Hatred has become a multi-million dollar industry in America. It is a subject we have spoken to on several occasions (here and here). In fact, hate groups in this country have scoped Islam as their favorite target upon which to raise money to spread Islamophobia into every segment of our society.
In 2016, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a report, Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States: Confronting Fear, that said Islamophobic groups between 2008 and 2013 had raised $205 million to spread their hatred and fear. CAIR has identified at least 74 such groups whose political influence has produced anti-Islam bills in ten states and whose social influence has created Muslim-free businesses and armed anti-Islam demonstrations.
Expert on Islamophobia Cited in Briefs to SCOTUS
Todd Green is an Associate Professor of Religion at Luther College. This nationally recognized expert on Islamophobia has made it his mission to write and lecture about this religious disease that has infected, in one way or another, more than half the people in this country. His 2015 book, The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West, (Fortress Press), presents an in-depth examination of the history of Islamophobia in Europe and the United States. The book was cited in an amicus curiae brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court by a number of national and regional civil rights organizations.
That brief was submitted to the nation’s high court in support of the State of Hawaii’s challenge to President Trump’s Muslim travel ban issued last year. Lynn Bernaei and Alan R. Kabat, counsel of record for amicus curiae, used Green’s research into Islamophobia with sufficient confidence to inform the Supreme Court that “… from Colonial times to the present, [America] has had a long and deliberate political tradition of officially stereotyping Muslims – a history that created an atmosphere that legitimizes and encourages discrimination and violence against Muslims.”
Demands to Condemn Terrorism Prevents Reflection
Green’s latest book, Presumed Guilty: Why We Shouldn’t Ask Muslims to Condemn Terrorism (Fortress Press, 2018), is scheduled for release on September 1, 2108. The Luther College website informs that “this book argues that asking Muslims to condemn terrorist attacks carried out by organizations such as al-Qaeda or ISIS is a distraction that prevents majority populations in the U.S. and Europe both from facing their own violent histories and from asking critical questions about how their countries’ national security initiatives and foreign policies contribute to a violent world order. The book proposes healthier ways for majority populations to engage Muslim communities other than through the prisms of violence and counterterrorism.”
Texas Perspectives is part of UT News at the University of Texas at Austin. On October 3, 2016, Texas Perspectives offered an op-ed style piece by Goleen Samari, Postdoctoral Fellow, who opined: “Simply put, Islamophobia has grave physical and mental health consequences for Muslims in the U.S. It is a public health issue. Yet, research on the health implication of this is understudied and often ignored by the masses.”
Bias Against Muslims Infects Criminal Justice System, Increases Punishment
Beyond the traumatic mental health issues produced by Islamophobia, this disease of religious hatred has had a dramatic impact in the nation’s courtrooms. Writing in the March 2017 edition of the Yale Law Journal, Sameer Ahmed pointed out that the post 9/11 War on Terror declared by former President George W. Bush has “led to significant prison sentences for many young American Muslim, even when their charged criminal conduct cannot be tied to any act of violence in the United States or abroad. A primary reason provided for their severe punishment is that these individuals are uniquely dangerous, cannot be deterred or rehabilitated, and must be incapacitated to protect society from their ideologically violent goals.”
This ideologically-driven war replaced the nation’s previous politically-driven “War on Drugs” in which mostly young African Americans were labeled “super predators” who also had to be incapacitated with lengthy prison sentences to also protect society.
The Democratic ideals this nation professes to cherish are irreparably damaged when its political leaders, through the nation’s militarized law enforcement industry, declare “war” on different segments of our society for purely political reasons. Fear mongering against people of color, or against those who have different religions, countries of origin or political opinions, to gain cheap political points, permanently damages our democracy.
The hatred underlying these “wars” will not protect society from those it hates through penal incapacitation. Prison will only indoctrinate and educate those hated in the deadly art of revenge. They will leave prison leaner and meaner than when they entered.
Religious and racial hatred must be confronted, understood, and addressed before politically driven “wars” are declared against our own people. That is precisely what people like Todd Green are trying to do. They are telling America that it is not Muslims or other racial/ethnic groups that pose a threat to this nation, but hate groups—many of which have been legitimized by politicians who have either openly or covertly embraced a white nationalism ideology— who are determined both divide and segregate our society.