In an earlier article I noted that evangelic preacher Pat Robertson, David Gaubatz, Paul Sperry and Daniel Pipes are Islamophobic cult leaders who take every opportunity they can to vilify Islam and Muslims.
They were all particularly vindictive following the shooting at Fort Hood by the psychopath Nidal Malik Hassan who also happened to be Muslim.
The fact that he was Muslim had nothing to do with his maniacal action. It was no more related to the teachings of Islam than the paedophilia of a few priests is connected with Catholicism or the acts committed by Rabbi Meir Kahane of the Anti-Defamation League were related to Judaism.
Reports of a number of incidents in the past year or so strongly reveal a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes.
In May 2010, for instance, a bomb exploded at an Islamic centre in Jacksonville, Florida. In August, a man slashed the neck and face of a New York taxi driver after finding out he was Muslim.
Four days later, someone set fire to construction equipment at the future site of an Islamic centre in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This March, a radical Christian pastor burned a Quran in Gainesville, Florida, leading to deadly riots in Afghanistan that left at least 20 people dead.
A few days ago, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) published a benchmark report on Islamophobia in America.
Islamophobia is close-minded prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims. An Islamophobe is an individual who holds a closed-minded view of Islam and promotes prejudice against or hatred of Muslims.
CAIR identifies a number of individuals and groups who have rallied against Islamophobia as well as a number who can be identified as Islamophobes.
Those who CAIR says
deserve recognition for their outstanding contributions to pushing back against Islamophobic trends during the period include: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Loonwatch.com; Congressional Tri-Caucus; Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN); Jon Stewart, Aasif Mandvi and “The Daily Show”; Keith Olbermann and Countdown; Stephen Colbert and “The Colbert Report”; Media Matters for America; interfaith leaders; and Rachel Maddow and “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
Many are available on TV in Bahrain.
Some individuals, institutions and groups were at the centre of pushing Islamophobia in America during the period covered by the report:
Pamela Geller and Stop the Islamization of America; Robert Spencer and Jihad Watch; Brigitte Gabriel and Act! for America; Frank Gaffney and the Centre for Security Policy; Steven Emerson and the Investigative Project on Terrorism; Newt Gingrich; the four members of Congress who called for an investigation of Muslim Capitol Hill interns; Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda and other violent extremists; and Daniel Pipes.
According to those interviewed for the CAIR report, on a scale from 1 (best situation for Muslims) to 10 (worst possible situation for Muslims) Islamophobia in America stands at 6.4. Interviews were conducted in September and October of 2010.
The public’s favourable rating of Islam sank from 40 per cent in November 2001 to 30 per cent in August 2010, according to the Pew Research Centre. In late November 2010, the Public Research Institute found that 45 per cent of Americans agree that Islam is at odds with American values.
“Sources of Islamophobia are those individuals and institutions that produce and package materials, ideas or rhetoric about Islam in order to promote a skewed view of the faith and to induce fear, hate or prejudice in those who receive the materials,” says CAIR.
Islamophobic behaviour is being repeated in Europe and elsewhere. The much-needed CAIR report details its nature. The report can be accessed and downloaded [.PDF] from the internet.
CAIR’s work on Islamophobia has been a long time coming; too long, as the disease grows and spreads. Zionists scream “anti-Semitism” to silence critics of Israel. Long overdue has been the more honest label “Islamophobia” for those who wrongly vilify Islam and Muslims.
* Paul J. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years. He’s a weekly Op-Ed columnist for the Gulf Daily News. Dr. Balles is also Editorial Consultant for Red House Marketing and a regular contributor to Bahrain This Month.