2012: Exploiting Islamophobia to Win Big
Kelley B. Vlahos
Islamophobia (hatred of Muslims) is growing in this
country, despite the courageous efforts by some - mostly
left-wing secularists (which doesn't say much for the
courage of Christians) - to tamp down the rage. Slowly
but surely it is becoming a part of the cultural landscape
in the United States. One can plainly see this hatred
manifested on the many websites Richard
Paradise promotes on the front page of his website,
see our article, "The Grief
Associated with Preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom;"]
The "GREEN (i.e., Islamic) MENACE" has now replaced
the "RED MENACE," and the "evil empire" of the
cold war has become the less eloquent, but just as deadly,
"evil-doers" of the Arab and Muslim world. The
fact is, the carping being directed against Muslims in
the United States is beginning to reach the vitriolic
level of the rhetoric that was leveled against American
citizens of Japanese ancestry in the first months of the
Second World War - just before they were all rounded up
and sent off to concentration camps "for their own
For example, take the hate-filled rhetoric of Bill
O'Reilly of Fox News who has said about the Afghani victims
of America's foray into Central Asia:
"Life-expectancy in Afghanistan is a little
over 40 years; killing someone there is not like killing
Then there are the comments by Rush Limbaugh concerning
the horror at Abu Ghraib:
"I'm talking about people [i.e., the American
guards and interrogators at Abu Ghraib] having a good
time ... you ever hear of emotional release? You ever
hear of the need to blow some steam off."
Is that what the Americans were doing at Abu Ghraib,
Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere in America's gulag of "concentration
camps" that now girdles the globe in countries like
Egypt, Thailand, Jordan, Korea, Guatemala, Argentina,
the various "stans" of Central Asia, etc.? Is
that what the SS was doing at Auschwitz, Treblinka and
Sobibor? - just "blowing off a little steam."
What's going on here? What's the real reason behind
the effort to demonize Muslims? Rayan El-Amine explains:
"It is easier to justify control of a region
when you DEMONIZE and DEHUMANIZE its people and culture"
And that's EXACTLY what the oil elites and the American
government are doing: Creating a "BLOOD-LUST"
in Americans which they can then harness to annihilate
the population of the Middle East. AND MAKE NO MISTAKE
ABOUT IT, THAT'S WHERE ALL THIS IS HEADING. [Please
see our article, "Sowing
the Seeds of the Gog / Magog War."]
Of course, the creation of such a BLOOD-LUST requires
hardening the hearts of those in whom this BLOOD-LUST
is going to be placed, making the recipients of this pathology
resistant to compassion and understanding, and hardened
to the HORROR they are visiting on the people they intend
to subjugate or kill off.
The goal of this "hardening process" is
to produce in those people who are the subjects of it
(specifically, the American people) a condition where
it's not as if they are ignorant of the horror they are
visiting on other people, it's that THEY JUST DON'T CARE.
These are those people about whom the Bible says -
"... in the LATTER TIMES ... shall depart from
the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines
their conscience SEARED with a hot iron
..." (I Timothy 4:1-2)
And one would be wise to take note of the fact that
the Bible is referencing Christians here, for how can
it be said that "unbelievers" can "depart
from the faith?" - they were never there to begin
Why did Renee Ellmers, a Republican candidate for Congress
from North Carolina, produce a campaign ad skewering her opponent for not
vociferously opposing the Park 51 Islamic center planned for Manhattan near
Ground Zero, over 500 miles away?
Because it was good campaign strategy, that's why. She presumed
that the Newt Gingrich-hyper-generated history of the Muslims conquering
the city of Cordoba 13 centuries ago, complete with illustrations and the
juxtaposition of Ground Zero, would pay off, particularly among the disgruntled
southern conservatives in her district, which covers the central and eastern
parts of the state. And she was right - this blatant exploitation of their
fears certainly didn't hurt and might very well have helped her beat seven-term
incumbent Democrat Rep. Bob Etheridge in one of the many GOP upsets of the
In fact, anti-Muslim rage in today's national discourse is
populism's low-hanging fruit, and many Republicans hungrily grabbed at it
with both fists and were duly rewarded this campaign season. Sure, not every
one of the Sarah Palin/Tea Party-endorsed candidates won on Nov. 2, but those
who did, won in part because of their willingness to indulge in the Islamophobia
coursing through the Republican base today, not despite it. The same Republican
base that helped the party torpedo the Democrats last Tuesday, taking back
the House, six senate seats, six governorships, and 680 slots in state legislatures
(the most in the modern era, according to the National Journal).
"I think this election will weigh heavily on us for the next
couple of years," lamented James Zogby, director of the Arab American Institute,
talking before an audience assembled at The Palestine Center in Washington,
D.C on Thursday. Parsing out the election results in the frame of the current
backlash, he said Islamophobia has "exploded" on the Arab-American community
in the U.S., "to the extent I don't think I have ever seen before."
The Sarah Palin/Tea Party-endorsed candidates won on Nov. 2 in
part because of their willingness to indulge in Islamophobia.
In Florida, for example, Republican ex-Army officer and two-time
congressional candidate, Allen West, has been fond of giving speeches that
highlight his perceived historical knowledge of Islam as a religion of murder
and hate. Pontificating on the Quran at the Hudson Institute this year,
West exclaimed, "this is not a perversion, (Terrorists) are doing exactly
what this book says."
In February, West took it up a notch, speaking before the Freedom
Defense Initiative, a jihad-hunting fundraising machine headed by Pamela Geller
(Atlas Shrugs) and Robert Spencer (Jihad Watch):
Geller is one of the loudest opponents of the mosque in
Lower Manhattan. Geller co-founded the "Freedom Defense
Initiative," and "Stop Islamization of America," and co-authored
the book The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration's
War on America.
"There is no such thing as 'war on terror,'" he told his audience,
"a nation does not go to war against a tactic. A nation goes to war against
an ideology… we are against something that is a totalitarian, theocratic,
political ideology and it is called Islam."
Geller did her best to promote West's candidacy - "Run West
Run!" - and Ellmers was also on Geller's list of "endorsed" candidates. In
ordinary political times, respectable Republican candidates would have steered
clear away from Geller and Spencer and other such toxic avengers.
Meanwhile, just days before the election, right wing blogs
started touting what they said was proof that Democratic Rep. Joseph Sestak,
running in a tight race for Senate with Republican Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania,
had attended a 2006 campaign fundraiser hosted for him by the director of
CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), an "unindicted terrorist co-conspirator"
that is supposedly a front for Hamas, but apparently not so effective to have
been charged as such by the U.S. government. Nevertheless, the accusations
have been dogging Sestak, a retired Vice Admiral in the U.S. Navy, and in
July, blogs like Atlas Shrugs began pushing the issue and circulating this
ad by the "Emergency Committee for Israel," a right wing marriage of Washington
neoconservatives and evangelical Christians with a lot of money to burn. It
launched with the Sestak attack, and was key in making Park 51 a national
issue a few weeks later.
Pat Toomey - Republican; also won by indulging in Islamophobia.
Sestak lost last Tuesday to Toomey, 49 to
In Nevada, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid may have beat
back a challenge by Tea Party favorite Sharon Angle, but most would agree
she forced him to dance to her tune throughout the entire campaign. Example:
when challenged in August by Angle to break his silence on the Park 51 project,
Reid succumbed to the noxious Tea Party atmosphere and said Park 51 should
be "built elsewhere."
Later, in October, Angle indulged a delusional audience member
by agreeing with him that Muslims were slowly taking over the American legal
Mandel - another Republican who won by indulging in Islamophobia.
"We're talking about a militant terrorist situation, which
I believe it isn't a widespread thing, but it is enough that we need to address,
and we have been addressing it," she told the audience.
Off the congressional grid, Republican Josh Mandel, whose campaign
produced an attack ad that artfully invoked anti-mosque/Muslim feelings while
pumping up Mandel's "real American" status as a "decorated Marine," "crushed"
incumbent Ohio State Treasurer Kevin Boyce, a Democrat, by 15 points.
Notably, national jihad-watchers weighed in on this statewide
race, targeting Mandel's opponent's deputy, accusing him of attending an "infamous
mosque" and "hanging with Islamic extremists." After the election, the Cleveland
Plain Dealer referred to Mandel as "a rising star in his party."
And of course, there was the successful state ballot initiative
in super red Oklahoma, touted by Gingrich and others as the first shot across
the bow at the coming Muslim invasion. The "Save our State" amendment will
modify the state constitution to ban Sharia law. Comedian Stephen Colbert,
while noting that there are only 15,000 Muslims in Oklahoma today, had the
best take yet: "Just because something doesn't exist doesn't mean you shouldn't
ban it. That's why I have long fought for ballot measures to ban cat pilots,
baby curling, and man-futon marriage."
Looking at the smoldering post-election landscape and the
long presidential campaign trail ahead, it's clear that Islamophobia as a
political tool is here to stay -- wielded by Republicans who use it to excite
and galvanize the right wing, embarrass their opponents and sow the seeds
of fear and paranoia in everyone else. And it's so damn effective!
The inclusion of former CIA Chief James
Woolsey in the Oklahoma campaign indicates that America's
"Rogue Government" is very much involved in the effort
stir up Islamophobia in the United States in preparation
of an American effort to once and for all seize control
of the oil fields of the Middle East and Central Asia.
[Please see our article, "The
Evil in our Midst."]
Zogby says President Bush may have "kept a lid on" the worst
of the backlash after 9/11, however selfishly, by promoting the meme that
his military invasions were not a "war on Muslims." But the election of Barack
Obama and the accompanying economic crisis unleashed the vitriol simmering
under the surface, stirred by what Zogby called the expanding "cottage industry
of terrorism experts" like Geller, Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Clifford May and
Frank Gaffney. They inhabit largely Republican think tanks like the Center
for Security Policy, the American Enterprise Institute and the Foundation
for the Defense of Democracies, which as a monolith of anti-Muslim rhetoric,
all provide daily talking points to Republican politicians like Sarah Palin,
Newt Gingrich and up-and-comers like West and Ellmers.
They also inspire and conspire with evangelical leaders like
Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham (son of the Rev. Billy Graham), who felt
emboldened enough to call Islam "wicked" and "evil" during a televised town
meeting-style forum last April. Why not, when he knows that nearly half the
electorate, or those identifying as Republican or 'leaning Republican,' likely
agree with him on some level.
According to poll results announced by the Arab American Institute
on Nov. 1, 66 percent of Republican voters now hold an unfavorable view of
Arabs; 85 percent hold an unfavorable view of Muslims. Compare that to 28
percent who hold a favorable view of Arabs, and 12 percent who hold a favorable
view of Muslims.
"The GOP has become captive of several groups that now dominate
the party's base and have transformed its thinking. The 'religious right'
and its 'end of days' preachers like Pat Robertson, William Hagee and Gary
Bauer, presently constitute almost 40% of Republican voters. This group's
emphasis on the divinely ordained battle between the forces of 'good' (i.e.
the Christian West and Israel) and the forces of 'evil' (Islam and the Arabs)
has logically given rise to anti-Muslim prejudice.
"Then there are the Christian right's ideological cousins,
the neo-conservatives, who share an identical Manichean and apocalyptic world
view, though with a secular twist. And into the mix must be thrown Islamophobic
right-wing radio and TV commentators like [Bill] O'Reilly, [Glenn] Beck, [Rush]
Limbaugh, [Michael] Savage and company, who daily spew their poison across
"The combination produces a lethal brew that is dangerous not
only for the intolerance it has created, but the sense of certitude and self-righteousness
The incoming Republican chairs to the foreign policy/security/intelligence
committees and shifts in the party leadership in the House are "really problematic,"
said Zogby. He pointed out several members who are quite known for promoting
interventionist, anti-Arab/Muslim policy prescriptions and are expected to
rise in the ranks next year, including Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Foreign
Affairs), Eric Cantor (Majority Leader), Dan Burton (Foreign Affairs-Middle
East), Peter King (Homeland Security), Lamar Smith (Judiciary) and Steve King
"You have people who have a decidedly anti-Arab, anti-Islam
mindset … it's born out of the same ideological fervor of the last (Bush)
administration," said Zogby. As for the broader problem of Islamophobia and
the Republican wave of influence in Washington politics, he said, "I think
it will have an impact on the President and it will make the climate very
You bet. Especially with the presidential
campaign right around the corner. In fact, I've argued that it is already
here. Watch the Islamophobia that poisoned the well in the midterms metastasize
like a vulgar cancer for what already promises to be a Republican/Tea Party
crusade to throw Obama - a man who upwards of 46 percent of Republicans believe
is a secret Muslim - out of the White House for good.
Though the so-called Tea Party movement was supposedly born
out of a backlash to the President's "socialist" economic policies in times
of financial crisis, it has done nothing to dissuade its adherents from scapegoating
immigrants and Muslims for the country's problems. Zogby tells Antiwar.com
that "if a popular (GOP) leader criticizes this bigotry it could have an impact."
I am not so optimistic. As Zogby said himself, "once the genie is out of the
bottle, it's hard to get it back in." And this is one hell of
a vengeful Jinn.
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