News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Hate Those Muslims, Don'chou?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Hate Those Muslims, Don'chou?

A recent poll from Gallup shows that significant minorities of Americans distrust Muslims and believe that they should have "special IDs." ...

It seems that hate-mongering spewed from radio talk ahows is having an effect. As numerous studies show, ethnic hatreds are not innate but rather formed via socialization and educational processes. Since many Americans listen to talk-show radio shows like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and others, I am going to make a tentative guess that it's to these outlets that we can attribute such hostile beliefs towards Muslims.

Of course, the President and his media machine should also take some credit for the increase in Islamophobia. While the President is always ready to call Islam a peace-loving religion and makes the obligatory stipulation that most Muslims are reasonable, the supposed nuance is lost on most Americans. At worst, many probably think that Bush is just saying that because "he has to," so as not to get the liberal media on his case. From this angle, many Americans probably run off to Limabaugh and Savage to get the "inside story" about what the President "really" meant.

Of course, it does not help one's wish to believe the President's sincerity when he makes such statements to discover that until quite recently he just figured out that there are different denomination within Islam, eg. Sunnis and Shia. Just today, Bush used the blanket term "Islamic fascists" to describe the plotters in Britian. Such abstractions and vague use of terms only strengthens those stereotypes that the righwing blogosphere continues to flesh out with hate and racism.

Anyway, here's how Editor and Publisher reports on the Gallup poll:

A new Gallup poll finds that many Americans -- what it calls "substantial minorities" -- harbor "negative feelings or prejudices against people of the Muslim faith" in this country. Nearly one in four Americans, 22%, say they would not like to have a Muslim as a neighbor.

While Americans tend to disagree with the notion that Muslims living in the United States are sympathetic to al-Qaeda, a significant 34% believe they do back al-Qaeda. And fewer than half -- 49% -- believe U.S. Muslims are loyal to the United States.

Almost four in ten, 39%, advocate that Muslims here should carry special I.D. That same number admit that they do hold some "prejudice" against Muslims. Forty-four percent say their religious views are too "extreme."
One can only imagine that should there be further attacks inside the US by Islamic extremists, these numbers will rise. Perhaps it is that possibility that the US government is considering when it issued a contract for large internment facilities to a Hallibrton subsidiary.

To fight the rising tide of prejudice and Islamophobia is simply to humanize Moslems and always emphasize that they are not mindless drones. There are extremists, just as there are in our country, most notably the very talk-show hosts who spout intolerance and racial epithets at Moslems. Significantly, the E&P article also notes that, "In every case, Americans who actually know any Muslims are more sympathethic." There the hope lies, as well as the success of any future not filled with buckets of blood.

Exhibit 1 I hate to see this shit happen. I found this tonight at Media Matters. CNN's Glenn Beck is reported as saying:
All you Muslims who have sat on your frickin' hands the whole time and have not been marching in the streets and have not been saying, "Hey, you know what? There are good Muslims and bad Muslims. We need to be the first ones in the recruitment office lining up to shoot the bad Muslims in the head." I'm telling you, with God as my witness, America is -- no I'm not going to make this an American thing -- human beings are not strong enough, unfortunately, to restrain themselves from putting up razor wire and putting you on one side of it. When things -- when people become hungry, when people see that their way of life is on the edge of being over, they will put razor wire up and just based on the way you look or just based on your religion, they will round you up. Is that wrong? Oh my gosh, it is Nazi, World War II wrong, but society has proved it time and time again: It will happen.

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