By: Dr. Mohamed Elmasry
One of Europe’s Islamophobia industry leaders is Matthias Kuentzel, a political scientist in Hamburg, Germany, of whom his U.S. promoters say:
“Since 2004, he has been a research associate at the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism (SICSA) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2006, he became a member of the Boards of Directors of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. He is the author of the new book, Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11. It was awarded the London Book Festival’s annual grand prize for ‘books worthy of greater attention from the international publishing community’. His essays about Islamism and anti-Semitism have been published inter alia in The New Republic, Policy Review, The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, Telos, and they have been translated into more than ten languages. In (2008), he is going to present his new book in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Buffalo, Bangor, Augusta and Washington DC.”
Among those European and North American authors in greatest demand these days are a growing number of young Western Muslim women who have forged a public profile by blaming Islam for every problem and disadvantage in the lives of Muslims everywhere – including of course their own. They are strangely vague, or even silent, on the role of poor social and economic conditions that prevail in most developing Muslim countries and about the exploitation of resources in those countries by Western powers, their proxies, or even their operatives within those Muslim countries.
The Islamophobia industry is also responsible for translating books and opinion articles from other languages into English in order to accelerate the movement of anything that smears Islam and Muslims into the Western media bandwidth.
It is all too easy to make a career in the Islamophobia industry. Financing is readily available from governments and right-wing special interest groups, all of whom are interested in smearing Islam in order to promote their political agenda of dominating, exploiting, invading, and ultimately occupying Muslim countries and homelands. The power of Islamophobia is thus brought to bear heavily on Muslim minorities in Western countries, who are pressured into silence and the abandonment of their collective political voice.
Of course, those who work within and on behalf of the Islamophobia industry deny any wrongdoing or ethical compromise in their motivation. In fact, they deny that Islamophobia even exists! And when they are forced to actually acknowledge the term, it is always placed between quotation marks.
Moreover, they attack any voice coming from among the Western Muslim communities – their primary victimized group. They also cheer on other Islamophobes, as well as defending Muslim profiling by the FBI and the Red Alerts issued by the CIA against Muslim countries.
Islamophobes, regardless of what they call themselves, blame Muslims for every terrorist attack and find them all guilty-by-association for the crimes of a few. The only “good” Muslims in the view of the Islamophobia industry are those who agree to be stereotyped as “moderate,” “modern,” “liberal,” “progressive,” “ordinary” – in other words, socially compliant and politically silent.
In October 2008, the national media watchdog group FAIR, released a first- of-its-kind report “profiling 12 of the leading Islamophobic pundits and media figures and examining the ways they’ve negatively influenced media coverage in the U.S.”
The report, called “Smearcasting: How Islamophobes Spread Fear, Bigotry and Misinformation,” describes a loose network of right-wing, anti-Muslim partisans “who regularly use innuendo, questionable sources of information and even lies to smear, and effectively marginalize, Muslims in the media.”
Steve Rendall, one of the report’s authors and a senior analyst at FAIR, said: “This report takes a fresh look at Islamophobia and its perpetrators in today’s media … We found prominent right-wing pundits and activists using misinformation and innuendo to broadcast hate against an entire community — in this case, Muslim-Americans — and major media have either fallen asleep at the wheel or, in many cases, have actively helped to spread the smears.”
“Media should seek various points of view, but the message of the Islamophobes cannot possibly comport with the standards and practices that should constrain media outlets from airing smears against ethnic and religious groups,” Rendall continued. “We’re talking about double standards.”
The report lists American talk show hosts like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and Glenn Beck; American activists like Michelle Malkin, Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz; and influential writers like Mark Steyn and Robert Spencer.
The report also features four case studies, or snapshots, that show how “smearcasting” has affected news standards and reporting, including the following:
Daniel Pipes led a successful campaign to oust the principal of a secular Arabic-language New York City public school by initiating a media-driven pressure campaign. The principal’s history of forging interfaith and interethnic alliances was ignored by a campaign that branded her as a “stealth Islamist.” Media pressure eventually forced her to resign.
Columnist and Internet activist Michelle Malkin pressured Dunkin’ Donuts into dropping an ad featuring celebrity chef Rachael Ray wearing a black- and-white scarf — which Malkin falsely identified as a kafiyah (Middle Eastern men’s headdress), calling it a symbol of “murderous Palestinian jihad.”
Inevitably, Islamophobia emerged in the 2008 U.S. presidential election race, from nefarious whisper-campaigns directed at Senator (now President) Barack Obama to the recent distribution of an anti-Muslim propaganda DVD called “Obsession” to 28 million newspaper subscribers in electoral swing states.
“We’re not talking about people raving on a street corner downtown,” Rendall emphasized. “These are people who either have a powerful platform at their disposal, or are allowed unfettered access to powerful platforms by reporters and editors in what are considered mainstream publications.”
On a note of warning he added, “These Muslim-bashing attacks have a real impact, not only on Muslims in America but on our civil discourse.”