Promoting anti-Muslim stories
Some time ago, someone sent me the story of a Muslim bus driver in Britain, who stopped his bus and ordered his passengers to get off the bus so he could pray.
This story was authoritatively reported by “The Sun”, a British newspaper famous for its Page Three Nudes and super-sensationalized “news”. Someone took a cell video of a bus driver praying in an empty bus and sent it to The Sun which never did a fact-check and blared it out to its readers (didn’t know it had any, I always thought people bought the paper for Page Three). The Sun also published the video on its website and encouraged people to check it out.
That story, like MOST Islamophobic stories (if not all) was a hoax. Nevertheless, it severely damaged the bus driver’s reputation and peace of mind AND after Islamophobic websites pounced on it like flies on fresh dog-poop, there was no end to the vilification of the “Fanatic Muzlems” who are going to take over America and impose their “Sharia Laws on us”.
Robert Spencer broadcast it on his “Jihad Watch”, as did so many others, further fuelling hate against Muslims. This is the same, self-promoted “expert” on Islam and Muslims, who wrote “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam” (note the ‘PIG’), in which I could not find a single accuracy and stopped reading after about 90 pages; take the second word out of the title and we will have perhaps the only bit of honesty in his entire book.
I was reminded of this event because I received an e-mail from Sheila Musaji, who runs The American Muslim website, she had just written an excellent article which was a compilation and consolidation of her many prior articles in which she had addressed some of the Islamophobic calumnies that are so loved by our right-wing members of the “Judeo-Christian Civilization”. It is impossible to address all the calumnies because, as I have said so often before, it is like swatting at Mosquitoes in a swamp; hit one and ten more fly in to suck out our blood.
Anyway, reading Sheila’s article (see below) is time well-spent, it picks out some popular stories that exist only in the fantasies of our enemies’ fantasies that are toxic and therefore deadly to the well-being of any nation that wishes to have all of its people live together in peace and harmony (even if we disagree). Included in the references to anti-Muslim fables, if also the one about the bus driver.
I suppose detractors and Islamophobes might come back with a response that the story was picked up by their heroes (like Robert Spencer), because it had been reported in “credible media”. The issue is not whether a story had been reported in “major media” or not, the issue is the extra-ordinary focus on stories, such that fear and hate against Islam (or any other entity or group) is promoted; it would be just as mean-spirited to draw focus on the Catholic church and Christianity, simply because of some priests are found to be pedophiles. While there are many stories about pedophile priests, it is also true that there have been cases of child-molestation among Jewish Rabbis and Hindu priests…and the fact that there are no stories about Muslims (yet!) is probably only due to lack of reportage. The point at hand, is that there is no need to pick up stories simply to further an evil objective, which is to spread hate and fear.
I recently had an Islamophobe respond to something I had written against torture, this fellow makes a great to-do about how he respects Islam, but seems to find nothing redeeming about Islam in any of his responses. He responded to my accusations of torture being instituted by American leadership, as the right thing to do in defending our country “…and“, he went on, “people can walk away after waterboarding, but nobody walked away from Twin Towers…”. He did not respond when I asked him if that would be the kind of response he would give to his daughter if she were raped on the street.
People have two very different personalities when they respond to matters of the “Judeo-Christian world” or to things “Muzlem“; sometimes, we can help them become aware of this split-view and sometimes, it only serves to entrench them further in their gutters…
Sheila Musaji’s article follows:
- This is one of the difficult issues to dialogue about, but it is an issue that needs to be dealt with – What was the religious affiliation of: – Those who enslaved and murdered the Native Americans; – Those who colonized most of what is now the “Third World”; – Those who dropped the atomic bomb; – Those who developed and participated in the political systems of Naziism and Fascism; – Those who carried out the Rwandan genocide?; – Those who participated in torture at Abu Ghraib; – Those who carried out ethnic cleansing against the Bosnian Muslims; – Those who were responsible for the death of millions in Germany’s death camps? If the answer to any of these questions had been Islam then the criminals would have been identified as “Islamic” If the answer to any of these had been Arab, then the criminals would have been identified as Arab. “The leap from deviant Muslims perpetrating atrocities to a religion being impugned for the sins of its supposed adherents is breath-taking in its audacity. This distinction has become critical ever since the ‘’showdown with Saddam” transmuted into the ‘’war on terror.” With the daily mind-numbing imagery of maniacal Muslim ‘’insurgents” savaging troops and civilians alike, a transformation rapidly took place: The problem was just not Muslim terrorists but an ‘’evil” Islam itself. This is a theme broadcast with malevolent glee by talk shows on a daily basis thereby intensifying suspicion, fear, contempt, and hatred of Islam. Demonizing Islam makes it the enemy in the ‘’war on terror.” … Ironically, it is us Muslims who have the greatest vested interest in eradicating terrorism. We need to do this to salvage our religion and our self-respect. As long as we are marginalized by the West and taunted by the extremists, we are made to feel as if we were part of the problem rather than of the solution, and our commitment becomes ambivalent. If the so-called war on terrorism has any chance of being won, there needs to be an immediate redefinition of the enemy.” Foe isn’t Islam, it’s Binladenism, Abdul Cader Asmal
Clearly we have free speech in the U.S., and the line between hate speech and free speech is difficult to draw. My hope as an American Muslim is that we are able to learn to have respectful speech that does not close off the possibility of dialogue and alienate the very Muslims who could act as a bridge between cultures.
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