No matter who or where you ask, Islamophobia will be a serious issue. Whether it’s those who actually fear Muslim people in America and abroad, or those who believe it’s an irrational phenomenon that needs to be stopped, Islamophobia has become an important issue to Americans everywhere.
The current wave of Islamophobia in the United States is a direct result of institutional scapegoating of minorities – an age-old tactic that is once again put to use by those in executive power.
This strategy plays very well into the hands of the establishment and populist conservatives in power. Labelling a group of people as being the “bad guys,” gives the population something other than the establishment to put their anger into. It gives them someone to blame.
Democrats and Republicans are both guilty of this, of course. Democrats, however, have begun rapidly changing their tune in the past few years, as Muslim-Americans have been seen as a solid voting-block for the party.
While Democrats, such as Obama during his presidency, hope to pay lip service to Muslim Americans by avoiding hateful rhetoric domestically, while bombing Islamic nations abroad, Republicans don’t seek to avoid violent international policy either.
Conservatives in power paint a frightening picture. One in which our own children and families, good American people, are constantly in danger of a surprise attack from terrorists who have been radicalized in Muslim majority countries abroad.
This is the kind of logic that prompts such divisive policies as the recent “Muslim Ban,” signed by President Donald Trump, but how much credence can we really give to this logic of fear that is currently dividing our country? Apparently, not very much.
According to New America, a Washington research center, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists than by self-proclaimed “jihadists” since September 11, 2001.
A significant issue here is that, all too often, when acts of terrorism are committed by white Americans, such as in the case of the slaying of nine African Americans in a Charleston Church by an avowed white supremacist, such act is not labeled as an act of terrorism.
In addition to this fact, the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, the Police Executive Research Forum, and most law enforcement agencies do not view Muslim extremism as a significant threat around the country, compared to the threat of right-wing extremism.
This painting of immigrant Muslims as the bad element, then, is certainly intentional. The politicians in power need the problem to be from outside of the United States, not from within. That way, much of their corporate “America-First” agenda can be enacted, and so their own power can be further consolidated while they sow fear into the hearts of citizens who don’t know any better.
While we’re at it, if Republicans and others in power who are so insistent that Radical Islamic Terrorism is such a huge problem are so worried about the safety of Americans, why will they not listen to the numerous studies and data which shows that most terrorism is home grown?
Why won’t they make conditions for Muslim-Americans better in the United States, so that radicalization does not occur from within?
The answer is very simple. They do not really care. They do not really fear Radical Islamic Terrorism, and they do not fear for the safety of others. If the fear is directed to those practicing Islam, then the anger of the citizens will be diverted. It is no coincidence this fear-mongering most often targets those Americans who are poor, poorly educated, older, and most often white.
These are the people who are both most susceptible to racial and cultural fear, as well as those who are, among many other marginalized groups, criminally mistreated by establishment politics which work to promote this fear.
If these same people are too worried about Muslims coming over and blowing them up, they will spend less time thinking about how their government is manipulating them.
It is a simple strategy; one that should not not work as well as it does, but with a population that is so often divided and disenfranchised, it’s easy to see how they can become desperate for people to blame, and desperate to put their faith in a strong populist politician who will bring them up again.
It is a recipe for disaster. One that will come to a logical and disastrous conclusion at some point in the future if much of the population is not able to realize that they’re being mislead. Meanwhile, we can all count on our leaders to keep the hate and fear train running for as long as they can keep it up.