MABDA Report 10.10.10

MABDA Islamophobia Report


American Politics

Another example of inciting scaremongering and xenophobia to garner political popularity: U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle told a crowd of supporters this week that the country needs to address a "militant terrorist situation" that has allowed Islamic religious law to take hold in some American cities. Her comments came at a rally of tea party supporters in the Nevada resort town of Mesquite last week after the candidate was asked about Muslims angling to take over the country.

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To better understand the political climate in America, and how it's affected by the public perceptions of Muslims in Europe, read this CBS News piece:

"Just as earlier waves of Islamophobia cannot be understood outside the context of 9/11 and the "war on terror," so this current strain is consistent with two related trends at home and abroad. First, it marks the rise of xenophobic and racist forces within the Republican Party, for whom the election of a black Democratic president with an uncommon name and an African father has produced a perfect storm for divisive, deranged rhetoric. As such, this most recent outburst of Islamophobia marks a plot development in the narrative of the Nixon strategy, which used the dog whistle of racially charged rhetoric to realign the South toward the GOP. Now no dog whistle is needed. The racism is not veiled but naked, the delivery not subtle but brutal. With the Minutemen, the birthers, the Tea Partyers and Fox News on common ground, it was only a matter of time before they turned their pitchforks on Muslims. For while they did not invent Islamophobia, they were well positioned to exploit it. Twenty-eight percent of Americans believe Muslims should not be eligible to sit on the Supreme Court, while fully one-third believe Muslims should be barred from running for president."

History of Bigotry

This article does an apt historical summary of the first Muslims to arrive at America's shores. The theory here, is that there were origins to Islamophobia, but that it was ignited with the attacks of September the 11th. Has 9/11 really been the source of this fear or is it an age-old American tale?

"Such Islamophobia is unsurprising in the post–Cold War age of al-Qaeda and sleeper cells. And Islam, of course, has long been a bogeyman for the West. For centuries, a more advanced, more powerful Islamic world haunted the imagination of snow-bitten Christendom. When the Spanish arrived in the Americas, they brought the language of the Reconquista with them, sometimes referring to Aztecs and Mayans as "Moors" and to their ziggurats as "mosques." The Sultanate of Morocco was the first government in the world to recognize the existence of an independent United States, in 1778. But it was America's naval expeditions to North Africa — the two early–19th century Barbary Wars — that first marked the U.S.'s arrival on the global stage and crystallized a new American patriotism at home."
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Western Perceptions of "shariah law"

Dr. Sherman Jackson writes: "What is Shar'ah and why does it Matter?"

"It matters for Muslims because it represents the ideals that define a properly constituted Islamic existence. Islam without shariah would be Islam without Islamic ideals. While most non-Muslim Americans may think of Islam without shariah as simply Islam without rules or criminal sanctions, for Muslims Islam without shariah would also mean Islam without prescriptions on ablution, prayer, alms, sales, diet, filial piety, civics, etc. While the discourse in America around shariah will probably continue to succumb to the self-serving tendency to "compare my ideals with your realities," shariah itself will continue to inspire Muslims, especially in their personal lives, to strive, with hope and humility, to narrow the gap between the unacceptable "is" and the ever-elusive "ought."


A New York Times profile on a self-professed "racist-Islamophobic-anti-Muslim-bigot”: meet Pamela Geller, one of the raving pundits behind the xenophobic campaign against Muslims.

Farah El-Sharif