Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's not Islam, stupid; it's the radical right we should be afraid of

Hamas-linked CAIR head honcho in Michigan, Ahmed Rehab wants you to know that Muslims are not the problem, Islam is not the problem, sharia is not the problem, jihad is not the problem, nothing to do with any aspect of Muhammad or Allah is the problem.  The problem is from those Bible-thumpin, pick-up truck drivin, racist-spoutin, bigot-spewin, gun-totin, terbaky-spittin, loudmouthed, smelly, ignorant and sister-marryin right-wingers.

Thanks, Ahmed for that lesson in racist stereotyping and insulting labeling.  Since you cannot dispute, on theological grounds what is said, and asked about Islam, you must, like all anti-Westerners resort to name-calling and personal attacks.  As Islam is stuck in the 7th century, so too are the claims and assertions of Ahmed Rehab.

From Huffington Post December 16 by Ahmed Rehab

Let's Face it: It's the Radical Right, not Islam, that is the Greatest Threat to the American Way

Imagine if a major American advertiser were to pull its ads off of Jersey Shorebecause they received objections that the show while portraying a group of Italian-Americans, made the glaring error of excluding Mafiosi.
Imagine if the absence of characters "whacking knee caps" and "making offers you cannot refuse" was deemed as an "omission" and therefore pro-Italian propaganda, and as a result too controversial to sponsor.
Pathetic? Incredulous?
Well imagine no more.
Such is the pitiful state that Islamophobia has reached in this country, and it's very real.
All-American Muslim is an American reality show like any other. It portrays the trials and travails of five Michigan families with typical reality show themes like marriage, birth, business, faith, food and of course drama queens.
There is one problem however, at least for the Florida Family Association:  the characters in the show are American Muslims.
The Florida Family Association got its members to send in dozens of emails to the show's advertisers based on a pre-written template that stated in part:
"The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to the liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish."

So basically, their objection is that the show is portraying "ordinary Muslims" as -- you may need to sit down for this -- "ordinary Muslims"! Of course this runs the risk that unsuspecting Americans may come to view their ordinary Muslim neighbors as ordinary. According to this Florida group of nuts, this would be a travesty that American corporations must not contribute to.

We are more or less used to the unfortunate fact that there are anti-Muslim loons lurking about out there. There's the burn-a-Quran-day pastor from Florida, there's the group from Florida that tried toban a Muslim professor from the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission because he was Muslim, and there's that guy who tried to organize against Muslim family day at a Six Flags Texas theme park in Texas. Yes, yes, he was from Florida.
But what is the real cause for alarm is the creeping influence of Islamophobia into mainstream American politics and culture. From the Peter King radicalization hearings that use taxpayer funds to put mainstream American Muslims and their institutions on mock trial, to the frequent anti-Muslim rantings of the Congressman from Florida, Allen "Islam is not really a religion" West all the way to presidential hopeful Newt "Palestinians don't really exist" Gingrich. And now, we have the weak-kneed primetime corporate sponsors.
That a group of extremists from Florida would exercise their First Amendment right to carry out bigoted campaigns is unfortunate but not all that shocking. That 65 out of 67 advertisers (according to the Florida Family Association's website of which only Lowe's is independently confirmed) would capitulate to their nonsensical complaints that "ordinary Muslims are being portrayed as ordinary" is an alarming new milestone in the mainstreaming of bigotry in this country. For that reason, it ought to catch the attention of Americans who, for far too long, have stayed on the sidelines of the Islamophobia horror picture show.
Lowe's admitted that they cut their ads short as a result of the emails they were receiving and after reviewing some websites and blogs out there (in the "bigotosphere"). Lowe's is not just a tool in the hands of the far right, it's the entire hardware store.
What Lowe's is essentially saying by choosing to pull its sponsorship is that NOT portraying American Muslims as terrorists is just, well, too controversial for its brand:
"We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance. We strongly support and respect the right of our customers, the community at large, and our employees to have different views. If we have made anyone question that commitment, we apologize."

Lowe's is putting forth a very dangerous argument: that the far right bigots and the mainstream Muslim voices with their pro-tolerance allies of all faiths are equal opposites; that those who wish to humanize a faith community that comprises 25 percent of humanity and those who wish to demonize them are equal opposites; that the forces of bigotry and the forces of anti-bigotry are equal opposites. The pervasive assumption that there is a moral equivalency between the two sparring sides is a major factor in the rise of Islamophobia in the US. But Lowe's goes further than to claim moral equivalency. It actually takes sides, the wrong side: the side of the bigots.

Read it all

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