of immigration to the US from the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe 1880-1924, which provoked the KKK 2.0 to widen its sphere of hatred from emancipated African Americans to newer arrivals— Jews and Catholics. Now that Jews and Catholics have become ‘white,’ some of them have joined with evangelical Protestant nativists in a new sort of Ku Klux Klan targeting the latest immigrant group, the Muslim-Americans. The most prominent figures in this hate-mongering and in the fomenting of ‘media lynching’ of Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans have been fanatical backers of the Israel lobbies, some right wing Catholics such as Tom Tancredo and Rudy Giuliani, and evangelicals such as Mike Huckabee.

John Mearsheimer’s explanation of the march toward a US national security state and the decline of US democracy is persuasive. He says it is rooted in perpetual war and a foolish and self-destructive attempt by the US to be a global hegemon. I would add that both enterprises require a regimenting of the domestic public, which in turn requires fear-mongering to get them to surrender their rights. Since the wars are for resources in the resource-rich Muslim world, it is convenient to demonize Muslims across the board, including domestic ones. In essence, the military-industrial complex, in which Peter King is a key player, is busy reducing us to prison inmates, and convincing us that we are about to be raped by some large Muslim convict, and that we have no choice but to become the ‘bitches’ of people like King to avoid an even worse fate.

People like Peter king want to take the US from being the land of the free and of the First Amendment to being akin to the Spanish Inquisition of 1492, which forced all Muslims in Spain to convert to Christianity or leave the country.

Most propaganda and hate-mongering depends on ignorance. Those interested in the subject might check out the new paperback, revised edition of my book, Engaging the Muslim World
Engaging the Muslim World

Posted in Islamophobia | 28 Responses | Print |

28 Responses

  1. Blumenthal is one of the first to say openly how much of the current Islamophobia is being generated by right-wing Zionist interests. The taboo in the mainstream media against any criticism targeting Jews is so firmly in place that this aspect of the Islamophobic phenomenon is more usually ignored.

    But the stance taken by liberal Jewish organizations in defense of Muslims demonstrates how Israel is becoming a wedge driven into the US Jewish community.

  2. Thank you for linking my site Views Across The Pond for your piece about Peter King.

  3. Now that Jews and Catholics have become ‘white,’ some of them have joined with evangelical Protestant nativists in a new sort of Ku Klux Klan targeting the latest immigrant group, the Muslim-Americans.

    Please remember Mexicans. They’re demonizing Mexicans, the unemployed, homosexuals and really anyone that promotes their momentary political or policy goals.

    • Also remember the disgraceful demonization and incarceration of thousands of Japanese-americans for years during WW2, despite their known patriotism and American citizenship (up to 4 generations). Dorothy Lange’s books with official photos are poignant. It seems the US has to have enemies.

  4. It seems ever more clear that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 served the same purpose as the Reichstag fire. One difference is the scapegoats.

  5. When one looks at all the bits and pieces, all the warning signs and results of the monied elite, the pro Israel zionist and special interest power brokers control of our government we could think we were only one step away from electing a Hitler type in the US that would bring about world chaos.
    All that would be necessary for that to happen is for all these various special interest cabals to agree on the right candidate. And then the press would promote him to an ignorant and dissatisfied public.

    King as the incoming head of the house Homeland Security committee is another little step closer.

  6. I’m just a low-paid nurse, but I have to ask if maybe the conventional approaches to chewing over and tsk-tsking about manifestations of hatred (maybe not the best word to capture the syndrome) are not a lot like some older forms of medicine.

    The practitioner observes symptoms and signs, the unfolding pits and details of this Klan or that neoNazi or the other “fundamentalist” eruption, and works from the diagnostic tools (s)he has learned. Lots of peering at skin tones and examining excrements, but seemingly mired in shallow and misleading analytics, whether it’s notions of the “humours” or “noxious vapors” or even passe understandings of immune system disorders and cancer. Nothing changes in the physiology and etiology of the repeated outbreaks and endemic presence of the disease, which continues to appear in the population, but sometimes there are leaps in understanding of the processes, and in treatments and prevention techniques and behaviors.

    What seems missing, to me at least, in talk and scholarship about “hate,” is efforts to strip away the shallow, idiosyncratic surface details of the presenting illness and understand the mechanisms that produce the illness. And particularly the mechanisms that facilitate the spread of the disease through a population.

    Maybe I am just a dilettante and I have this all wrong, but it’s long seemed to me that along with all the other archetypes in our little brains, there’s one labeled “the enemy” that is pretty much unstudied. We all know “the enemy” intimately and on sight, it appears. And of course all the worst we can imagine, of qualities and behaviors and beliefs, is welded to the carapace of that “enemy,” who thus looks, in a painful mimesis, link to en.wikipedia.org, just like what we know ourselves to be.

    Thinkers and researchers are mulling the biochemical roots of tribalism and greed and violence and altruism. We are soma and psyche, complicated beasties at best. Why the apparent reluctance to turn the critical gaze on the notion of “the enemy” as an archetype? Do we love our enemies so much, the way the jailer loves the prisoner, that we just can’t bring ourselves to examine the fundamental nature of the relationship?

    I’m not smart or deep enough to take this very far. Given what I have seen, from taking part in a lot of human behaviors from holding my newborn daughter to going off to war against the pre-“terrorists,” those “dirty commies,” it seems no one is interested in standing back and getting a clear view of the stage or the game board or the world outside Plato’s mythical cave, wherever we actually live while living out our illusions and so very comfortable and profitable and satisfying “hatreds.”

    So maybe the best we will ever do is maybe come up with some cream or salve or poultice that mitigates the more painful dermatological signs and expressions of some much deeper organic illness. But I do hope that the species lasts long enough to both get a clear view of what really is at play in the dance of mutual antipathy and predation, and maybe collectively figure a way to get past that to a kinder and quieter way. Golden Rule, and all that. Maybe when there are only a few hundred thousand of us left…

    • Hatred is not an illness.

      Hatred is self-interest in search of a justification.

      The illness, I think, is in what we choose to believe is in our self-interest. Once we’ve made the fateful decision that it’s worth starving all the blacks to get a tax cut, or it’s worth bombing all the Arabs to get cheap oil, it is supremely easy for us to come up with the most ridiculous moral justifications to do what we want. But our calculations of the secret benefits of our actions are complete nonsense, because we always act as though our murderous actions will have no consequence.

      Which is odd, because if we were going to murder our spouses for the insurance money, the very first thing we would think of is how difficult it would be to avoid the consequences. Perhaps the act of wrapping such crimes in the cloak of patriotism or religion then blinds us to the need to subtract the cost of consequences from our greedy calculations. After all, once we commit ourselves to telling such lies, we tend to want to believe them, and if we’re really benefitting God and Country, surely they will mystically empower us to get away with it.

      Which is no crazier than believing that you can take out a home equity loan and buy a $60,000 truck because the value of your house will always rise. An awful lot of us fell for that one.

      • You maybe have a part of it. What about that beer-drinkin’ pickup-drivin’ gun-lovin’ Stars-and-Bars-wavin’ person in the bowels of (cue the banjo music) Alabama, who has never met an Arab or other practitioner of Islam? But that doesn’t keep him (or her) from just knowin’ that the the Towelhead Hajji is his im-mortal Enemy? Just like the Hippies and other Commya-nists? Or how about the folks in Valley A on the island of Borneo, who just know that the identical but differently scarified critters in Valley B are “the enemy?” Latter case is closer to what you mention. The former? Less so, I think — more of attaching a particular nomenclature to a free-floating blackness that “everybody knows and recognizes.” And holds so lovinglliy within them. So often with the same characteristics: tiny eyes, fangs, claws, all that stuff.(And ooh, sexual appetites and capabilities. 72 virgins, y’know…)

        I still sense that there’s something deeper and inherent in our souls and our limbic systems that needs “The Enemy.” Most folks have one (or more) in their deeper closets. Kind of like is said of God: If God doesn’t exist, Man must invent God.

        How many frakkin’ generals have said something like “I have met the enemy, and he is mine”? Why does “the enemy” become a singular grammatical form? Why do we say “he/she/they is/are The Enemy”? And when the reactionary revanchists (link to en.wikipedia.org) who are killing our Once Free Culture start to yakking about “our enemies,” seems to me they are talking about multiple singular entities, not just hordes of sneaky Hajjis who have the audacity and cruelty to dare to asymmetrically snipe or IED our Valiant GIs? (Those same GIs who murder non-combatants, out of boredom or the dehumanizing that comes from seeing some of your Band of Brothers killed and blasted this demanding the same vengeance the Hajjis will exact for “NATO”-collected “body counts,” rape their female fellow GIs, use the drugs, engage in various black-marketing activities, eventually will start ‘fragging’ their brass, and the beat goes on… Milo Minderbinderism in plain view all around them.)

        No answers, only questions and observations and a fear that our biology condemns us to that cartoon endgame image from Gahan Wilson: the brute, battered, heavily armed soldier, looking up wide-eyed from his combat stance at the blasted landscape around him, nothing but death and destruction, saying in wonder, “I think I won!” link to blog.timesunion.com (page down a bit to see the image…)

  7. I am unemployed and went yesterday to an extremely low-cost health clinic in Potomac, MD where all of the volunteer medical personnel were Muslims and the clinic was at a Muslim school.

    The care I got was excellent and my gratitude is beyond bounds.

    On the wall of the school was a posted notice from late 2009 from the U.S. Attorney in SDNY that the entire property was in process of being forfeited to the United States government for taking contributions from the Alava Foundation.

    I was horrified but not surprised.

    I love the Muslims in America, they are accomplished,kind and charitable, and I urge my fellow citizens to stop this bullshit.

  8. A thief always thinks others are also thieves like him.

    A criminal always thinks others are criminals like him.

    Peter King, a long time supporter of IRA that killed many innocent British & others, think that Muslims are criminals like him supporting Al-Qaida.

    Professor Cole is correct in pointing out that Peter King is on a witch-hunt & in his zeal may bring Spanish inquisition of 1492.

    Peter King, a supporter of IRA should not be given a post in homeland security. He could demolish many basic rights & liberties of law-abiding people of this country.

    • I don’t have a problem with King supporting the IRA, which simply was fighting an alien conquerer race like the Palestinians have. I have a big problem with his certitude that white people have the right to resist conquest, and brown people have no right at all.

      Try making him explain the difference between British colonization and Israeli colonization until his head explodes.

      • There were/are lots of pieces to “the IRA.” link to en.wikipedia.org Conflicts like that seems to me to activate or create a fair number of sociopaths (whoops, “antisocial personality disorders”) and psychopaths. A lot of what the Provos and Paisleyites were about had little to do with British overlordism and much to do with tit-for-tatting of the kind that would be very comfortably familiar to the Pashto and the Hatfields and the McCoys or how things used to be in Albania and may yet again.

        I have a lot of problems with what I understand is King’s level of support for “the IRA.” Not that that will have any effect on what happens next.

  9. What is the evidence for the claim that “most terrorism in the US is committed by white supremacists”?

  10. “This, despite the fact that the Muslim Americans are pillars of the US community–disproportionately well-educated and well integrated into the country, and even though a third of tips forestalling radical Muslim operations come from the community itself.”
    Take away the ‘Muslim-ness’ of these Americans and they still are the demographic Republicans fear most: the voter who can think for themselves.

  11. RE:”In essence, the military-industrial complex…is busy…convincing us that…we have no choice but to become the ‘bitches’ of people like [Peter] King to avoid an even worse fate.” – Juan Cole
    MY SNARK: I reject outright the premise that there might possibly be a worse fate than being Peter King’s‘bitch’. In point of fact, I find the mere thought of it to be über traumatizing.
    P.S. Oops, I forgot about “Pricky Dick” Cheney. But in Cheney’s weakened condition, I suppose I would prefer even him over Peter King. Of Course, a heart transplant might change that.
    P.P.S. Oops again, I forgot about Liz and Lynne Cheney! Either of them would wield a hellaciously mean “stick”.

  12. Like Andy I’d be curious to know what the “most terrorism in the US is committed by white supremacists” claim is based upon.

  13. Well, there’s the Wiki article, link to en.wikipedia.org

    And the Loonwatch take, link to loonwatch.com

    And the brag piece from the FBI, at link to fbi.gov

    You can draw your own conclusions from the reported materials on the net, particularly whether you would consider the Symbionese Liberation Army and the Jewish Defense League as “white supremacist.” But it’s kind of inescapable that “moozlums” are small potatoes in the domestic turrorism game.

    • Thanks but I’m not quite so ignorant as to entertain the all terrorists are Muslims diatribe. None of your links substantiate the “most terrorism is committed by white supremacists” claim. Quite the contrary, actually.

      • I just HATE to leave a misapprehension unanswered. I don’t think I said anything about most terrorists being white supremacists (that was in the original post), or Muslims for that matter. The links are just a quick scan of readily available sources. My impression is that “terrorism” is just a new buzzword hot button name for the berserker actions of a small faction of the human population, a fraction that I bet would be pretty constant over time from the point that there were maybe 10 million of us (just a guess) to the present, and on into the possible future. Being as we are such stupid tribal creatures in aggregate, it is pretty easy for an “IRA bomber” or an “anarchist” in Chicago or some gaggle of gung-ho dipshits in Mumbai or a few dorks with ambitions and personal axes to grind in Oklahoma or Oslo or Beirut or Jerusalem to send the tribalists into a tizzy and derail any tiny motions toward “pacification.”

        So those links were just intended to be illustrative of the range of “terrorist” types, of which a moderate number are disaffected or just weird White Guys (like the assholes who bombed that church in Birmingham, AL or Ted Kasczynski or Timothy McVeigh or any of the Jihadicidists who walk into a crowd of fellow humans and detonate the shrapnel-laden bomb they have strapped to themselves.) It is just stupid to conflate all these incidents into a Great International “Enemy” Movement (inheritor of the “Com-yanist” mantle, apparently) that somehow can be stopped or managed by trillions of dollars of imperial bases and “game-changing” weapons like rail guns and XM-25s and V-22 “crash-by-wire” heloaeroplanes.

        And I did not say or imply you are ignorant, and isn’t it nice that all this exchange will disappear into the endless, asymptotically growing noise of bitspace…

        So in the greater scheme of things, who fucjking cares? In the end, sooner or later, we are all dead. Whether by ‘terrorist” acts or a small-caliber bullet to the brain stem or some equally effective and less costly alternative, of which there are so many thanks to our wonderful adaptive inventiveness…

  14. As a European, the thing I dislike about American politics is the extent to which both conservatives and liberals polarise in extreme and nonsensical positions.
    Whereas some conservatives may wish to demonise Muslims, liberals pretend that no difficulties exist.

    Difficulties do exist however. A number of my friends from Islamic backgrounds in the US have had death threats for leaving Islam for example. This is a surprisingly common occurrence in some parts of the country. In your zeal to protect Muslims, please do not turn a blind eye to the plight of ex-Muslims – atheists, deists etc.

    They are a strong part of any possible bridge between the Muslim community and the Western society – with muslim families and friends but without a desire to see the imposition of Sharia.

    Some Conservatives wish to demonise them based on their names, their culture or their race; some Liberals wish to see them erased as an uncomfortable reminder that maybe in fact there are issues that need to be addressed in areas of the Muslim community.

    December 11th was International Human Rights Day, here is a youtube clip from the One Law for All Campaign on this issue: link to youtube.com!

  15. Arguing about number of people who are terrorists is silly, methinks.

    Terrorism is a tactic, used by many folks and most governments, at one time or another. Almost all occupying soldiers have probably conspired in terrorism at one time or another, except for the lucky few involved in pacific occupations.

    It is, therefore, like lying; something that many do, some more than others, at different times.

    How silly would it be to argue whether there are more Moslem liars or more white supremacist liars?

    • But you see, like with the Great International
      Comm-yanistism Conspiracy that carried the world so far down the
      hole we are presently in, our lords and masters and those who
      profit from the Forever War want us to read, learn and inwardly
      digest the “lie” that there’s this great worldwide
      internetconnected franchise operation called Terroristism,
      Dedicated To The Destruction Of Our Holy Way Of Life And Freedom.
      Elements of self-fulfilling prophecy here, since drone warfare and
      CIA sneaky-pete “engagements” and Israelis training South African
      Apartheid Police and the US military’s “School of the Americas” and
      such both create “terrorist tactical units” very directly put
      “users of terrorism” in the field, as it were (remember the
      “Contras,” those “fathers of their country” and “heroes of
      democracy (sic sic sic)?), and of course set up the fertile fields
      of fire that bring out the asymmetric warriors to do it back, or do
      it first, or whatever you want to name the stage in the puerile
      state of human interaction that obtains today. Not worth arguing
      about, because most folks will comfortably swallow the Narrative,
      with a hemlock and lotus blossom chaser, as the species waltzes and
      staggers toward the cliff… The Borg have won by just staying on

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