American Islamophobia

Making statements against Islam is a sure way to get some media attention in the United States, if you’re a politician. The real problem are not the conservative pundits that are getting paid to bash Islam, it’s the millions of people around the country that enable them to do so. If it were not a profitable practice, you can be sure that these people would not be engaging in rampant Islamophobia on the airwaves.

This has resulted in millions of Muslims who, by all accounts are just as American as the pundits insulting them on the television, being the target of hate and fear. New mosques are opposed to by towns and communities and the vandalizing or Islamic buildings has been on the rise.

Violence and hate speech against people of the Islamic faith has also risen dramatically in the last decade. The media, in its unscrupulous search for ratings, has focused on the extreme acts of an infinitely small portion of Muslim radicals, leading to the alienation of millions of Muslims in the United States that are just trying to live their daily lives in piece. This negative media attention on Islam has resulted in an overall negative view of Muslims. Polls reflect that 70% of Americans have an unfavorable or neutral view of Islam; widespread ignorance of the actual practices of the Islamic faith are also the norm in the United States.

One of the more recent occurrences that highlighted this ill will towards Muslim was the proposal of an Islamic Center in Manhattan. Rhetoric went out of control when many right wing pundits and politicians went as far as to compare Islam to Nazism and Fascism. A widespread outrage about Shariah law even resulted in laws in some states prohibiting Shariah law. Considering that absolutely no one in the Untied States, including Muslims, is asking or calling out for Shariah courts or law, the very idea of this kind of legislation is nothing more than ridiculously misguided political grandstanding.

It is sad to see this hysteria in right-wing American politics. For a country that has traditionally prided itself on the principles of freedom of religion, to tolerate the widespread hate and persecution of Islam is truly tragic. It is every American’s right to hold any religious views he wishes as long as they do not infringe on the rights of third parties. The American way should be for Muslims, as much American citizens as anyone else, to practice their faith without interference and hostility, protected by the law and the constitution. However, it is a sad state of affairs when religion is considered an acceptable target for attack in the mainstream media, and an acceptable tool in the rhetoric of politicians campaigning for government positions. In the end, the right wing networks (like Fox news) and the pundits are making money off of attacking the faith of innocent American citizens, and the very politicians that should be representing and working for those very citizens are using these attacks on Islam to further secure their power and position. A society that condones and tolerate these kinds of attacks on the faith of millions cannot truly call itself free, however much it would like to boast of its incomparable freedoms and individual rights.

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