The events surrounding the opposition to the so-called “Ground Zero mosque,” other mosques around the country and the village idiot by the name of Terry Jones serves as a reminder that anti-Muslim prejudice is alive and well as an ideology, as a campaign platform as well as a social phenomenon.
Yasir Qadhi of the Al-Maghrib Institute had a point, when he stated on CNN that there are radical Islamic clerics saying you can’t be an American and Muslim at the same time, while prominent anti-Muslim activists are saying the same thing.
When dealing with “Islamophobia,” one is dealing with an anti-Muslim ideology that seeks to build a chauvinist and anti-democratic West. In order to do that, it needs a global enemy that wants to destroy Western civilization it can point to, and what better than Islamic fundamentalism.
When Qadhi’s partner, Wisam Sharieff, asked “what tipped the scales?” he apparently forgot about the Ft. Hood shooting, the under wear bomber and the attempted Times Square bombing. Where would the Eurofascists be without 4/11 and 77? And, of course, 9/11, the mother of all Islamist terror attacks helped launch the careers of many a prominent anti-Muslim activists, and provided the scene of “hallowed ground” that the Tea Party, Robert Spencer and Pam Geller have exploited to promote anti-Muslim politics.
This isn’t to say that Islamism is, by itself to blame for anti-Muslim racism anymore than the Crips are to blame for anti-black racism. But they’re not helping the problem, either – by providing a convenient caricature, Islamists in effect aid the work of Islamophobes and popular Islamophobia by giving something for people like Spencer to point to as proof of what they’re talking about.
I believe the rationale behind Islamist terror results from a major lack of good political judgement. Specifically, Bin Laden’s description of America and the West as “Crusaders” and the 7/7 bombers desire for revenge shows this poor judgement in action (not to mention immorality.) Nothing in their analysis seems to include the far-reaching effects of their actions on the targeted societies political fabric, specifically the impact it has on the far right. America isn’t a Crusader state as Bin Laden defined it, but his and his followers actions have ensured a Crusader ideology has emerged that may engulf the West and prove disastrous for Muslims worldwide.
And I don’t believe it’s by accident. Islamism benefits from polarization in the same way that reactionaries in general do; as Taliban operative Zabihullah told Newsweek: “By preventing this mosque from being built, America is doing us a big favor.”
Thanks to Islamist terrorism, a symbiosis has emerged where the Western far right – BNP, Vlaams Belang, SIOA, AFDI – and the Islamist far right have developed an unspoken working relationship.
Therefore, any program to fight anti-Muslim racism must also include a struggle against Islamism.