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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/3/17

American Muslims, No Apology Necessary

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From Palestine Chronicle

Native American activists taking a stand in support of Palestinian rights.
Native American activists taking a stand in support of Palestinian rights.
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I have recently been asked to give a talk about "Being an American Muslim in the United States." Although wary of the uses and abuses of the term, I obliged.

Islam is a religion propelled by values, not race nor, theoretically, by blind tribal allegiances, I explained.

The "American Muslim" identity which has been under constant investigation in US media, politics and society is completely different from what American Muslims associate themselves with.

The media's "American Muslim" is a suspect, a fifth column, potentially dangerous and more receptive to violence than every other collective identity in the US. While this contrasts sharply with real Islam, facts hardly matter in the age of American nationalism, predicated on cultural and religious identification and "alternative facts."

Caught within this brutal, baseless logic, some American Muslims no longer define themselves around their own political priorities, nor do they mobilize themselves alongside their natural allies -- those who come from historically oppressed communities. Instead, they have taken to apologizing for their "Muslim-ness," rather than demand an apology, justice and equality.

Many Muslims find themselves, as a collective, being forced to demonstrate their humanity, defend their religion and distance themselves from every act of violence, even if only allegedly committed by a Muslim anywhere in the world.

Long before the Trump administration's "Muslim Ban" -- banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 90 days -- Muslims in the US have always, to varied degrees, been embattled, collectively demonized, racially profiled by government agencies and targeted in numerous hate crimes by fellow Americans.

In reality, hatred of Muslims goes back even before 9/11, and the US war in Iraq in 1990-91 -- a hatred based solely on media fear-mongering and Hollywood stereotyping.

There is also an odd "discovery" by various liberal groups that American Muslims are mistreated in their own country.

In truth, the cause of the "defenseless Muslim" is used as a political tool, with Democrats and others attempting to undermine the actions of their Republican rivals.

The administrations of Democratic presidents, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, both had horrific legacies of violence and discrimination against Muslim countries.

In a landmark study released in March 2015, the Washington-based group, Physicians for Social Responsibly, showed that the US self-styled "War on Terror" had killed anywhere between 1.3 million to two million Muslims in the first 10 years since the September 11 attacks.

Award-winning investigative journalist, Nafeez Ahmed, concluded that at least four million Muslims have been killed by the US since 1990.

This excludes killings that have taken place in the last two years, or the countless civilians who perished during the US-sanctions on Iraq, starting in 1991, which were enforced throughout the Clinton administration.

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Ramzy Baroud is the Managing Editor of Middle East Eye. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold (more...)
 

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