‘Islamophobia’: U.S. cities face anti-Muslim backlash, shouted the USA Today headline two days after the Brussels airport and metro assault. “Cities across the USA are preparing for the next phase that inevitably follows a terror attack: anti-Muslim backlash,” the article began.
Longtime Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper conceded brutal attacks on Muslims since the Brussels attack had not been reported. Not yet. But bullying and hate speech were growing, he warned. Politicians “have mainstreamed Islamophobia,” he added.
Inevitable backlash! Brutal attacks! Islamophobia! How awful! Be very afraid!
None of this happened, mind you, but CAIR assured us it’s coming if we don’t watch our step, USA Today serving as its megaphone.
What is Islamophobia? No one’s really sure. According to author Salman Rushdie, it is “an addition to the vocabulary of Humpty Dumpty Newspeak.” The late Christopher Hitchens called it a “stupid term” that was “put into circulation to try and suggest that a foul prejudice lurks behind any misgivings about Islam’s infallible ‘message.’”
“I refuse to use this term ‘Islamophobia,’ because those who use this word are trying to invalidate any criticism at all of Islamist ideology,” said French Prime Minister Manuel Valls after the 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacres. “The charge of ‘Islamophobia’ is used to silence people.”
Yet CAIR and its allies cry “Islamophobia” whenever necessary, as when militant Islam strikes and kills the innocent, which seems increasingly often. The USA Today article politely calls CAIR a “Washington-based civil-liberties group.” Many governments and public agencies consider it to be in league with terrorist groups. At the least it is a non-profit Muslim propaganda machine.
Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., with 33 affiliates nationwide, CAIR lobbies compliant politicians, corporations, and media. It does so purposefully, relying on credulous Americans fearful of contributing to “backlash” or being anything less than nice and tolerant people –– much less right-wing kooks or racists. It uses toleration, pluralism, fairness, religious freedom, diversity, and other high-minded American ideals to disarm suspicion or resistance.
Some CAIR claims are sheer inventions. “Unlike what happens after the mass shootings committed by white supremacists that happen almost daily in America, whenever an act of terrorism involves those who identify themselves as Muslims, politicians respond by calling for the curtailment of the rights of American Muslims,” CAIR Florida executive director Hassan Shibly said to USA Today.
Muslim activists like Hooper and Shibly are world-class injustice collectors. They condemn what they claim is constant “racial profiling,” “institutional racism,” and “fear-mongering.” But charges of persecution often don’t hold up. Some seem fabricated or staged. Are Americans already forgetting last year’s Clock Boy debacle?
Think back a few months to San Bernardino, when Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik slaughtered 14 people and wounded 22 others at a holiday party for the county department of health. Beginning the day of the shootings, CAIR organized press conferences and interviews, conducting a well-choreographed media campaign. Lawyers insisted there was no evidence the killings had anything to with religion. One added the killer may have faced workplace derision for his beard.
CAIR’s executive director in the Los Angeles area, Hussam Ayloush, appealed to MSNBC viewers not to jump to conclusions about the suspects’ motives. “Is it work? Rage-related? Is it mental illness? Is it extreme ideology?” Ayloush wondered at another press conference. “At this point it’s really unknown to us.” But many Americans had known in a flash what had actually happened, and a few realized that so had CAIR.
How much Islamophobia, oppression, surveillance, or persecution do American Muslims actually face? And who really is being persecuted? First Amendment freedoms and privacy law give ample protection.
When Middle East experts, historians, journalists, or public officials express any alarm about Islamic fundamentalism and Islam’s geopolitical aims, they may incur vicious attacks on their character. On U.S. campuses dissident speakers and professors face open hostility from Muslim students and their allies claiming “hate speech.” Lecture invitations and jobs are at stake.
“We live in a time when great efforts are being made to falsify the record of the past and to make history a tool of propaganda; when governments, religious movements, political parties, and sectional groups of every kind are busy rewriting history as they would wish it to have been,” observed historian Bernard Lewis in Islam and the West, at the high tide of the 1990s culture wars.
“I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,” CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper said about the same time. “But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”
This sounds a lot like soft –– some call it stealth –– jihad, doesn’t it, or something similar to subversive activity.
Irrational fears? Hate speech? Islamists use diversity politics and ecumenical dreams to move the holy struggle forward. Invoking Islamophobia, they seek to shut down criticism and ruin any critics. With the enthusiastic support of America’s multiculturalists and cultural left, they are succeeding.