Islamophobia Alive and Well In the U.S.

Written by Ralph E. Stone. Posted in News

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Published on May 04, 2016 with 1 Comment

American Muslims protest growing Islamophobia in the U.S.

American Muslims protest growing Islamophobia in the U.S.

By Ralph E. Stone

 May 4, 2016

The dislike of, and prejudice, against Islam and Muslims is alive and well in the United States. The aftermath of September 11, 2001 terrorist attack and the ISIS-directed and inspired attacks around the world, have given rise to a growing Islamophobia in this country, fueled by the hate rhetoric of the GOP presidential candidates.

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the U.S., especially among African-Americans. Nearly 80 percent of the more than 1,200 mosques have been built in the past 12 years.  Not all Muslims are terrorists and all terrorists are not Muslims. Thus, it is important for Americans to try to understand this religion and culture.  Fear oftentimes follows a lack of understanding or misunderstanding, which can lead to fear and prejudice, which in turn can lead to violence.   As FDR said in his first inaugural address while the U.S. was deep in the depression, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.’

Hate crimes targeting Muslims, their mosques and businesses, tripled in 2015.  For example, as of December 2015, there have been 38 anti-Muslim attacks in the U.S. since the deadly Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris.  Since 9/11, the annual rate of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the U.S. has been five times higher than it was before. Muslims are the only target group that experienced an increase in hate crimes. The most recent tally was 154 incidents: far fewer than the number of hate crimes against Jews, but more than 70 percent higher than the number of hate crimes against Christians.

Remember, the phrase “driving while Black, a phrase that refers to the racial profiling of black drivers. The phrase implies that a motorist might be pulled over by a police officer simply because he or she is black, and then questioned, searched and/or charged with a trivial offense.  Now we have a new phrase — “flying while Muslim”  — that refers to the problems those with Muslim-sounding names, or looking Middle Eastern, routinely encounter at airports since 9/11.

The anti-Muslim rhetoric from our leaders, or would-be leaders, encourages hate crimes in the U.S.; it is like throwing gasoline on a smoldering fire.  Consider that Donald Trump, the leading GOP presidential candidate, said, “I think Islam hates us” and added “We can’t allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States.”  Trump’s solution is to bar all Muslims entering the U.S.

Ted Cruz, who suspended is GOP presidential candidacy yesterday, called for law enforcement to step up their policing of Muslim neighborhoods in the U.S. in the wake of terrorist attacks in Brussels, comparing it to police boosting their presence in areas with known gang activity.  He had previously argued the U.S. should shut its doors to Muslim refugees from Syria, only allowing Christian refugees to seek asylum in the U.S.

At least John Kasich, who is also expected to suspend his GOP campaign for president, has criticized Trump and Cruz on their anti-Muslim rhetoric.

In his first visit to a U.S. Mosque, President Obama summed up why Islamophobia must end:  “We cannot be bystanders to bigotry. Together, we have got to show that America truly protects all faiths. As we protect our country from terrorism, we should not reinforce the ideas and the rhetoric of the terrorists themselves.”

Ralph E. Stone

I was born in Massachusetts; graduated from Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School; served as an officer in the Vietnam war; retired from the Federal Trade Commission (consumer and antitrust law); travel extensively with my wife Judi; and since retirement involved in domestic violence prevention and consumer issues.

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1 Comment

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  1. “Thus, it is important for Americans to try to understand this religion and culture.  Fear oftentimes follows a lack of understanding or misunderstanding, which can lead to fear and prejudice, which in turn can lead to violence.”

    I condemn all acts of violence against US Muslims. I am also very critical of Muslims and the Islamic ideology. Why?

    1. Islam does not recognize the basic freedom of religious choice. The Koran itself states that Muslims who leave their faith should be killed. Non-Muslims who live under Islamic laws live in a state of political and social apartheid which is supported by Islamic law. Islam encourages the state enforcement of religious practice, whether citizens want to or not.

    2. Islam does not recognize freedom of speech and opinion. Islamic law does not tolerate speech or expression that criticize Mohammed, his companions, the Koran or, in some cases, the reputation of Islam.

    3. Islam does not recognize women as equal in value to men. Islamic law regards a woman’s testimony in court with half the weight given to a man. Islam gives women half the inheritance of men. Islamic law creates a guardianship system for women in which a mahram (related male) is permitted to control, to varying degrees, the activities of a woman.

    At this point, the responsibility is on Muslims to reform their religion and correct these aspects of sharia, otherwise I am not obliged to agree with or even be tolerant of their ideology, which is completely counter to my own beliefs about human rights.