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opinetree

by christopher richardson

Islamophobia Can't Hold a Shabbat Candle to Modern Anti-Semitism

To put it simply, the term "Islamophobia" exists solely to stifle any and all criticism of Islam. So, the xenophobic high-school dropout from Alabama who refers to any Muslim as "Osama" is no different than a generally benevolent and accepting person who takes issue with the fact that after the July 7th London tube bombings, 16% of Muslims living in London believed that "while the attacks may have been wrong, the cause was right" (Times of London poll, July 7th, 2006).

In 2006, novelist Salman Rushdie who lived under police protection after his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses led to death threats, bookstore bombings, and riots throughout the Muslim world called Islamophobia a "wretched concept that confuses criticism of Islam as a religion and stigmatization of those who believe in it." The trouble with the term is that it isn't just used to battle the ignorance and insecurities of the homegrown racist (a worthy fight), but open criticism from all degrees of legitimacy.

The influential and governing entities in the West, including the media, do not "teach" citizens to hate Muslims, nor do they implicitly condone criticism. In fact, the reality is quite the opposite.

In 2004, Sheikh Abdur-Rahman al-Sudais from Saudi Arabia opened the largest mosque in the city of London. As part of their coverage of the event, the BBC referred to al-Sudais as a "respected leader" who strived for "community cohesion." Among the things the network didn't air was this peaceful gem:

"In the name of Allah, the Jews must be annihilated. They are the scum of the human race, the rats of the world...the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs."
-Sheikh Abdur-Rahman al-Sudais

Some more from one the Sheikh's sermons at the Grand Al-Haraam Mosque in Mecca:

"Read history...and you will understand that the Jews of yesterday are the evil fathers of the Jews of today, who are evil offspring, infidels...the scum of the human race whom Allah cursed and turned into apes and pigs...these are the Jews, a continuous lineage of meanness, cunning, obstinacy, tyranny, licentiousness, evil, and corruption."

The Canadian government actually denied al-Sudais an entry visa after learning of his calls for violence against Jews, Christians, and Hindus. London's a long way from Mecca (although it's getting closer every year), so the BBC chose not to unearth this bitter vitriol, or perhaps simply not to broadcast it.

You would be hard pressed to turn on CNN or the BBC to find an in depth report on "Muslim apes" or "Islamic pigs."

Above: Does this frighten you? Surprise, you're an Islamophobe.

Pay extra attention to this next sentence. Of course not all Muslims are radicalized un-assimilated Jew-loathing trigger-happy militants. Don't get me wrong - I can think of few people I sympathize with more than the decent and benevolent Muslim living in the tumultuous West. But unlike in Saudi Arabia, Muslim immigrants in the West are cushioned equally by our freedoms, our legal system, and our lack of state-sponsored propaganda. You can hardly say the same about a Jew or a Christian living in the aforementioned kingdom. In the unadorned language of our State Department, "religious freedom does not exist there."

It is because of the totalitarian nature of Arab media, which is largely government-controlled, that religious freedom can be suppressed and propaganda can be proliferated. Antisemitic cartoons and television shows are a regular occurrence in Saudi and Iranian media; in fact, a Saudi cartoonist's only freedom of expression is how he wants to draw the horns and giant noses. Danish cartoonists have a little more elbow room.

While a drawing of a Muslim with a bomb belt reinforces the stereotype that all Muslims are terrorists, the fact remains that some Muslims are terrorists, and many more support their cause, even if they do not support their modus operandi. A cartoon depicting a Jew drinking the blood of children has no such rooting in reality, and does more to incite irrational fear, hatred, and violence against an entire people than anything published in the West.

And what is the Jewish response? Riots? Death threats? Setting fire to effigies of Mohammad in the streets of Jerusalem? None of the above. In fact, in 2006, Dimona Comix Publishing, a group of Israeli artists from Tel Aviv, held an anti-semitic cartoon contest — in which all of the cartoons were drawn by Jews.

Amitai Sandy, a graphic artist with Dimona Comix who was inspired by the Danish cartoon controversy, had the following to say about the contest: "We'll show the world we can do the best, sharpest, most offensive Jew-hating cartoons ever published. No Iranian will beat us on our home turf."

Like all politically correct neologisms, "Islamophobia" is a vague and overused term which deflects reality and suppresses open discussion. The term has seen increasingly widespread use and acceptance, but is a far cry from the unadulterated hatred of Jews and other “non-believers” that is propagated in the Muslim world — hatred firmly rooted around a global and historical scapegoat, and cultivated with centuries of isolation, indoctrination, and propaganda.

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