Where has the backlash against America's Muslims been?
By Brendan O'Neill
Whenever a bomb goes off in America or Britain, some liberals’ first reaction is to wonder whether stupid white people will go crazy and attack Muslims. Even while the dust of said bomb is settling, a certain breed of heartless commentator will shift his attention from those who were hurt in the attack to those who might be driven mad with racially tinged fury upon observing the attack: that is, the allegedly Islamophobic mob, the unenlightened public, for whom every Islamo-bombing is apparently a sign that Muslims are evil and must therefore be shouted at, spat on, and possibly punched.
So just hours after the bombing at the Boston Marathon, even before we knew who was responsible, there was media handwringing over the masses’ potentially intolerant response. Part of the reason David Sirota of Salon infamously hoped the Boston bomber would turn out be a white American is because he was fearful of the “societal response” if the bomber were a Muslim, concerned there would be “collective slandering” of Muslims by Americans. Likewise, two days after the attack, the Guardian published a piece implying America is already a country where the ill-educated think “all Muslims are terrorists”, so things could get really hairy if “the perpetrator of the Boston bombings turns out to be a Muslim”. There was a tsunami of post-Boston commentary about “the damage that Islamophobia can cause”, about the “ignorance and prejudice [that emerge] in the aftermath of a terrorist attack”, about Americans undergoing a “collective freakout steeped in Islamophobia”.
Clearly, some observers fear ordinary Americans more than they do terrorists; they fret more over how dangerously unintelligent and hateful Yanks will respond to bombings than they do over the bombings themselves. But where is this Islamophobic mob? Where are these marauding Muslim-haters undergoing a post-Boston freakout? They are a figment of liberal observers’ imaginations. In the years since 9/11, the American public has been admirably tolerant towards Muslim communities. According to federal crime stats collected by the FBI, in 2009 there were 107 anti-Muslim hate crimes; in a country of 300 million people that is a very low number. In 2010, a year of great terrorism panic following the attempt by Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad to detonate a car bomb in Times Square in NYC, there were 160 anti-Muslim hate crimes. In 2011, there were 157. To see how imaginary the Islamophobic mob is, consider a state like Texas, fashionably mocked as a backward Hicksville full of Fox News-watching morons: there are 420,000 Muslims in Texas, yet in 2011 there were only six anti-Muslim hate crimes there. It simply isn’t true that mad racist Yanks are biting at the bit to attack Muslims.
There were similarly wrongheaded fears of an outburst of mass Islamophobic hysteria in the wake of the 7/7 bombings in London, too. Policemen were posted outside mosques. NHS trusts encouraged doctors and nurses to keep their eyes peeled for anyone who expressed anti-Muslim hate. Trade union officials warned of a “backlash” against Muslims. But the backlash never came. Brits did not rise up in spite and fury against Muslims. Crown Prosecution Service crime figures for 2005-2006, covering the aftermath of the 7/7 attacks, showed that only 43 religiously aggravated crimes were prosecuted in that period, and that Muslims were the victims in 18 of those crimes. Eighteen prosecutions for anti-Muslim crimes – all those crimes are unfortunate, of course they are; but this was far from an “Islamophobic backlash”. As the then Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, said: “The fears of a [post-7/7] rise in offences appear to be unfounded.”
Time and again, Left-leaning campaigners and observers respond to terror attacks in the West by panicking about the possibly racist response of Joe Public – and time and again, their fears prove ill-founded and Joe Public proves himself a more decent, tolerant person than they give him credit for. What this reveals is that liberal concern over Islamophobia, liberal fretting about anti-Muslim bigotry, is ironically driven by a bigotry of its own, by an deeply prejudiced view of everyday people as hateful and stupid. The anti-Islamophobia lobby poses as the implacable opponent of bigotry, yet it spreads a bigoted view of ordinary white folk as so volatile, so brimming with fury, that they are one terrorist bombing away from transforming into an anti-Muslim pogrom. Yes, some prejudiced things have been said about Muslims post-Boston; but far more prejudiced things are being said or implied about ordinary Americans.
Brendan O'Neill is editor of the online magazine spiked and is a columnist for the Big Issue in London and The Australian in, er, Australia. His satire on environmentalism, Can I Recycle My Granny and 39 Other Eco-Dilemmas, is published by Hodder & Stoughton. He doesn't tweet.
WaPo: Man slashes rabbi’s neck while screaming “Allahu Akbar”; motive unclear
To paraphrase Leon Trotsky:
'You may not be interested in Radical Islam, but Radical Islam is interested in you.'
Until people wake up and realise this, their politically-correct, head-in-the-stand, see-no-evil, we-can-criticise-the-Westboro-Baptist-Church-but-any-criticism-of-'The-Problem'-is-Islamophobic idiocy is as much of an existential danger as is the cancerous problem 'whose name shall not be spoken.’
I would also like to advise the WaPo and the rest of the Radical Islamic apologists to take a good look at the faces of those rioting against SSM on the streets of France, the thugs beating up homosexuals in Amsterdam, and those responsible for forcing Jews, who survived the Holocaust and have lived in Malmö for decades, to leave the city. They are NOT evangelical Christians, Tea Party sympathisers or Anders Behring-Breivik wannabees. For the most part, they are first and second generation children of Muslim immigrants, whose parents are not radicals and left countries where the type of Islam that their children want is imposed. They have grown up on welfare, live in neighbourhoods that are almost exclusively Muslim (and where Sharia law – including morality police – is enforced by community groups), and have found ‘solace’ in mosques where virulent strains of Islam are practised. Yet, Muslims are part of the Left’s coalition in Europe…and, indeed, the US.
Does anyone believe that CAIR or the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States would not move to replace the Constitution with Sharia law in a heartbeat if given the opportunity? Really???
I have nothing against Islam and Muslims, in general, but moderate Muslims must summon the courage to take on the radicals in their own midst. This goes for the Left, too. Neither will be immune from their wrath.
An excerpt from a piece that I wrote on anti-Semitism in Norway a couple of years ago:
'I know that many, especially on the Left, will deny that such could possibly be happening in a Western country in the 21st century, but it is. I also know that there is a virulent strain of anti-Semitism on the Left. Save it. You can attempt to deny it, but I can prove it.
'Auschwitz meant that six million Jews were killed, and thrown on the waste-heap of Europe, for what they were considered: money-Jews. Finance capital and the banks, the hard core of the system of imperialism and capitalism, had turned the hatred of men against money and exploitation, and against the Jews. . . . Antisemitism is really a hatred of capitalism.'
- Ulrike Meinhof, a left-wing German terrorist of the 1970s
A word of advice for my friends on the Left, the enemy of your enemy is not your friend. You might believe that making common cause with Islamists now will lead to your victory in the overthrow of capitalism and your installation of a Socialist welfare state and you may be right, but in the end, you will lose. There are more Islamists than there are of you. The Islamists are more vicious than you. They are also much worse than anything you imagine of the Right and about capitalism. Let’s just take one simple issue: Homosexuality.
The leftist Norwegian Labour government’s Ministry of Children, Equality, and Social Inclusion named Mahdi Hassan, a noted homophobe, as the 2009 Role Model of the Year. He looks like a very nice chap. Of course, Mein Kampf probably looked like a good book in Germany in the 1920s judging by the cover.
Hassan told the newspaper Arbeidets Rett that he wants a ban on homosexuality, based on the Qur’an. Does he support the death penalty for gays? That’s “up to each individual country to decide, but, in general, yes.”
Was he condemned? Needless to say, the homosexual community wasn’t thrilled, but other than that he was cheered with the Socialists applauding loudly.
'There is freedom of speech in Norway and in the Tynset Socialist Left Party we consider it unproblematic that Mahdi is opposed in principle to homosexuality. It is in accordance with his religion.'
- Stein Petter Løkken, leader of the Socialist Left Party in Hassan’s home kommune of Tynset
In November 2007 during an Oslo debate, at which the deputy chairman of Norway’s Islamic Council, Asghar Ali, was asked if he would refuse to reject the death penalty for gays. He refused. The head of the Islamic Council, which represents 80,000 Muslims), Senaid Kobilica was asked where he stood on the question, he responded that he couldn’t possibly give a definitive answer “until he got a ruling from the European Fatwa Council, but that homosexuality was against the teachings of the Qur’an and execution is the proscribed punishment.” If it makes you feel any better, Kobilica did say that he was “100 per cent certain that the Council will not come out in favour of something which conflicts with European law.” By which he means, that while the death penalty for homosexuals is, indeed, an orthodox Islamic position — one about which the Fatwa Council’s head, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has himself written sympathetically — Western Muslim leaders, in accordance with the Koran, prefer in such controversial cases not to challenge infidel law…for now.
'It isn’t possible to live homosexually and at the same time say that one practices Islam. These are two incompatible things… Homosexuality goes against what Islam stands for, and therefore it can’t be combined.'
- Senaid Kobilica, Chairman of Norway's Islamic Council
After the brouhaha in 2007, it emerged that Asghar Ali not only was deputy chairman of the Islamic Council, but was also on the board of the Oslo Arbeidersamfunn, the largest and most influential association within Norway’s ruling Labour Party. As Bruce Bawer reported, when asked about Ali’s views, the head of the Oslo Arbeidersamfunn, Anne Cathrine Berger, lamented that some people “can’t see the difference between a board member’s views and the organisation’s views.” Despite scattered calls for his dismissal, Ali remained on the board.
'We’re the ones who will change you. Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every Western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries is producing 3.5 children. Our way of thinking will prove more powerful than yours.'
- Norwegian Imam Mullah Krekar, Dagbladet, 2006
Useful Infidels, you’d better wake up PDQ.
BTW: Anti-Semitic attacks increased by 30% around the globe in 2012. In the United States, a country with a population over 310 million, anti-Semitic hate crimes are still the majority of all recorded anti-religious incidents (62% of the 1,318 in 2009). In Canada, a country of 34 million people, there were 1,297 anti-Semitic hate crimes in 2011. There was a 58% increase in anti-Semitic attacks in France in 2012. Anti-Semitic attacks in the UK reached 'record levels' and was 'the worst we've seen in decades' in 2009 and 'slightly increased' in 2012.
The Left doesn't help matters with its constant class warfare and demonisation of bankers' (Read: Jewish bankers, wink, wink) either.