What About the Muslim Children?

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Americans’ Dim Views Of Islam Have Gotten A Little Worse.

In 2002, Muslims comprised 5 percent of the immigrants coming into the US, while in 2012 they made up 10 percent – the equivalent of 100,000 arriving every year.Since the Paris terror attacks in November, at least 52 anti-Islamic incidents have been recorded in Canada and the U.S. — including a severed pig’s being head thrown outside a Philadelphia mosque, a brutal attack against a Muslim store owner in New York and passengers of “Middle Eastern descent” being removed from more than one flight after fellow travelers claimed they looked suspicious.

Pew also found that Muslim immigrants prefer more government services and that 70 percent lean towards the Democrats, while just 11 percent identify with Republicans. The recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California — and Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s subsequent call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” — further stoked worries about rising Islamophobia. “It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently,” President Barack Obama said Sunday in a national address, before Trump released his statement. “Because when we travel down that road, we lose.” Just 17 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of Islam, according to the poll, which was also conducted after the San Bernardino shooting but prior to Trump’s comments. A majority of the Muslims globally (62 percent) live in the Asia-Pacific region, including large populations in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Turkey.

Indonesia is currently the country with the world’s single largest Muslim population but Pew says that India will have that distinction by the year 2050, with more than 300million Muslims. The results are similar to those of a March HuffPost/YouGov poll, in which 21 percent viewed Islam favorably, 55 percent viewed it unfavorably and one-quarter weren’t sure. In 2011 survey, Pew found roughly half of Muslim Americans say their own religious leaders have not done enough to speak out against Islamic extremists. His remarks are playing out in a context of growing Islamophobic sentiment in the US — a question not just of rhetoric but of real-world violence. “I’ve never seen so much anxiety in Muslim communities like the last few weeks, since 9/11 and maybe even including 9/11,” said Shahed Amanullah, a former senior adviser for the State Department.

Trying to interpret the term as an anti-Muslim slur – or a declaration on Islam as a whole – essentially demonizes those using it as Islamophobes. Amanullah said his own life has been largely devoid of day-to-day discrimination, and that he suspects Trump’s rhetoric is catching on as a result of national anxiety. To find out more about the context of Trump’s remarks, I spoke with Jordan Denari, a research fellow at the Bridge Initiative, a project at Georgetown University that tracks and analyzes Islamophobia.

The vehement opposition to Islam among a now-majority of Republicans dovetails with the frequency with which anti-Islam rhetoric has occurred in the GOP’s presidential primary campaign. While it’s impossible to gauge from the poll numbers whether the sentiment is driving candidates to further extremes or vice versa, it has so far proven to be a successful tactic — former neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s argument that Muslims shouldn’t serve as president gave him a temporary bounce in the polls, while Trump’s previous anti-Muslim comments have only solidified his lead. It was the furthest he’s gone, and I think it’s a very clear example of Islamophobia in the clearest sense, in that he’s discriminating against an entire group of people based on their Muslim faith. So though his statement fits to a certain extent with the things he had said in the past, it hit a new level of concern with me when I heard about it.

The study comes the same week that Republican front runner Donald Trump caused a rift in his party, calling for a ban on all Muslims who wish to enter the U.S. Maybe Christianity doesn’t justify the Crusades, the Inquisition, or the violence of the European Wars of Religion, but the people involved in all that turmoil thought they were Christians. Thirty-six percent say they’d be interested in learning more about Islam, including 27 percent of those who currently hold a negative view of the religion. You can’t see it outside the real spike in attacks against Muslims that have occurred, particularly since the Paris attacks and in the wake of San Bernardino. The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Dec. 5-7 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

Unless someone has a very explicit motive, it’s hard to say what caused a person to commit an attack, to attack a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf or vandalize a mosque. It was a bit melodramatic, given that Lynch never said she would prosecute any anti-Muslim rhetoric whatsoever, but only rhetoric that “edges towards violence” (which Walsh’s speech never did). I was watching this morning some interviews that CNN and MSNBC did with Trump supporters after the remarks he made last night, and virtually all of them were in agreement with him on this. A caller to the Rush Limbaugh show recently made a bizarre assertion, claiming that the violence committed by Israelites in the Old Testament – e.g., massacring the Canaanites: elderly, infants, goats and all – was alright because it was “a one-time thing.” Limbaugh added that the Israelites were “being liberated.” So, genocide as a one-off – for the record, decades after the Israelites left slavery in Egypt – is morally acceptable? YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling.

Take for example the poll that Donald Trump referenced in his press release and his press conference last night [which said that 25 percent of American Muslims agree that violence against other Americans is justified]. I’m not looking for opinion polls about acceptance of Shariah Law and so forth, I mean radical in the sense of being ready and willing to pick up a gun and shoot non-Muslims, like Farook and Malik did. We and many other organizations have written about its long history of spreading misinformation about Islam and Muslims, not just on the fringe but really in the mainstream.

We’ve seen a number of presidential candidates in the GOP who have gone to events hosted by this organization or who have cited this organization as their source on a lot of things. One of the things that can partially explain the fact that Islamophobia now is, I think, worse than it was in the early years after 9/11 is because you have this group that’s making a very concerted effort, particularly in the media and among politicians, to sow distrust and misinformation. We’ve seen them crop up in every year or so. … The group of individuals who are doing this work are constantly pushing their material into the media. Not only would Fox News bring on some of these people, but they would still be getting on CNN and other outlets that people perceive to be less partisan.

Marco Rubio said something to the effect that not saying “radical Islam” was like not saying we were at war with Nazis in World War II because we didn’t want to offend moderates in the Nazi Party. It’s basically saying that ordinary Muslims and ISIS are in the same party, in the same camp — that because they share the label of Muslim, they share something inherent.

We won’t know the FBI hate crime statistics for 2015 for another year or two, but just anecdotally the swell of anti-Muslim attacks and threats that just come across my news feed or my Twitter is really quite incredible. You have a Muslim cab driver getting shot after being asked about ISIS and where he’s from, you have Muslim women who have been assaulted in public, you have numerous vandalisms of mosques, some of which have already been targeted within the last five years. It’s difficult to show cause and effect when it comes to rhetoric from some individuals and then the actions of other people, but we do see a correlation between heightened anti-Muslim rhetoric and attacks on individuals and their institutions. Very few people walk up to someone and say, “I’m going to shoot you because you’re Muslim,” but people need to know several Muslims were killed amid among all the rhetoric that we were hearing even earlier this summer. But I don’t think until late high school or early college was I really aware that Catholics were very much demonized, not only in rhetoric but in action in previous decades.

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