Saturday, March 12, 2011

Islamophobia: Rearing its Ugly Head once Again

I would like everyone who's taking the time to read this blog to watch a section of  Fox's Bill O'Reilly Factor that one of my best friends sent me.

I cannot begin to express my disgust for Fox and this segment. There is no such thing as a "Muslim Problem". There is a problem called Islamophobia and a bigger problem called intolerance. I just can't help think of the hypocrisy coming from the conservative right in saying they're strict constructionist  but they don't even respect the values enshrined in our Constitution. It was NOT the religion of Islam who attacked us, it was extremists. This is going to be my third post about Islamophobia, but it is a steadily growing issue which deserves attention.

Recently, most-likely presidential prospect and former senator Rick Santorum gave a fiery speech about how Shria law is evil. Newt Gingrich, over this summer's "Mosque at Ground Zero" fiasco, related Muslims to Nazis. This is unacceptable rhetoric and behavior coming from people who probably have presidential aspirations. The President of the United States is not just the president of Catholics, Protestants, Jews, or another segment of the population; the president is a representative and is the leader of Americans of all sects, beliefs, and religions. For one to single out a distinct part of a religion, and way of life, and to call it evil is childish and proves they are not deserving of the responsibility of the presidency. Muslims are indeed Americans too. Moreover, evil is a subjective and abrasive word. In a culture where we see many things as a dichotomy, Santorum is portraying he see's Sharia in the same league as terrorism, the Soviet Empire (in Ronald Reagan's case) and other things that bring about injustice and pain.

These intolerant comments come about at the time of congressional hearings, by Rep. Peter King-NY (R) on the radicalization of Muslim Americans. By labeling that ALL of Muslim America are radicals, it paints a completely false picture as well as accuses hard working Muslim-Americans into an insulting group. This a a modern day McCarthy style witch hunt. Disagree? Ok. Does anyone remember the Hutaree Militia in 2008? They were a christian extremist group. How about Unabomber Ted Kaczynski or Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. Yes, they were both christian terrorists.

Now I am not saying that no Muslim American has ever been a terrorist, that is not true. However, domestic terrorists can come from all parts of the community and from different religions. Thus, specifically isolating Muslim Americans and associating them with radicalization and with terrorism is false and misleading. It is also unjust and misses the point. Instead of singling out Muslim Americans, instead the committees focus should have been on figuring on why Americans, of all creed, become radicalized and perform terrorist activities.

Banning Shar'ia law, as done in Oklahoma and being considered in other states, does nothing but exacerbate the problem of anti-Americanism. Instead of being divisive, disrespectful and intolerant, we as a community, as Americans, should work to find solutions and promote religious tolerance.

However, some "news" outlets disseminate fear and lies about people and groups. We must come together as Americans to stop this blatantly false bias and fear-mongering and work to solve this societal problems. It is truly against our values, against what America stands for, to single out a group or hate a group of people based upon their religion. If this "news" outlet truly loves America, as always make it known that they do, they should turn down the rhetoric and be fair to their fellow Americans.

The War on Terror is a war of ideas. In order to win a war of ideas, the key is make one of the ideas no longer appealing (radicalization). If we spent more time addressing why terrorism happens and fixing those issues than indulging in illogical bigotry, the world would be a much better place.

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