When I was a lieutenant colonel on active duty, I supervised an officer in the U.S. Air Force who was (and is) an Iraqi-American. He came to the U.S. as a boy after President George H.W. Bush’s call to the Shia to revolt against Saddam in the aftermath of Desert Storm, which was ruthlessly suppressed by Saddam as Bush and company did nothing.
As an Iraqi-American in uniform, he served as an interpreter attached to the 101st Airborne in Iraq in 2004, if memory serves–dangerous times indeed for U.S. troops in Iraq.
He wrote to me, rightly outraged, after Ben Carson made his anti-Muslim comments back in September of 2015 during the presidential primary season. It made him so sad, so angry, as a U.S. Air Force veteran and as a Muslim-American to hear such ignorance, such bias, such Islamophobia. And it made me angry as well.
So many Muslim-Americans have served this country with distinction, troops like Navy veteran Nate Terani, who has written an eloquent article at TomDispatch.com on the prejudice he faced as an Iranian-American. Terani is doing his best to fight a new enemy, Islamophobia, the irrational fear of Islam fed by the unhinged rhetoric of candidates like Ben Carson and Donald Trump.
Here is how Terani puts it in his article:
In Iran, theocratic fundmentalists sowed division and hatred of outsiders–of Westerners, Christians, and other religious minorities. Here in America, the right wing seems to have stolen passages directly from their playbook as it spreads hatred of immigrants, particularly Muslim ones. This form of nationalistic bigotry–Islamophobia–threatens the heart of our nation. When I chose to serve in the military, I did so to protect what I viewed as our sacred foundational values of liberty, equality, and democracy. Now, 20 years later, I’ve joined forces with fellow veterans to again fight for those sacred values, this time right here at home.
As America builds walls and weapons and wages war all over the globe, as our leaders look outward for enemies, we’re forgetting the enemy within America, the enemy that is a much more serious threat to our national security. That enemy, which exists right here in America’s heartland, is ignorance, hatred, fear, aggression, compounded by a cowardly desire to “get even” and to “make America great again” by ostracizing other Americans who are considered “different” and “untrustworthy.”
But spreading fear and bigotry is not a way to national security; it’s a way to national insanity. Islamophobia, like all other irrational fears, must be fought and defeated.
9 thoughts on “Islamophobia Must be Fought and Defeated”
Important point, well put. As FDR said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Keep up your insightful commentary; your blog is always well worth reading.
Very important article, if only the right people would read it i.e. those who are Islamophobic & those who spread it.
I thoroughly agree with your message, but Terani cleaves to the narrative that “Islamophobia” is nurtured only by the political right. If we stick to the American example, this narrative can be defended only if we confess that there is really no American left (in which case the narrative is tautologous), and moreover that the left-right distinction, that at one time may have made some sense, no longer has any clear significance. The “left”, such as it is – I suppose that people mean by this the Democrats – is up to its neck in it, just as it is still up to its neck in anti-black racism. Just look at the Black Agenda Report and think about their take on Obama, who clearly disdains American blacks, except for those who are rich and members of the predatory élite. If we look to Europe, we see that the main purveyors of “Islamophobia” today are the “socialist” François Hollande and the “laborite” Tony Blair (former Special Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East – I mean, you can’t make this stuff up). Donald Trump – the disgusting demagogue – has fed islamophobia, along with all the rest of them, in both parties (including Bernie Sanders) although, during the campaign, Hillary has preferred to feed, especially, Russophobia, which is, insanely, apparently more palatable to her nose-holding supporters than islamophobia or anti-black racism. If we speculate upon which of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton who is actually more disdainful and hateful of Muslims or Blacks, you would have to convince me that it’s not Hillary. She’s certainly more disdainful than Trump of ordinary people. Terani needs to broaden his understanding of who the slime balls really are.
Yes, there is no distinction and they are all up to their necks in it. Clinton is disdainful in the most distasteful of ways. Excellent comment.
Reblogged this on Stepping Toes and commented:
Today after lots of mud throwing in a heated and polarizing campaign — widely regarded as the ugliest in recent history— Americans shall have to make up their mind which way their country shall go and stand in the international global universe. Their choice for the 45th president of the United States between the two main candidates, the political experienced Democrat Hillary Clinton and the business man and bugaboo Republican Donald Trump.
American citizens either to bring the first woman to serve in the Oval Office or give the world the oldest person — at age 70 — elected to the office.
Though they should best think very well before voting. considering if that person who raised his voice so much and gesticulated a lot whilst saying not much about economy, politics or social improvement, would be the man to lead their international important nation.
The businessman and former reality-TV star capitalized on a strong antiestablishment mood within the party. His often inflammatory remarks — such as proposing a ban on Muslims — seemed to inspire supporters, who rallied around his political incorrectness and outsider status. Though not only Muslims were in the picture. Often enough he accused the Jews also of being cause of problems. And all the people who tried to come to his land of honey which will not welcome those looking for a better life. For sure he want all foreigners and those who do not fit in the system out of the country, best behind walls, making it nearly impossible to enter the country of white Caucasians.
After easily capturing his party’s nomination, what nobody in Europe thought for possible, Trump faced off against the opponent he has taken to calling “crooked Hillary.”
His followers stayed blind for his changing moods and changing ideas, plus could never believe or did not want to know about the many worse scandals around their ‘god’, including a series of negative comments about women. Notably, in October a hot-mic video from 2005 surfaced in which he told an entertainment reporter that “when you’re a star…you can do anything,” including grabbing women by the genitals.
As November 8 neared, Trump repeatedly alleged that the election was rigged and the media were particularly biased against him.
Against this background, more than 120 million Americans are expected to head to the ballot booth, with the presidential winner needing to claim 270 electoral votes.
We can only hope the American shall be wise enough to vote for some one who is sane and stable enough to lead the country and to have enough diplomacy to co-operate and discuss with other states all over the world, whatever their political or religious background may be, and keeping peace between all sort of peoples living now in the United states of America.
So now that we know the results, America made the absolute worst possible choice, how do we deal with this? I wasn’t on the Trump train so please help me understand how I view those who voted for the WORST candidate ever in the history of presidential candidates. How they could blindly look past his ignorance, profound stupidity, his hatred towards millions upon millions of people, is baffling to me.
Best way is to keep the head cool and not to fall in the trap Trump and his consorts prepared for the nation.
In Europe we can find several countries where politicians make good use of the present fear and warmongering to get their goal to create once again some dictatorial right nationalistic society.
It is our duty to let our voice been heard and to react loudly against those who want to limit the human rights of many people. whatever country where there are politicians wanting to go the same way as we have seen some politicians in the 1920-1930s we should ring the alarm-bell and make others conscious about the dangers facing our society.
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