The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino reports that hate crimes increased by roughly 20 percent in the 13 largest U.S. cities in 2017 compared to 2016.
Hate Crimes Against Muslims Up 67%
President Donald Trump’s xenophobic policies and tweet-rhetoric has effectively legitimized hatred against Muslims and other minorities among a large swath of white America. Last July, the Houston office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported that hate crimes against Muslims increased by 91 percent in the first half of 2017 compared to 2016. CAIR attributed the increase “to the Trump campaign and presidency.” The group pointed out that 37 percent of the attacks were directed at children in schools.
Trump Leads Demonization of Muslims
In the April 8, 2018 edition of Truthdig, Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, offered this explanation for the American hatred of Muslims: “Muslims are branded as irrational and inclined to violence and terrorism by their religious beliefs. We attack them not for what they do but because we see them as being different from us. We must eradicate them to save ourselves. And thus we perpetuate the very hatred and counter violence, or terrorism, that we fear.”
In August 2016 Aljazeera reporter, Patrick Strickland, wrote that Texas politicians and law enforcement agencies were slow to respond to growing threat of violence faced by the state’s Muslim population. Alia Salem, the executive director of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of CAIR, told the news network that “the [Texas] Muslim community is feeling so threatened right now … All hell’s breaking loose.”
With President Trump’s amped up xenophobic rhetoric of hatred, the situation for Muslims, both here in Texas and across the nation, has worsened.
On March 26, 2018, Univision reported that there have been “dozens of hate-fueled attacks, mostly against Latinos and Muslims, reported at Walmart stores nationwide” in recent months. ProPublica’s Documenting Hate Project found that hate-driven attacks against Muslims and other minorities have also increased at other superstores, like Costco, Target and Sam’s Club.
Hatred lies deep in the American soul. Most Americans understand this.
An October 2017 Pew Research Center study found that 61 percent of the people in this country believe America needs to “continue making changes to give blacks equal rights with whites …”
This racial generosity, however, does not always extend to Muslims. A 2011 Gallup poll found that 52 percent of Americans do not respect Muslims.
Right Wing Fear Mongering Against “Radical Islam”
The President of this country, and his Chief of Staff (John Kelly), have expressed publicly that they do not understand what has been media-dubbed as “radical Islam,” words that have become the dog whistle for bigoted white supremacist.
In a 2013 speech, Gen. Kelly had this to say about Muslims: “I don’t know why they hate us, and I frankly don’t care, but they do hate us and are driven irrationally to our destruction.”
And therein lie the reason for the hate-driven American war on Muslims—white men do not like to be hated but it is an integral component of white men like Gen. Kelly to hate others, and this hatred has reared its ugly head often as the President and General grapple with how to deal with Democratic ideals this nation professes to cherish. The sad truth is that these two leaders are real life expressions of white America’s long-standing hatred of non-whites perceived as a threat to their supremacy.
Islamophobia Byproduct of White Supremacy
As Khaled Beydoun, a law professor and author of the book called American Islamophobia: Understanding the Roots and Rise of Fear, points out: fear and hatred of Muslims and Islam have “deep roots in American history.”
In an April 6, 2018 Vox edition, Beydoun told Alexia Underwood that Islamophobia is actually a byproduct of “white supremacy.”
Still, writing in the February 21, 2018 edition of Huffington Post, Bisma Parvez offered this encouragement: “Muslims in America are just as American as everyone else. We are more alike than different. We have the same hopes and dreams, the same fears and worries.”
That would be the ideal America. But, unfortunately, the President of the United States and the leader of the Western World prefers to promote racial divisions both here and abroad to advance his personal, political agenda.
As long as we have a white supremacist ideology endorsed by our American president and his most trusted advisors, and as long as Fox News continues to legitimize this racist-driven ideology to a significant portion of the white population in the United States, there will be a war waged against Muslims, Latinos, African-Americans and other “others” in this country.
Perhaps this war of hatred will one day end, but not, we fear, in the foreseeable future.