03 April 2011

Why We Should Be Worried About Anti-Islamic Hate

Although I still have something that resembles a belief system, I have just about no use for religion.  Still, I am very, very afraid when I see people using their influence to spread hate against other people on account of their religion.  After all, if you learn nothing else from the Holocaust, you learn that when they go after the Jews, it's only a matter of time before they go after you.

A certain amount of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment has long existed in this country; 9/11 simply pushed it to the forefront and made anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry socially acceptable, at least in some circles.  But lately, it seems that the Islamophobes have "turned up the volume," if you will.  Whether or not there has been more violence and hatred against Muslims, I don't know.  But I've certainly been hearing a lot more about it lately.

The Florida pastor who burned the Koran is just the latest example.  You just don't do that to someone's holy book, even if it's The Whole Earth Catalogue or Mad Magazine.  I mean, what if some imam in Afghanistan burned Bibles or copies of the US Constitution?  I'd be willing to bet that the same people who preach hate against Muslims would be purple with rage.  

Among those people would be folks like Congressman Peter King.  His hearings on terrorism turned into an anti-Moslem referendum.  Until those hearings, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt: I suspected that he lost someone close to him on 9/11.  However, I've met other people who lost loved ones that day and have not heard--from them, anyway--the kind of bilge coming out of King's mouth.  Yes, they're still grieving; they're probably angry and some may well hate Muslim or Middle Eastern people.  However, they're not acting the way King has acted. 

Plus, as Diana has noted on her blog, violence against Muslims and people who are (or are thought to be) of Middle Eastern descent has increased and shows no signs of abating.  The FBI says that there are now about 1000 hate groups operating in the US.  Many of them are white supremacist groups, or include white supremacy in their goals and mission.  It's not a stretch to say that the ones who haven't openly expressed a wish to make life more difficult or even to deport or kill Muslims are engaged in doing so.  

And once they're finished with Muslims, they'll come for you!