People for the American Way have compiled the strategy used by the Right to inflame public passion against Muslims and gain political power. The work entitled The Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism, contains such tidbits as this
Anti-Muslim sentiments are commonplace among Republican Party officials, candidates and activists. Right-wing activist David Horowitz maintains that “between 150 million and 750 million Muslims” are known to “support a holy war against Christians, Jews and other Muslims.” Religious Right leader Pat Robertson has likened Muslims to Adolf Hitler and said that Americans should fight Muslims in the same way the country fought Nazi Germany. Radio talk show host and American Family Association political chief Bryan Fischer calls Muslim-Americans “parasites” and a “toxic cancer” who are “out to eliminate and destroy western civilization.”
Presidential candidate Herman Cain said he would never consider appointing a Muslim to his administration, telling Fischer on his radio show, “I wouldn’t have Muslims in my administration”. Newt Gingrich defended Cain’s position in a Republican presidential debate, arguing that Muslims lie about their loyalty to the country and comparing them to Nazis. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), in an ad before the 2010 election, equated all Muslim-Americans with the terrorists who committed the September 11th attacks. Rep. Allen West (R-FL) claimed Muslims are naturally “wild” because God cursed Ishmael and his (Muslim) descendents.
The American Center for Law and Justice, the conservative legal foundation founded by Pat Robertson and Jay Sekulow, claims that Muslims are compelled by their religion to fight America and other countries: “Because Islam grew out of the belief in complete world domination, every Muslim is obligated to labor in his own way toward achieving that goal, no matter where he lives or what sovereign claims his allegiance,” the group writes in Shari’a Law: Radical Islam’s Threat to the U.S. Constitution. The ACLJ is one of the driving forces behind the attempt to block construction of the Park 51 Muslim community center in Manhattan and offers elected officials legal advice to crack down on the supposed ‘Sharia threat.’ In its Shari’a Law pamphlet, ACLJ makes clear its view that Muslims cannot be loyal Americans, asserting that “devout Muslims cannot truthfully swear the oath to become citizens of the United States of America.”
Attempts by Muslims to defend their faith and community are rendered meaningless under this Right Wing framing, because anti-Muslim activists dishonestly argue that Muslims are mandated by their religion to lie in order to further their violent objectives.
Now Cain, thank God is gone…..effectively removed from the power landscape of the GOP, but the others mentioned in the excerpt are still recognized, vocal, visible and quoted by far too many across the width and breath of this country. The fact that in today’s America, people have become popular, powerful and influential because they have incited public passions against certain segments of the society is not only disgraceful, but an indication of how far America has to go and just how backwards it has become in the second decade of the 21st century. Those who pooh pooh the need for a discussion of race in this country are disillusioned, with their heads in the sand.
Pat Robertson, who has said he supports the decriminalization of marijuana must have decided to take a drag from a joint which caused him to come up with this latest proclamation. Notice how, with just the mere accusation Robertson’s media machine has maligned Muslims, the Muslim Brotherhood, Quick (a fast food restaurant in France), Campbells, McDonalds, Walmart, and Whole Foods among others because they offer customers choices; menus are not being changed, things aren’t being prohibited today that were offered in days gone by, in fact beer which is on Quick’s menu in France is still available for those who drink. Rather, a method of slaughtering meat employed on some of the meat used used for some of the food choices by these companies is upsetting to the Islamophobes like Robertson and Pamela Gellar who talk about the fear of Islamic law taking over Europe and ostensibly America, merely because consumers are offered choices. Usually that’s considered good business, but to racists like Robertson, et.al that’s cause to incite and inflame passions against a religious belief. Such a jump can only be attributed to drugs and while we haven’t seen Gellar or Robertson taking them, or rather there are no pictures of them doing so, we can only assume because of their stance concerning the criminalization of drugs that drug use is what’s caused them to come to such far flung conclusions.
Unfortunately, we don’t know what has caused Frank Gaffney to such delirium as his latest insanity regarding a conservative PAC. Gaffney seems to think the nefarious Muslim Brotherhood has taken over the Conservative Political Action Conference, because…..are you ready for this……..there is a Muslim member, Suhail Khan a GWBush ex-staffer who represents a group, Muslims FOR America. (Look at the mindlessness of Gaffney’s opposition, decrying the participation of a group of Americans in the political process who are FOR America) The whole goal of Gaffney, Robertson, Gellar and all the rest is to marginalize the participation of Muslims in the political process of America even when there is absolutely nothing objectionable to the aims of that participation unless such groups are under their control. In other words they want to make enemies where there aren’t any, by making their involvement illegal, and they want to instigate bystanders in the political process into such a frenzy and hatred in order for them to accomplish this goal. In even simpler terms, if you don’t do what they say, or agree with their program they won’t like you and threaten to do everything to make you illegal, the textbook definition of fascism.
Nothing more clearly demonstrates the mindless, racist intent of people like Gaffney and Robertson than their own senseless rants regarding people who are different than they are. The kind of talk regarding Muslims and Islam by the likes of the Islamophobes would not be tolerated if it were applied to any other group either in the borders of America or outside of it. Spurred by the equally insipid distribution of lies and innuendo of today’s media outlets and you have the makings of a propaganda machine that surpasses the wildest dreams of the most fanatical government. These are troubling times.
I have to keep reminding myself MSNBC is the network that got rid of Phil Donahue. Keith Olbermann however, is more than a suitable replacement. Hat tip to Raw Story.com!