Unchallenged violence and intimidation, coming soon to a mosque near you

Reading accounts of the far-right English Defense League’s (EDL) recent anti-Muslim rally in Bradford, England is disturbing. EDL members, shouting slogans that state that Allah is a “pedophile” and that they “love the floods” currently devastating Pakistan, clashed with riot police during a rally held last Saturday in a city with a significant Muslim presence.

More disturbingly, recent events here don’t seem to be far from what Muslims in England have experienced. And no one in power is doing anything to stop it.

Islamophobic attitudes are rampant in both Europe and the United States. A recent TIME magazine poll found “that many Americans harbor lingering animosity toward Muslims. Twenty-eight percent of voters do not believe Muslims should be eligible to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. Nearly one-third of the country thinks adherents of Islam should be barred from running for President.”

Public expressions of hate against Muslims is on the rise. In Connecticut, as Hailey Woldt, who worked as a researcher to find out “what it meant to be Muslim in post-9/11 America,” highlighted, “a group of children leaving a Bridgeport mosque last week, as reported by the Connecticut Post, had to brace themselves as they walked past a group of about a dozen Christian protestors yelling ‘Islam is a lie’ and ‘Jesus hates Muslims.’”

During the August 22 rally near Ground Zero, anti-community center protesters surrounded a black man, apparently thinking he was Muslim, and forcefully confronted him. A fire at a Tennessee mosque was ruled to be an arson, and there were reports of gunshots being fired nearby. Today, Talking Points Memo highlights how the armed group the Minutemen are now taking up the anti-Muslim mantle, warning of border-crossing terrorists. And we can’t forget the stabbing of Ahmed Sharif, a Muslim cabdriver in New York City.

The Islamophobic thread running through Europe and the United States doesn’t end there, and Israel/Palestine plays an important role. Pamela Geller, the far-right anti-Muslim blogger who is leading the anti-Muslim crusade here, has defended and made common cause with the EDL, as Newsweek’s Mark Hosenball reported.

Geller and the EDL are part of the alliance between far-right groups, who see the Israel-Palestine conflict as a key battle in the fight to end “Islamism,”and right-wing Zionists like Geller.

Far-right groups keen on using violence, implicitly or overtly, are not new to the United States. The real danger today lies in the spinelessness of American politicians, who are aiding the hate or tacitly sitting by while attacks against Muslims continue. And it also lies in the complicity of some American Jews, like the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman and neo-conservatives like William Kristol, who are strong supporters of Israel and have come out against the Islamic community center near Ground Zero because, as MJ Rosenberg put it, “they believe that the more acceptance there is of Muslims here at home, the less reflexive hatred there will be for Muslims abroad. And that, in their view, reduces America’s sympathy for Israel.”

The horror that Muslim children in Bridgeport, CT felt when protesters shouted “Jesus hates Muslims” at them; the fear of the Muslim community in Tennessee after a fire at a mosque and reported gunshots; the blood that gushed from Ahmed Sharif; all of these incidents are not taking place in a vacuum. Expect similar stories in the future, though–our politicians are aiding and abetting this dangerous trend.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Middle East

{ 4 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. sherbrsi says:

    And it also lies in the complicity of some American Jews, like the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman and neo-conservatives like William Kristol, who are strong supporters of Israel and have come out against the Islamic community center near Ground Zero because, as MJ Rosenberg put it, “they believe that the more acceptance there is of Muslims here at home, the less reflexive hatred there will be for Muslims abroad. And that, in their view, reduces America’s sympathy for Israel.”

    The Americans are being played like a fiddle. While the bigots and Muslim-haters rally against Islamic presence in American cities, railing against the insiduous forces of “Shariah” and “Jihad,” American Zionists and right-wingers are using the whole ordeal as cover to import Israeli apartheid and violence in to the US, not unlike the violence in Israel/Palestine being used to divert attention away from Israeli expansion and settlement construction.

    Rosenberg is right with the motivation behind the American Zionist instigation and involvement against the Islamic centre, and there are many political calculations in the lobbying against the mosque, most relevantly one of which is increased American sympathy towards Zionist dominion in Palestine. If the campaign against the Islamic centre succeeds, the Zionists will have achieved a monumental victory: converting their closest allies to the most odious elements of their Zionist cause, which actively seeks and carries out the erasure of Muslim presence in the concerned region.

    If things continue on this course, when a future American president talks about “shared values” between Israel and America, perhaps there won’t be many protestations from those in the know.

  2. Citizen says:

    A long opinion piece in the Perspective section of last Sunday’s St Petersburg Times essayed why so many Americans are Islamophobic. There was no mention of Israel, neocons, their think tanks, or AIPAC, nor of the role of the MSM.

  3. Citizen says:

    A long opinion piece in the St Petersburg Times recently essayed why so many Americans are Islamophobic. There was no mention of Israel, neocons, their think tanks, or AIPAC, nor of the role of the MSM.

  4. MHughes976 says:

    It wouldn’t be fair to say that the EDL goes ‘unchallenged’ in the UK. The report from the Bradford local paper, the Telegraph and Argus, says that there were two opposing demonstrations or events, that the police were successful in preventing confrontations and that despite some missiles from the EDL side the ‘We are Bradford’ multicultural/musical event went off without interruption and dispersed peacefully. The EDL seems to be a sprout from the British National Party, which did exceptionally badly in the recent General Election.
    For all the faults of our local Zionists I don’t think that they will provide members or money for these organisations. Nick Griffin, the BNP leader who suffered the recent electoral defeat, was trying, I think, to find a way to attract Zionist sympathy and money but seems to have got nowhere. In return, I don’t think our local fash have any real concern with the ME or are under any real Christian Zionist or other religious influence.
    So don’t despair of us.