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American Muslims remain in the dock 11 years after 9/11

By       Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali     Permalink
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Seven million-strong American Muslim community remained in the dock 11 years after 9/11 with Republican Party's witch-hunt against Muslims in the U.S. government and meteorite rise in anti-Islam and anti-Muslim rhetoric in the 2012 election campaign.

This is an election year and for many hysteria-peddling politicians fear-mongering remains the best tool to exploit the fear among masses fomented by the anti-Islam and anti-Muslim rhetoric by media and extreme right politicians as well as some religious leaders.

Not surprisingly, the Republican Party has adopted Islamophobia by including a plank in its platform that opposed the imagined threat of Sharia. It will not be too much to say that just as the threat of undocumented immigration is used to justify discrimination against Hispanics, the specter of Shariah is used to justify discrimination against Muslims.

Tellingly, Kris Kobach, Kansas' secretary of state who may be best known as the brains behind Arizona's "show me your papers" law, also pushed an amendment to the GOP platform to support a ban on foreign law (read Islamic law).   Kobach hopes that will give anti-Muslim activists a tool for pressuring more states to pass their own anti-Sharia laws. In 2011 and 2012, 73 anti-Islam bills were introduced in 31 states. So far, six states have passed the bills.

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Hate speech and rhetoric continue to add to the culture of hate and violence and lead to a dramatic surge of violent activity and harassment directed at places of worship. In a climate of increasing fear-based rhetoric, we have seen a rise in hate crimes not only against American Muslims and but also fellow Americans perceived to be Muslim. On August 5, 2012, a gunman killed six people at a Sikh temple south of Milwaukee and critically wounded three others, including a police officer. The gunman was later identified as Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old Army veteran with reported links to the white supremacist movement. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that the number of anti-Muslim hate groups in the United States tripled in 2011.The SPLC also reported dramatic expansion in the radical right groups.

Within 10 days of the Sikh Temple shooting there were at least eight attacks and harassment were directed at Mosques, Islamic Institutions and an Arab-Christian church.

Few days after Rep. Walsh told a room of people at a town hall meeting that "Islam is a threat," an assailant launched a homemade bomb at The College Preparatory School of America -- A private Islamic school in the 8th Congressional District of Illinois, represented by Rep. Walsh. The bomb exploded outside of the mosque, and did not cause any injuries. It was not a coincidence. The facts are clear -- By proclaiming to the public that "Muslims are trying to kill Americans every week," Walsh raised suspicion of the American Muslim community and incited fear. Hence, Rep. Walsh is responsible for the assailants' actions.

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Muslim Americans are not the only ones impacted from the hate and bigotry. Shortly after vandals defaced the Mother of the Savior Church in Dearborn, MI, the Rev. Rani Abdulmasih wrote to Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) stating, "As a Christian Arab and Middle Eastern congregation, we have sensed the profiling in more ways than one. [...] It is unfortunate that racial profiling, bigotry and racism continues to exist and flourish in our beloved country, as we live under a Constitution that supports freedom, justice and equality for all."

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) with its manufactured controversy over the Park51 Muslim community center in New York City also known as the Ground Zero Mosque, at least 88 American mosques and Islamic centers have been targeted by hate, including 13 acts of violence and 31 acts of vandalism since 2010.

GOP leaders' rhetoric against Islam and Muslims

A succession of Republican candidates have attempted to run to the right of party favorite Mitt Romney by asserting that only a true conservative can defeat Obama in November, says John Feffer, the author of the just-published Crusade 2.0: The West's Resurgent War on Islam. He went to say that most of them boasted of the same powerful backer. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum all declared that God asked them to run for higher office. "Together with Newt Gingrich, they have deployed various methods of appealing to their constituencies, but none is more potent than religion. "..ugly Islamophobia has already insinuated itself into the 2012 elections in a potentially more damaging way than the 2008 elections."

In a national security debate in November 2011, Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and once GOP presidential candidate said he would support profiling Muslims at airport checkpoints as a tactic to protect against terrorist attacks. "Obviously Muslims would be someone you'd look at, absolutely," Santorum said.

Herman Cain has consistently held a hostile discourse on Islam, belittling almost anything or anyone resonating Muslim. Among many instances we may take as example Cain's opposition to the construction of an Islamic Center in Murfreesboro, Tenn., unreasonably arguing that it's not religious discrimination for a community to ban a mosque. 

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Tennessee state Republican legislator, Rick Wommick in November last called for the removal of all Muslims serving in the military. In an interview on the sidelines of an anti-Shariah conference in Nashville, TN, Womick told ThinkProgress that he doubts that any devout Muslim could be loyal to the US military. "Personally, I don't trust one Muslim in our military," he said.

In July last, Connecticut Republican congressional candidate Mark Greenberg questioned whether Islam was a peaceful religion and said he believed it was "a cult in many respects." 

Gabriela Saucedo Mercer, a Republican congressional candidate from Arizona questions the presence of "Middle Easterners" in the US by asking, "Why do we want them here, either legally or illegally." 

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 

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