How Islamophobia Works

The people who sent the Muslim-hating film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” to 28 million households in swing … Continued

The people who sent the Muslim-hating film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” to 28 million households in swing states as an insert in Sunday newspapers claim that they are simply performing a public service. Gregory Ross, the group’s spokesperson, helpfully told the Associated Press, “The American people should know radical Islam is a real threat to America. We don’t feel radical Islam is getting its fair share of press.”

Mr. Ross adamantly claims that he is not telling people who to vote for. And he has nothing against Islam itself or most Muslims. The film “makes a very clear and upfront distinction between the majority of peaceful followers of Islam and those people who subscribe to a radical Islamic ideology.”

Tell that to the pastor of a Lutheran church in Pennsylvania who just called my office, the Interfaith Youth Core. His congregation has been involved in several interfaith projects, including allowing a group of Muslims to use the church for worship on Friday evenings while their new mosque was being built. The church’s board was all for the arrangement, and the rest of the congregation was supportive as well.

But recently, this pastor has fielded several angry phone calls from congregants condemning the decision to allow “dangerous people” to use church space. Why these calls now, the pastor wondered. The answer was shockingly simple: Last week, his community received the film “Obsession” in the Sunday newspaper.

This is how Islamophobia works. First, you lay out the threat posed by radical Muslims. Then you make sure you state for the record that Islam is a perfectly fine religion and most Muslims are surely decent people. You are not a racist, simply a public servant. Finally, you coyly suggest that the problem is that you simply can’t tell the bad Muslims from the good Muslims. In fact, sometimes the bad Muslims pretend to be good Muslims. Sometimes the good Muslims protect the bad Muslims. And sometimes Muslims try to be good but they just can’t help themselves because after all their loyalty is to Islam, parts of which requires them to be bad. Not all of Islam is bad, of course. That would be a racist thing to say. Just the most important parts. And if you are a good Muslim, you have to follow the most important parts.

And so those Muslims who use your church for worship, or that guy named Ahmed who lives down the street, or that nice Mrs. Hassan who is on the PTA with you, you just never know. And it’s better to be safe than sorry.

I mean, have you seen this film called Obsession?

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  • Anonymous

    (more from Paganplace) I mean, I’m sure this is nowhere near the intention of those who distributed this film, but I say that the problem it outlines …says that we have to take this problem *more seriously* than blind aggression, polarization, and empty bravado. Cause the Islamophobic noise we usually hear here never has the answer to the simple questions:”What do you propose to *do*”and “What do you expect to happen next?”

  • Observer

    According to a recent “Islam on Campus” survey of 1,400 students by the Centre for Social Cohesion, an independent think tank, just under a third of Muslim students said that killing in the name of religion can be justified. Sixty percent of the students who were active members of campus Islamic societies agreed with the statement.

  • Anonymous

    Here here Anon- Nor acknowledgement of our holiday whatsoever.

  • Anonymous

    They wish to put out God’s light with their mouths. But God will continue with His light, even if the rejecters dislike it.

  • Observer

    This little dictator come into our house and pontificates to us. Some of our church leaders are even planning to visit with him.“We shall not build, in our cities or in their neighborhood, new monasteries, Churches, convents, or monks’ cells, nor shall we repair, by day or by night, such of them as fall in ruins or are situated in the quarters of the Muslims.” We accommodate them because we believe in tolerance and freedoms including that of religion, but they take it to mean that we are weak and naïve.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous,You say *Who does not love freedom and democracy*Submission rejects Freedom.33.36 How can you interprete this verse ?You say *No Jihad in quran* How should we interprete 49.15Many thanks.

  • Anonymous

    Anon- If by islamic you mean country that is overwhelmingly populated by Muslims- then- these are electoral deomcracies- Bangladesh Albania AFRICA Senegal Hope this helps.

  • Paganplace

    Democracy without fundamental rights and liberties is not the ‘Freedom’ that we have enjoyed here in America. Voting in your religious authority is not ‘Freedom.’ Which Bush and McCain learned the hard way when they pressured people to elect the bad guys overseas, rather conspicuously. As America should have learned the hard way by voting in the Religious Right candidates twice in a row and getting one disaster, wrong-headed policy, assault on liberty, crime, and corruption after another. America is a *Republic,* for one thing. Not a ‘democracy’ in the strictest sense. (Not to confuse the parties with these government forms.) Trying to ‘impose’ democracy when the demos isn’t invested with or even interested in equal rights for all is just foolish. The kind of simplistic folly, really, that appeals to the worst in people. Not what you want to be voting for.

  • Anonymous

    In “honor” of the month of Ramadan, a sermon regarding helping the orphans.

  • Anonymous

    Anon:What you call Islamic democracy is not democracy in any but an ironic sense. Despite the recent election, Sierra Leone, for instance, does not have freedom of speech or press. Indonesia and Malaysia severely limit both and neither is stable at present.Bengladesh is under a caretaker government and has yet to hold free elections. Attempts to root out corruption continue in the midst of every kind of violence imaginable. And then there is the poverty and extremism.Indian troops kill seven rebels near Bangladesh1 day agoNEW DELHI (AFP) — Indian troops on Friday shot dead seven militants belonging to a guerrilla outfit that New Delhi says is based in neighbouring Bangladesh, the defence ministry said Friday.The Islamic guerrillas were killed in a fierce firefight in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, which adjoins Bangladesh, a military spokesman in New Delhi said.The rebels belonged to the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) outfit, which India claims extends training and arms support to Islamic guerrilla organisations fighting its rule in various parts of the country.”A group of Huji terrorists from Bangladesh moved to Guwahati and they were to meet with another group of Huji which is already stationed in Guwahati planning for several blasts,” the spokesman said.The spokesman said troops encircled the militants near Assam’s largest city, triggering the gun battle late Thursday.Besides weapons and explosives, the troops also found large quantities of Indian, Chinese and Bangladesh currency at the scene of the fighting, he said.India has tightened security at its porous borders with Bangladesh following a spate of coordinated bombings in four cities since May this year.This event occurred on September 26th. I could go down your list but what is the point. As for Turkey, it struggles on, not knowing how to balance freedom of religious practice for Muslims with the secularism so many Turks desire. Very much alone is Turkey.

  • Anonymous

    Islamic countries do not practice democracy or secularism in any meaningful way–not the way the world understands them. Turkey, that “shining” example that Muslims always hold up, is not at all democratic or secular. If you are not Muslim, do not adopt a Muslim name, you cannot live and work in Turkey. Is this secularism? Forget about minorities even aspiring to top government jobs let alone politically powerful positions. Muslims seem to take pride in establishing so-called Islamic republics rooted in Islamic theocracy. Can’t they see that a theocracy is a constitution created by inferior minds? What is so great about a constitution that excludes non-Muslims simply by reason of their faith? How enlightened is that? It is narrow minded and born out of this “us versus them” world view. This mindset has alienated Muslims from the rest of the world. Well, they got what they deserved. In general, the world view of Muslims is pretty screwed up, there is little doubt about that. Take for example Pakistan. The Pakistani public is against any government that it perceives as “doing America’s bidding” in killing terrorists, even launching strikes against them. That’s why they were so mad with Musharaff and got rid of him. But the point is, any government that comes to power has to deal with militants for Pakistan’s sake. Not for the sake of the United States. How difficult is that for Pakistani’s to understand? No, Pakistanis understand this full well. However, this understanding is crushed under this overriding feeling that even if militants are wrong, even if they are spreading terror, they are our own “Muslim brothers and sisters” and therefore deserve the sympathy and support of all Muslims. What a screwed up view of the world, of religion, of a sense of right and wrong!!! What hope is there for the Muslim world with this kind of screwed up thinking? When will Muslims understand that there is something terrible wrong in a society that spawns mindless violence and shelters its perpetrators in the name of religion. This has nothing to do with America and everything to do with correcting distorted thinking and doing the right thing.

  • ASTORIA

    Do none of you understand what an electoral democracy is?

  • ASTORIA

    Paganplace- you stated- Democracy without fundamental rights and liberties is not the ‘Freedom’ that we have enjoyed here in America. “Voting in your religious authority is not ‘Freedom.'” First you criticize Bushies for pushing for their version of democracy- That is the point of a democracy- What is the difference between Bush trying to impose his ideology and yours? In other words- we have to consider the possibility that OTHERS WILL DISAGREE with us- but it is their right to DISAGREE AND VOTE IN WHO THEY WANT!

  • ASTORIA

    EID MUBARAK EVERYONE!