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Paris, San Bernardino, And The Dangers Of An Anti-Muslim Backlash

Islam

Perhaps inevitably, and unfortunately, the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, combined with the general sense that Islamist/Jihadist terrorism may be a rising threat, has led to some degree of a return to the backlash against Muslims that we saw in the wake of the September 11th attacks. The most prominent examples of this, of course, has come in the form of Donald Trump, who has talked about closing mosques and maintaining a database to track Muslim-Americans and Muslim immigrants, constantly repeated debunked claims that “thousands” of Muslim Americans were celebrating the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and in the wake of the San Bernardino attacks has increased his anti-Muslim rhetoric. The issue extends beyond Trump though, just in the days since the shooting, reports of threats against mosques in the United States have increased, although they were seemingly becoming more prevalent before Wednesday in any case.

All of this has led many Muslim-Americans to become increasingly concerned about a backlash, especially if there are future incidents of jihadist terrorism:

American Muslims say they are living through an intensely painful moment and feel growing anti-Muslim sentiment after the recent Islamic State attacks in Paris and this week’s San Bernardino shootings, carried out by a Muslim husband and wife.

The motivations of the California killers are still unclear, although authorities are investigating it as a potential act of terrorism. Muslims said they are bracing for an even more toxic climate in which Americans are increasingly suspicious of Muslims.

Muslims say that Americans, like many in Europe, often do not draw a distinction between radical Islamist militants, such as those associated with the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and the religion of Islam and its followers who have no ties to extremism.

Thursday’s New York Post reported the San Bernardino massacre story with the headline “MUSLIM KILLERS.”

Arsalan Iftikhar, a human rights lawyer who is working on a book on Islamophobia in the United States, said that headline was evidence of how people jump to conclusions about a suspect in a crime who is Muslim.

“When a Muslim American commits a murder, their religion is brought front and center,” he said. “With anyone else, [it’s] a crazy, kooky loner.”

Many Muslims said fear of Islam is being fueled by the heated rhetoric of Republican presidential candidates, particularly businessman Donald Trump, who has called for surveillance of some mosques and requiring Muslims to register with the government.

That may be smart electoral politics: A 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center showed that 82 percent of Republicans said they were “very concerned” about the rise of Islamic extremism in the world, compared with 51 percent of Democrats.

“Islamophobia is the accepted form of racism in America,” Iftikhar said. “Leaders like Donald Trump show us that you can take a potshot at Muslims and get away with it.”

Estimates of the number of American Muslims vary from about 4 million to perhaps 12 million.

The backlash against them has created a deepening sense of alienation. Talk of creating Muslim databases and noting Muslims’ religion on their IDs has echoes for many of the forced internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Many mosques have asked local police for more security.

“There’s a constant climate of insinuation of terrorism and disloyalty that creates this pervasive sense of being an outsider,” said Haroon Moghul, a fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington.

On Tuesday morning, Terry Cormier arrived to open her Anaheim, Calif., Islamic clothing shop and found a Koran, riddled with more than 30 bullet holes, left at the door. She made a report to police and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), whose officials called it “a note that says, ‘You’re not welcome here.’ ”

“Our Koran is something that is very important to us and that we hold very dear, and to see it full of bullet holes and defaced and intentionally delivered to me to find is a hate-filled message,” said Cormier, a California native who married an Egyptian immigrant and converted to Islam. “Whoever did it, I think they probably didn’t have any understanding of the religion itself.”

Cormier, who wears the head scarf known as the hijab, said she has felt little anti-Muslim sentiment in her ethnically diverse community in Southern California until now.

“But especially after what happened yesterday in San Bernardino, it’s pretty intense,” she said. “But I really think that if people would just get out there and talk to a Muslim person, they would see that they are human just like you. We’re just as upset about what’s going on and how people are being hurt. It’s devastating to us as well.”

Pew studies show that since the 9/11 attacks, Americans have become far more likely to think that Islam encourages violence more than other religions might. A Pew survey in March 2002 found that 25 percent of Americans held that view, and the number reached 50 percent by September 2014.

Research by Pew and CAIR shows that apprehension about Islam has increased sharply with the rise of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, in the past two years, especially since the group’s highly publicized beheadings of foreign journalists and aid workers began in August 2014.

“After 2010, we had a few years where things seemed to be getting better,” said Corey Saylor, national legislative director at CAIR. But he said the beheadings “set us back down a darker path. . . . People of goodwill are trying to do work to bring people together, and it just takes a few moments of ISIS’s time to unravel all of that.”

Anti-Muslim violence in the United States has jumped since the Paris attacks, including gunfire and vandalism targeting mosques and assaults against individual Muslims.

One recent evening, Haneen Jasim, 22, a University of Cincinnati pre-med student who wears the hijab, said she had just left a Starbucks where she was studying for an exam when a man approaching in a car began honking his horn.

With his window rolled down, he began shouting insults at her and called her a terrorist.

“He was yelling, ‘Paris!’ and told me to go back to my country,” Jasim said in an interview.

As he yelled, she said, he drove toward her, “almost running me over.” Three people pulled her to safety on the sidewalk, she said.

“I’ve never gotten anything negative about being a Muslim, ever,” she said. “I always read articles about other people, but I honestly did not think it would happen to me.”

None of this is new, of course. In the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks, there was a wave of anti-Muslim rhetoric and even violence that led to even people who weren’t Muslim, such as Sikh American men who wear turbans as their religion requires. To his credit, President George W. Bush did his best to try to paint the War On Terror in a way that didn’t characterize it as a war against Islam itself, and he made real conscious efforts to reach out to the Muslim-American community and to Islamic nations around the world to make clear that America was not fighting Islam, but people who used Islam as a justification for violence and repression to target Americans and the citizens of other nations and inflict fear upon them. At one point, I recall Bush making the point that blaming all Muslims for the actions of the terrorists, and treating the war against al Qaeda as a war against all of Islam would, essentially, be playing right into their hands since this is the message that Osama bin Laden and other jihadists have been sending to their fellow Muslims for decades. Of course, the fact that Bush was also engaging in military actions that were resulting in the deaths of innocent people in Afghanistan and Pakistan and attacking Iraq for no good reason at all likely diluted the impact of these insights in much of the Muslim world. Nonetheless, his comments were largely correct and his impulse to resist turning the effort to defeat the forces that killed 3,000 Americans on September 11th into a war on an entire religion was the correct one. And that’s coming from someone who has been highly critical of George W, Bush for quite some time now.

Notwithstanding the efforts of Bush and others to push back against anti-Muslim rhetoric in the wake of the September 11th attacks, these passions continued to boil beneath the surface in American politics. These sentiments existed, of course, largely on the right side of the political spectrum where certain bloggers and commentators who shall remain nameless made a career out of attacking an entire faith as if the terrorists were its legitimate representatives and dismissing the claims that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and want nothing to do with the terrorists. All of this reached what seemed like its peak in the summer of 2010 when protests erupted in New York City over plans to construct a Muslim Community Center in a building located several blocks from the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. The rhetoric used in that debate included the absurd idea that this community center would be used as a terrorist training center of some kind, as well as other vile rhetoric about Muslims spread by many of the same commentators I referred to above. Outside of Manhattan, the past fourteen years have seen many efforts by local communities to block the construction or expansion of mosques and other actions that can only be said to be based in bias against Muslim-Americans that, if applied to Christians or Jewish-Americans, would clearly be recognized as bigotry.

My friend Jazz Shaw at Hot Air is, shall we say, not convinced:

[S]eriously… one of our chief concerns at this moment in American history is the hate or vitriol it will engender? We have these conversations on a regular basis and for some reason they always seem more acceptable when the attacks are taking place on foreign shores. That’s not to say they should have been acceptable, but as with most things in life, when the danger is an ocean away it’s far easier to sit and argue the nuances of religious freedom and privacy. But all of the worry warts mentioned above should have been able to pull their heads out of the sand long enough to register one rather ugly fact:

We were just attacked by the ISIS fan club in California and more than a dozen people are dead.

You’ll forgive me if I’m not terribly upset about anyone getting their feelings bruised at the moment. This is not the time to be shy or politically correct… this is the time to realize that there are monsters walking among us and those monsters need to be slain.

I fully understand where Jazz is coming from here. Events like what happened in San Bernardino rightfully raise concerns about just how safe we are from attack, especially since these people were apparently able to float under the radar and act without violating a single law, or at least being detected violating any laws, is certainly a cause for concern. It makes one wonder just how many more people like them might be out there planning something similar in much the same way that many people, myself included, assumed that the September 11th attacks were just the beginning and that we’d see more acts of terror on American soil, including such nightmare scenarios as attacks on shopping malls or other areas where large numbers of people gather. That’s why it’s important for law enforcement to find out as much as possible about what led up to this attack even though the perpetrators area dead. At the same time, though, it strikes me that it’s just as important to make sure that innocent members of the Muslim-American community both in San Bernardino and elsewhere aren’t unfairly targeted or, worse, victimized by people seeking revenge. In no small part, this is because these people have more than once been law enforcement’s best sources of information about potential threats in the years since September 11th. Alienating them and letting the bigots who would blame them for actions that they clearly aren’t responsible for doesn’t accomplish anything, and would just seem to me to make it more likely that at least some of them might start to think that the nonsense that the jihadists spout about the West wanting to destroy Islam is actually true. Unlike Europe, the United States has done a fairly good job of assimilating and welcoming its Muslim population, and the impact of that difference can be seen in the radicalization that is far more common in Muslim communities in France, Belgium, and even the United Kingdom than it has even come close to being in the United States.

As I’ve said before when discussing this issue, on some level perhaps the apprehension that many Americans feel about Islam is, if  not excusable at least understandable. By most estimates, Islam accounts for 1% or less of the American population, and while this suggests that much of the paranoia that Americans feel about Muslims is completely overblown, it also at least in part explains why it’s easy for people to believe things about Muslims that seem crazy, or to be fearful of them. For one thing, people generally tend to fear things they aren’t familiar with, and this would seem to be especially true when the news gets filled with examples of people purporting to act in the name of a religion, or a nation, that one is unfamiliar with are committing acts of violence. For people who don’t know many, if any, Muslim-Americans to begin with, it’s unfortunately easy to believe that the Tsarneav brothers, or Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, are representative of the group as a whole rather than horrible outliers. The fact that we may be entering an era where homegrown self-radicalized people who are hard to detect could be our biggest security problem just makes the fear more palpable regardless of the fact that, statistically, one is more likely to die in a car accident than a terrorist incident. What I’m suggesting then, is that a lot of the anti-Muslim sentiment that unfortunately rears its ugly head at times like this isn’t due to actual bias so much as ignorance, and that one of the best ways for Muslim-Americans and those who support them to combat it is to educate Americans rather than just engaging in rhetoric battles with bigots such as Pamela Geller and others who have turned hating Muslims into a profit making business,

In the end, blaming all American Muslims for the actions of a few is no different from those who sought to blame Japanese-Americans for the actions of a government and nation that they many of them had only a passing knowledge of at the time Pearl Harbor was attacked. In that era, of course, our nation didn’t just engage in anti-Japanese rhetoric and random attacks by civilians, we adopted as government policy one of the most inexcusable violations of civil liberties in our history. Hopefully, it won’t come to that this time, but human nature being what it is you can’t guarantee that.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    Good post.
    Of course it is one of the main thesis of Obama’s speech; the man who you panned as an idiot.

    this is the time to realize that there are monsters walking among us and those monsters need to be slain.

    Yes…but there are many monsters.
    My guess is that Jazz Shaw didn’t go off on 222 million American christian’s when Robert Dear shot up an abortion clinic.
    He is however willing to condemn all 29 million muslim-Americans because of the actions of two.
    If he treated both the same…then he probably wouldn’t be working for a radical right wing fear and hatred outlet like Hot Air.

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  2. Mu says:

    Looking at Jazz’s latest creed, he’s definitely not convinced http://hotair.com/archives/2015/12/07/great-news-syed-farooks-mom-is-part-of-a-pro-caliphate-group/
    He’s all in favor of Sippenhaft.

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  3. Bill Lefrak says:

    Only on the dopey Internet can you see a brain dead headline such as this one. Well, there and in the national media and from the future baristas and bartenders of America and their zoned out teachers.

    Sigh.

    The real headline should be: “New York, Khobar, Africa, U.S.S. Cole, New York, D.C., Madrid, London, Ft. Hood, Boston, Paris, San Bernardino, and the Dangers that Leftism as Policy and Cloudy Thinking Will be the Death of Much of Western Civilization.”

    Honestly, the cabernet, brie and bric-a-brac, trust fund, academia/media, “Coexist,” “=” and vacacay in the Hamptons demographics, and their retarded thought processes, ultimately will spell a grisly death for many Americans. There’s just no cure for terminally stupid and divorced from reality. ISIS found an easy mark.

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  4. Rafer Janders says:

    @Bill Lefrak:

    There’s just no cure for terminally stupid and divorced from reality.

    I agree with you on that 100%, Bill. One. Hundred. Percent.

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  5. SKI says:

    Let’s be honest, Doug, Jazz is advocating bigotry. Like the GOP, and quite a few Democratic, politicians espousing similar thoughts, it is in his professional self-interest to do so and he is giving into it.

    That this is so prevalent, btw, provides no small answer to the question you seemed to have such troubling answering last night and this morning: why the President gave the speech he did. He wasn’t an idiot but he had to respond to the multitude of bigoted idiots that are polluting this country and its discourse.

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  6. C. Clavin says:

    @Bill Lefrak:
    Bill Lefrak…the embodiment of Yeats’ dictum;

    …the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity…

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  7. al-Ameda says:

    For people who don’t know many, if any, Muslim-Americans to begin with, it’s unfortunately easy to believe that the Tsarneav brothers, or Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, are representative of the group as a whole rather than horrible outliers. The fact that we may be entering an era where homegrown self-radicalized people who are hard to detect could be our biggest security problem just makes the fear more palpable regardless of the fact that, statistically, one is more likely to die in a car accident than a terrorist incident.

    All of that that gets to the nature of terrorism.
    Not that I accept it, or that I am blasé about it, but as a matter of fact we will never be able to live in a world free of risk, we must take reasonable and sensible precautions and get on with our lives. Personally, I’m tired of the 24/7 news cycle that delivers fear mongering.

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  8. CrustyDem says:

    @Bill Lefrak:

    Does anybody have a wingnut to English dictionary?

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  9. C. Clavin says:

    @Bill Lefrak:
    Obama is pleading for rationality…Bill LeFrak wants no part of rational…he may not even know what it means.

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  10. ernieyeball says:

    @Bill Lefrak:..ISIS found an easy mark.

    So you looked in the mirror and finally saw yourself.

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  11. C. Clavin says:

    Really good piece in the Atlantic by Peter Beinart:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/12/obama-isis-speech-terrorism/419055/

    The other unforced error America must avoid, according to Obama, is “letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. That, too, is what groups like ISIL want.” Because the GOP candidates see violent jihadism as a powerful, seductive ideology, they think that many American Muslims are at risk of becoming terrorists, and thus that the United States must monitor them more aggressively. Because Obama sees violent jihadism as ideologically weak and unattractive, he thinks that few American Muslims will embrace it unless the United States makes them feel like enemies in their own country—which is exactly what Donald Trump risks doing.
    Obama is a kind of Fukuyamian. Like Francis Fukuyama, the author of the famed 1989 essay “The End of History,” he believes that powerful, structural forces will lead liberal democracies to triumph over their foes—so long as these democracies don’t do stupid things like persecuting Muslims at home or invading Muslim lands abroad. His Republican opponents, by contrast, believe that powerful and sinister enemies are overwhelming America, either overseas (the Rubio version) or domestically (the Trump version).
    For them, the only thing more terrifying than “radical Islam” is the equanimity with which President Obama meets it. And, to their dismay, that equanimity was very much on display on Sunday night.

    For Bill LeFrak, equanimity means mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation; level-headed.

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  12. Scott says:

    We were just attacked by the ISIS fan club in California and more than a dozen people are dead.

    Just today, here in San Antonio, the overhead Transguide signs were telling us that 3023 people died on Texas highways this year to date.

    I think a little perspective is due.

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  13. stonetools says:

    Doug, if you had a shred of intellectual honesty, you would have praised the President of the United States for saying this:

    Here’s what else we cannot do. We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. That, too, is what groups like ISIL want. ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death, and they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world — including millions of patriotic Muslim Americans who reject their hateful ideology. Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim. If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.

    That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.

    But just as it is the responsibility of Muslims around the world to root out misguided ideas that lead to radicalization, it is the responsibility of all Americans — of every faith — to reject discrimination. It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose. That kind of divisiveness, that betrayal of our values plays into the hands of groups like ISIL. Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes — and, yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country. We have to remember that.

    He could have gone another way, and pandered to the Jazz Shaws of this world. But he stood tall and said the right thing.And for that, you called him an idiot and a windbag. Says it all, really.

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  14. MikeSJ says:

    “Islamophobia is the accepted form of racism in America,”

    I didn’t realize “Islam” is a race.

    By most estimates, Islam accounts for 1% or less of the American population, and while this suggests that much of the paranoia that Americans feel about Muslims is completely overblown, it also at least in part explains why it’s easy for people to believe things about Muslims that seem crazy, or to be fearful of them.

    For only 1% of the population they seem to be punching way over their weight limit when it comes to terrorism.

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  15. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    His Republican opponents, by contrast, believe that powerful and sinister enemies are overwhelming America, either overseas (the Rubio version) or domestically (the Trump version).

    Cruz is a true believer. I don’t think for one second that Trump believes any of it, or Rubio. Either of them will say anything that might work for them at the moment and sweat the consequences later. Should, God forbid, either of them be elected Prez however, there’d be a lot of pressure to act on what they said. So in the end it doesn’t mater whether they’re sincere of insincere bigots.

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  16. C. Clavin says:

    @MikeSJ:
    0.9%…but still the third or fourth ranked religion by population.
    The poor christians who are discriminated against and have their religious freedom curtailed…represent 70% of Americans.

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  17. Cian says:

    ISIS are using an old playbook, here. One the British were well used to during the IRA bombing campaigns of the 1970s and 80s. With anti-Irish feeling growing the British government worked tirelessly to dampen it down, understanding that to alienate an entire group was to create a breeding ground for volunteers radicalised by a media fed environment of hatred and suspicion. No responsible political party or politician would act otherwise as doing what your enemy wants is the definition of stupidity. Unfortunately, amongst republican representatives, stupidity is a winning strategy.

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  18. Tony W says:

    We were just attacked by the ISIS fan club in California and more than a dozen people are dead.

    You’ll forgive me if I’m not terribly upset about anyone getting their feelings bruised at the moment.

    That sentiment, however, does not apply to the feelings of gun enthusiasts.

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  19. mannning says:

    The American public needs a fuller understanding of exactly what Muslims in our nation actually believe, as opposed to what their guiding documentation says they must believe. If our only information is the Koran (especially the jihad statements), the Hadith, Sharia, Fatwas, and the preaching of Imams in the US that have been reported by the FBI to contain radical or fundamental Islamic thoughts, then a murky picture is left for the public to interpret. Couple this with the reporting from the Middle East, and you get fear-producing ideas of Muslims here.

    Someone with great insight on this situation should come forth to explain the Non-violent Muslim’s belief system here in the US.

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  20. Ron Beasley says:

    The vast majority of mass killings in the US since 911 have been carried out by non Muslims. Some of them are just crazy, some of them are bigots who hate blacks and others are anti abortion zealots who are just as radicalized as the Muslim man and woman who were respnsible for the killings in California.

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  21. An Interested Party says:

    For only 1% of the population they seem to be punching way over their weight limit when it comes to terrorism.

    Oh really? I think folks from Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Umpqua Community College in Oregon, and Emanuel AME in Charleston, among other places, would strongly disagree with you…

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  22. Gromitt Gunn says:

    As you did note, this fear of Islam extends beyond its intended target, as well. Sikhs, non-Muslim Arabs, anyone with a sufficiently funny name and brown skin is a potential target for some good old fashioned ‘Murican retribution.

    Yee haw.

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  23. Argon says:

    My father, no great fan of Bush, was nonetheless very impressed when the President warned the nation to not retaliate against Muslims in the US. No doubt that was due to my father’s experience with his family being kicked out of their California home and being shipped to an Arkansas interment camp for those of Japanese descent during WWII.

    Just as there were Japanese-Americans who fought at great risk during WWII, there are American Muslims who have also taken great risks supporting this country against terrorism and serving in the US armed forces in the Middle East.

    Sure, haters gonna hate, but fu*k it: You can call them out for it.

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  24. ernieyeball says:

    About 30 years ago Linda Ellerbee invited several teenagers from Palestine and several teenagers from Israel to appear on a TV program where they would talk about life in the Middle East.
    They were kids, children, High School age. To see them they could have been from New Jersy.
    All I remember about the production were remarks by two of them. One girl-child said: “It says in our Holy Book that God gave us this land thousands of years ago! It is ours and we must fight to keep it!”
    A boy-child of a different religious persuasion said: “Our Holy Book says that God gave us this land thousands of years ago! It is our land and we must fight to keep it!”

    Ever since then my mantra has been “burn the Holy Books!”
    It is pretty obvious that the ancient scriptures are the source of these conflicts.
    Today I am not so sure that will be enough.
    Personally it would not bother me if we shut down every mosque, church, synagogue, temple and what ever other hocus pocus house exists on the fruited plain and burn them to the ground.

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  25. Andre Kenji says:

    @MikeSJ:

    I didn’t realize “Islam” is a race.

    Most Muslims in the World are not-white.

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  26. JKB says:

    @MikeSJ:

    Yeah, those who can’t comprehend the Muslim is a religion, a choice to believe, just like Christianity is a choice to believe.

    Here is a woman raised in Islam to set them straight. Her first point is the who Muslim “race” thing.

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  27. An Interested Party says:

    Certainly being afflicted with Islamophobia doesn’t make one a racist, but it does make one a bigot suffering from an irrational fear…

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  28. JKB says:

    For some reason President Dum Dum can’t seem to discern between Muslims who wish to observe their religion within the scope of American society that tolerates all religions and those Muslims (radical Islamists) who want to spread Islam by violence and conquest and force all people to follow Islamic dictates. By his fecklessness, he supports those who wrongfully attribute the murderous nature of the radical Islamist with all Muslims, even those who have adopted the Western separation of church and state.

    Now, one thing will have to happen among all Muslims if they desire to live and work among the free people of the West and that is they will have to accept that their worship of Allah is a private matter. A matter of choice and that the following of Islam only applies to those who make that choice and only while they choose. Any attempt to impose Islamic beliefs upon those who do not choose to follow them will be met with the full force of Western law and Western society.

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  29. JKB says:

    Senator Ben Sasse demonstrates what feckless Obama should have said.

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  30. Scott O says:

    @JKB: You wanted Obama to say our enemies hate freedom? Sorry, he’s not that stupid.

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  31. ringhals says:

    @JKB:

    For some reason President Dum Dum can’t seem to discern between Muslims who wish to observe their religion within the scope of American society that tolerates all religions and those Muslims (radical Islamists) who want to spread Islam by violence and conquest and force all people to follow Islamic dictates.

    Did you even read or listen to the speech?:

    “Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.”

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  32. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @JKB: The people who accused my Arab buddy of being a terrorist post-9/11 and called him a “sand n£¥$!r” whose home should be turned into a parking lot didn’t bother to find out whether or not he was Muslim or an immigrant (he is neither) before threatening him.

    People in the midst of a bigoted rage don’t walk around with detailed questionaires to make sure that their anger is directed at the right people before it gets released. Just ask any Sikh you might happen to know.

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  33. mannning says:

    Not even that young woman, who expressed herself clearly and persuasively about the basis of Islamic beliefs, addressed the simple question of what do Muslims in America really believe? No one has seemingly dared to admit that they do not really know enough about Islam in America to write it down for us to read. This knowledge gap is at the root of the fears about Muslims in America, and millions elsewhere, Whether they have rejected the harsh teachings on Muhammad, or are they still signed up for the Muhammad version of Islam. It is sad to note the responses here where the underlying idea seems to be that Muslims are not literal believers in the Koran or the thoughts and commands of Muhammad. How can this be?

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  34. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @mannning: Maybe they are US Catholics who believe in birth control and marriage equality. How can that be?

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  35. JKB says:

    @mannning:

    Not being Muslim, I cannot say whether a version of Islam that is compatible with classical liberal values is possible. That is for believers in Islam to come up with. But if there isn’t a sect or version that recognizes the rights of others to not follow Islam or Sharia law, for women to walk about uncovered, heads and in bikinis, that doesn’t accept the non-Muslims can and will draw pictures of Mohammed, etc., then there is no place for Islam in the the West. Obviously, there are some, at least as they are a minority, who are able to keep their worship as a private, individual practice that is compatible with modernity.

    On the other hand, there are Muslim university professors who drag their nieces out of school by their hair and slap them over their not wearing a head covering. That is not acceptable in the West. Neither is when a father or brother murder female members of their family because the girl spoke with boy, kissed a boy, or even slept with a boy. Or even a girl.

    The irony is it is the Left that makes following Islam even less compatible with the West with their insistence that not only must others tolerate homosexuals in society, but they must be gleeful in their support and not, say, refuse to bake them a cake. As it is, Muslims have to throw off the current practice of executing suspected homosexuals and gleefully bake them cakes.

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  36. Matt says:

    @JKB: You could spend 10 minutes talking to a Muslim but I guess that would blow your bigoted views away so we can’t have that. The vast majority of Muslims here just want left alone. They are tired of the rape/death/bomb threats and the random acts of hatred.

    For god’s sake use your brain for a moment. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. If only a “small minority” are non violent non terrorists this world would be constantly on fire in all countries.

    About your hypothetical Muslim professor
    http://nypost.com/2015/10/16/son-beaten-to-death-because-he-wanted-to-leave-the-church/

    It’s interesting how you don’t give a shit about such things when it’s Christians doing it.

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  37. David M says:

    I know I’m just repeating something that has been said again and again, but there are several million Muslims in the United States. If there were going to be widespread problems that made assimilation impossible, we would already be seeing them. Not only that, the problems would have predated the emergence of ISIS in the Middle East.

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  38. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:

    For some reason President Dum Dum can’t seem to discern between Muslims christians who wish to observe their religion within the scope of American society that tolerates all religions and those Muslims christians (radical Islamists fundamentalists) who want to spread Islam christianity by violence and conquest and force all people to follow Islamic christian dictates. By his fecklessness, he supports those who wrongfully attribute the murderous nature of the radical Muslim christian with all Muslims christians, even those who have adopted the Western separation of church and state.
    Now, one thing will have to happen among all Muslims christians if they desire to live and work among the free people of the West and that is they will have to accept that their worship of Allah god is a private matter. A matter of choice and that the following of Islam christianity only applies to those who make that choice and only while they choose. Any attempt to impose Islamic christian beliefs upon those who do not choose to follow them will be met with the full force of Western law and Western society.

    FTFY
    It’s amazing how you are unwilling to apply the same standards to your own religion, you fwcking bigot.

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  39. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    For some reason President Dum Dum …

    Well played. That’s a great opener if you’re determined to avoid being taken seriously.

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  40. Grewgills says:

    @al-Ameda:
    He just thinks he’s this guy

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  41. JKB says:

    @Matt:

    And yet no one rushes to explain how a killing by a crazy christian is just their culture and acceptable. But let an honor killing make the news, the apologist rush to explain.

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  42. JKB says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Really when is the last time a woman couldn’t wear shorts or a revealing top in an area of town known for its Christian believers?

    And I have opposed Blue laws. I have promoted leaving gays alone. But I also support not making someone bake a cake unless they hold the cake monopoly for the region. Nor should they be forced to perform a wedding, unless they hold the monopoly on solemnizing marriage. And no I don’t support Clerks who refuse to issue marriage licenses since the office hold the monopoly on issuing such licenses. I do support ending the licensing of marriages and instead simply recording them, but only extending marriage benefits to those recorded in the public record.

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  43. An Interested Party says:

    But let an honor killing make the news, the apologist rush to explain.

    Do be sure to provide some evidence to back up this claim…

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  44. Matt says:

    @JKB: Oh please tell me where that exists in the USA.

    There are Christian versions outside of this country too.

    My point is though that it’s the people not the religion that is the problem. People just use their religion as an excuse to justify their actions.

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