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Playing the Islamophobia Card By: Joseph Klein
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, March 05, 2007


Islamophobia is a term thrown around these days to condemn anyone who dares to tell the truth about the source of global terrorism.  The Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC), for example, claims that it is “offensive," "irresponsible" and "insensitive" to describe the self-professed Muslim jihadists who kill in the name of Allah as Islamist fundamentalist extremists or Muslim terrorists.  But that is exactly who they are.

Is the OIC right in saying that “Islam often conjures in the western minds images of authoritarian government, subjugation of women, cruel punishments of Sharia Law and violence in the popular Western mind?"  Yes they are, but that is not evidence of Western bigotry or a “clash of ignorance,” as the OIC would have us believe.  Every one of these images mirrors the truth about the unfortunate state of Muslim life in much of the Middle East, Asia and Africa today. 

No amount of Islamo-propaganda can obscure the fact that extremist Muslims kill other Muslims with whom they disagree as well as the "infidels" whom they so despise.  Moderate Muslim leaders who believe in more modern, pluralistic values and who would criticize the extremists if they had a chance cower in silence in fear of their lives.  When a government run by strict adherence to Islamic law takes control, those who do not conform are jailed or executed.  Women are treated like chattel. And, sadly, Islam has been used to justify legions of al Qaeda and Shiite fanatics to fight to the death – theirs and ours – in order to establish their vision of a global Muslim caliphate.

A phobia is defined in Webster’s dictionary as an “inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation.”  Fear of Islamic extremism and its potentially catastrophic consequences is not inexplicable or illogical.  It is a rational reaction to dangerous, irrational people who would use weapons of mass destruction to bring about their apocalyptic vision.  Cold War strategies like containment and mutual assured destruction do not work with a psyche that revels in death rather than life.  After all, it was Osama bin Laden who declared in one of his fatwahs against America that “Death is truth and ultimate destiny” and that “Death is better than life in humiliation!”  He and his millions of followers have sought a return to Islam’s glory days when Islam was spread through force under the banner of revolution to become the dominating global presence.  Since those glory days, the West has triumphed while much of the Muslim world remained frozen in time – tribal, theocratic and ruled by some form of autocracy.  Failure bred humiliation, which led to the revival of religious fundamentalism of the most virulent kind that has metastasized into today’s terror cells.

 

The standard Islamo-propaganda line, by the secular left, is that Western foreign policy has caused the pent-up hostility of many Muslims.  Israel and Iraq are the standard bogeymen.  Of course, they do not explain how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or American forces in Iraq have anything whatsoever to do with the Islamic fanatics’ brutal assaults on “non-believers” in far removed places like India and the Philippines, as well as the regular slaughter of fellow innocent Muslims whom they believe are apostates.

 

It is always much easier to play the victim rather than look deeply inside oneself for the truth.  Iran’s official news agency reported last month, for example, an alliance between the far-left antiwar movement in Great Britain and a new Muslim network that is being launched “to help strengthen the country's anti-war campaign at a time of intensifying Islamophobic attacks against the 1.8 million community.”  The fact is that Jews are four times more likely to be attacked because of their religion than Muslims in Great Britain, according to figures compiled by the police.  One in 400 Jews compared to one in 1,700 Muslims are likely to be victims of "faith hate" attacks every year, the Telegraph reported last December.  But Islamaophobia – not anti-Semitism – is all we are told that we should worry about.

 

Would the British leftists who take their liberties for granted be so smug if they realized that more than a third of young Muslims living in Britain today want Sharia to replace British law, according to a poll by Populus for the Policy Exchange think-tank?  All those veils we see on the London streets today worn by Muslim women will be the dress uniform for all British women if these young Muslims get their way.  And they do not mean to bring about their dream in a peaceful fashion.

 

Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, the head of the Britain's MI5 security service, was reported by the Telegraph to have said that Islamic militants linked to al Qaeda were recruiting teenagers to carry out suicide attacks and would use chemical, biological or nuclear weapons if they got the chance.

 

In a speech reported last November, Dame Manninham-Buller warned her fellow Britons:

 

"I do not speak in this way to alarm, nor as the cynics might claim, to enhance the reputation of my organisation but to give the most frank account I can of the al-Qa'eda threat to the UK.  The threat is serious, is growing and will, I believe, be with us for a generation.  It is a sustained campaign, not a series of isolated incidents. It aims to wear down our will to resist."

 

Yet the radical left has embraced the anti-war Muslim network’s portrayal of its religion as a peaceful one that inspired them "to oppose imperialism and oppression."   Such Islamo-propaganda is music to the secular left’s ears.  The message plays right into their dogmatic belief that the economic and political freedom of the West is the cause of all evil and should be destroyed at its roots.

 

A similar alliance of the left with Islamic terrorist apologists is occurring on American campuses today.  They love to hide behind the First Amendment as a shield to protect their right to say anything they want against America and Israel while denying the right of others to link Islamists with terrorists because they consider that to be Islamophobic hate speech.

 

Israel is attacked on campuses across this country as an apartheid regime, no doubt encouraged by Jimmy Carter’s use of that loaded term in the title of his inflammatory book.  A group at Stanford University called Students Confronting Apartheid in Israel, for example, is typical in its demands for the university to divest its ties to Israeli companies that they claim “operate on illegally occupied land” and “engage in practices that institutionally discriminate against people of a specific race, religion or ethnicity.”  Strange, isn’t it, that the rampant racial, religious, and sex-based discrimination and the human rights violations practiced regularly by Saudi Arabia, Iran and virtually every other authoritarian Islamic regime do not bother these folks at all until one realizes that human rights have nothing to do with their agenda.  They want to undermine Israel’s identity as a Jewish state and play the tiresome Palestinian victimhood card to the hilt, joining with radical left groups in their cause such as the Palo Alto California based Peninsula Peace and Justice Center and the Coalition for Justice in the Middle East.

 

To reinforce their Islamo-propaganda, the Students Confronting Apartheid in Israel, Coalition for Justice in the Middle East, Organization of Arab Students in Stanford, and the Muslim Students Awareness Network invited Professor Norman Finkelstein to speak at Stanford.  Professor Finkelstein, who believes that the Holocaust has been exploited to “immunize Israel [and American Jews] from criticism” and “used as a shakedown operation to extract monies from Europe," is a favorite speaker on campuses across the country, including Harvard.  He is presumably supposed to represent progressive Jewish thought in sympathy with those poor misunderstood Palestinians who are the victims of Israel’s “abysmal” human rights record. 

 

This is just more of the same Islamo-propaganda which ignores the fact that there could have been two states living side by side in peace for the last five decades if the Arab neighboring states had permitted it.  Even after Israel’s triumph in the 1948 war, the Palestinians could have returned to their homes, including Jerusalem, which remained in Arab lands.  Jordan – an Arab country with a Palestinian majority of its own – controlled the West Bank for another twenty years and could have helped build an independent state there as long as Israel’s security needs were recognized.  Instead, the Arabs chose to use the West Bank to launch another invasion of Israel in 1967, which led Israel finally to take control of this land for security reasons until an acceptable peace treaty could be worked out.  Every land-for-peace deal since then – including Israel’s relinquishment of Gaza – has been met with more terrorist attacks.  The Israelis are still waiting for a viable negotiating partner who is at least willing to recognize its right to exist and forswears terrorism against innocent civilians.  Hamas certainly does not qualify.

 

At MIT, a progressive group called the Forum on American Progress decided to put together a program entitled "Foreign Policy and Social Justice: A Jewish View, A Muslim View."  It was co-sponsored by MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.  The program sounds great until one looks at the guest list.  The Forum invited Imam al-Asi, a militant Islamist who has called for a "global Islamic movement" and is a strident critic of Israel and Zionism, to represent the Muslim point of view.  There are millions of Muslims who believe just as Imam al-Asi does, including the president and ruling clerics of Iran.  But rather than bring a committed Zionist to represent the point of view shared by many American Jews, the Forum invited Rabbi David Weiss, a member of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect known as the Neturei Karta, which believes that the State of Israel should not exist until the coming of the Messiah.  Rabbi Weiss had attended last December's Iranian conference on Holocaust denial.  This "rabbi," who reportedly has since been forbidden from entering synagogues and denied service at kosher stores in Brooklyn, no more represents the Jewish point of view than does Iranian President Ahmadinejad himself.

 

Here is how the president of the Forum on American Progress defended the program:

 

"MIT should grant the right of free speech to anyone who wishes to come to our campus. For if institutions of higher learning, as the ultimate centers of open discourse, fail to extend it to any and all, who can? More importantly, who will?”

 

Meanwhile, some campuses apparently do not think that free speech should extend to Jewish organizations that want to show a film about radical Islam called Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.  This film portrayed the Islamist fundamentalist extremists’ incitement to violence against the West, and Jews in particular, from their own words.  It showed scenes of 9/11, Muslims urging attacks on the West, and Muslim children being urged to become suicide bombers.  The film contained a disclaimer stating that it was not presenting these words as representative of all Muslims.

 

Stony Brook was one of those schools that deemed the film too hurtful to Muslim students.  The truth was forced to give way to their sensitivities about what was being preached in their religion’s name.  Adam Osman, president of the State University of Stony Brook’s Muslim Students’ Association, who opposed the showing of the documentary, was quoted as saying that “[T]he movie was so well crafted and emotion manipulating that I felt myself thinking poorly of some aspects of Islam.”  When millions the world over are mesmerized by bin Laden’s message to kill all infidels in the name of Allah, Mr. Osman should start thinking about those “aspects” of his religion that have lent themselves to being so exploited for destructive ends.  But he was spared the agony by Stony Brook’s politically correct administration, which nevertheless had no such compunction in allowing the aforementioned Professor Finkelstein to share his thoughts about the exploitation of the Holocaust by Israel and American Jews.

 

Playing the Islamophobia card is a convenient way of sweeping under the rug the untold number of incidents of violence, cruelty and oppression perpetrated by extremists in the name of Islam.  It is time that moderate Muslims, who are sick of having their religion highjacked, speak out loud and clear.  They should form their own global Muslim networks and be given more prominence on America’s campuses to counter the Islamo-propaganda that permeates the dialogue on campuses today.

 

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