The Islamophobia Machine
Posted by paulipoldie on February 22, 2009
by Baron Bodissey
Mohamed Elmasry is an imam and a Canadian university professor. He’s somewhat of an activist on behalf of his Muslim faith, and writes occasional op-eds for the Canadian media. From time to time he has been known to butt heads with the kuffar — notably with Ezra Levant over Dr. Elmasry’s attitude towards Jews. The good doctor’s most notorious public expression of opinion occurred when he appeared on Michael Coren’s television show on Oct. 19, 2004. He asserted on camera that every adult Jew in Israel was a fair target for Palestinian terrorists. Afterwards, during the resulting controversy, he claimed that he didn’t say any such thing. When that didn’t work, he maintained that his words had been misrepresented, distorted, and taken out of context, and employed various other rationalizations and disclaimers, but to no avail. Here’s a partial transcript of the program in question: Elmasry: … and totally innocent people, obviously, is the children. But they are not innocent if they are part of a population which is total population of Israel is part of the army… From 18 on, they are part of the soldiers, even if they have civilian clothes. Coren: So if Israeli children are killed, that is a valid use of military force by Palestinians? Elmasry: No, they are not valid… Coren: So what are you saying? Elmasry: I’m saying that it has to be totally innocent, OK? Totally innocent are the children, obviously, OK? But they are not innocent if the army [inaudible] in civilian clothes, OK? Coren: What about women? Elmasry: The same, if they are women in the army… Coren: Anyone over the age of 18 in Israel is a valid target. Elmasry: Anybody above 18 is a part of the Israeli army… Coren: So everyone in Israel and anyone and everyone in Israel, irrespective of gender, over the age of 18 is a valid target? Elmasry: Yes, I would say. The pressure against him became so intense that Dr. Elmasry offered to resign as a spokesman for the Canadian Islamic Congress. But his resignation was not accepted, and he continues to speak on behalf of the group. With that in mind, here’s the Mohamed Elmasry’s latest essay, as published last week in The Georgia Straight, with my comments interpolated: The Islamophobia machine is a new growth industry By Mohamed Elmasry Just as some Jews betrayed their coreligionists by aiding the Nazi propaganda machine before and during WWII, today there are Muslims just as eagerly and effectively helping the Islamophobia industry to stereotype and marginalize their brothers and sisters of the faith. These Muslims are very much appreciated and celebrated by those who stand to benefit from the promotion of Islamophobia; in fact, they are in such demand that the hate-and-fear industry can’t find enough of them. OK, we’re off to a good start here. It’s a familiar meme: Muslims in the West face the same threat today from their host societies that Jews did in the 1930s. The Muslims are the new Jews, and the Islamophobes who object to them are the same as the Nazis. As has often been pointed out, there are holes in this argument big enough to ride a camel through. – – – – – – – – – First of all, the Jews in the 1930s were almost suicidally non-violent. They did not publicly abuse their gentile neighbors. They made no threats against the community or the state. They did not start riots or blow things up because of their religious beliefs. The anti-Semitism that was so prevalent at time owed nothing to any rational fear of Jewish violence. Secondly, in contrast to the Nazis, there is no official state-sanctioned anti-Islamic policy in the non-Muslim world. Quite the opposite, in fact: the governments of the West generally bow and scrape before Islam in an attempt to fend off more violent attacks. So the comparison is spurious and invidious, designed to invoke the sacred icon of the Holocaust and cut off any further discussion of the topic. Islamophobia has been around for quite some time, but since 9/11 it began to take on form and structure, supported by financiers, researchers, writers, and academics, many of whom were self-styled “experts” on Islam and terrorism. The Islamophobia industry directly filled a need created by right-wing politicians, war mongers, racists, lobbyists, and the military war business (from professional mercenary companies to arms dealers and manufacturers). “Financiers”, eh? So where’s my funding? If I had known they pay people to do what I do, I wouldn’t nickel-and-dime our readers to death… Every time a perceived need is revealed in a capitalist society, an industry is created, sometimes by design, to fill that need. The West led by the U.S. saw and promoted the need for an Islamophobia industry; and now that it is established, it will be around for years to come. “Sometimes by design.” Uh-huh. So the capitalists of the West saw the ragheads coming, and just couldn’t wait to create a whole new industry to market arms and other products to newly-indoctrinated Islamophobes. I don’t know what universe Prof. Elmasry inhabits, but it’s not the same one I live in. The vast majority of people in my part of the world didn’t even know what a Muslim was before 9/11. And most of those who did pay pre-9/11 attention to Islam had been jolted into awareness by the U.S.S. Cole bombing in 2000, or the African embassy bombings in 1998, or the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, or the massacre at the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, or the taking of American hostages in Iran in 1979. In other words, Americans became aware of Islam because fervent Muslim believers repeatedly directed violence at Americans. Islam kept poking at the USA until it got our attention. It’s not like we were atavistic hate-filled toothless rubes, just waiting for an excuse to go after Muslims. The “stereotype” of violent Islam owes its origin to routine Islamic terrorism. The “Islamophobia industry” was created and is maintained by repeated mass violence on the part of devout Muslims directed at non-Muslims. It’s an unhappy fact, Dr. Elmasry, but it’s true. Deal with it. There are five central reasons for this phenomenon: 1. The Muslim world is rich in resources, especially crude oil, and the West is determined not to pay fair market value for it. Capitalist financial powers would rather rob Muslims and the entire Muslim world of this valuable resource, using violence if necessary, as in the case of Iraq. This is a frequent canard, much beloved by the Left as well as by Muslim apologists. If this is true, why did the hegemonic Great Satan not simply appropriate the oil fields of Kuwait and Iraq after two very expensive wars? It would have been easy enough to do — annex the appropriate real estate, bring in the multinational oil corporations, and hire Blackwater to guard the wells and shoot any natives that come near. Why didn’t we do that? Two massively expensive wars, and we didn’t even get to keep a single lousy oil well! Some hegemons we turned out to be. And if the Iraq war was about cheap oil, why didn’t the price drop after we overthrew Saddam? Why did it keep rising right up until the real estate bubble popped and the current depression kicked in? Really, the USA isn’t very smart when it comes to carrying out its nefarious global-capitalist schemes. 2. In geopolitical terms, the Muslim world covers a strategically vital area, in which the West is determined to establish a permanent presence; military occupation is one favoured means of doing so, as in the case of Afghanistan. In geopolitical terms, the Muslim world is a worthless and fetid sandpile, not counting the oil. The Suez canal and the cashew trade from Iran — those are the only things in the region we’d be considering these days if it weren’t for the oil. 3. The Muslim world represents a huge market of close to 1.5 billion people, whose buying power is essential if the West is to succeed in controlling the one-way flow of its goods — no matter how inferior they may be, compared to those of emerging economies in Asia and the flow of accumulated Muslim capital the other way. Once again, if the West didn’t ship half its wealth to the Middle East for oil, where would the capital come from that would allow Muslims to buy our stuff? You’re contradicting yourself here, Dr. Elmasry. If we intend to sell gimcracks to the Arabs, the price of oil needs to remain high, because they have no other commodity or industry that they can use to acquire the capital. So which is it that we want — cheap oil or eager Muslim consumers? 4. The Israeli factor wields a persistently strong influence in western politics, especially the powerful American Israeli lobby in Washington. The U.S. and its allies are determined to maintain Israel as a strong military outpost in the Middle East and ensure that its anti-Muslim policies are immune from any negative judgment; hence the Israel-can-do-no-wrong bias. I’m forced yet again to wonder what planet Mohamed Elmasry lives on. For the last forty years the governments of the West have twisted Israel’s arm over and over again to force it to make concessions to the Arabs without any reciprocity. Thanks to the governments of the West, a “cease-fire in the Middle East” means “Israelis stop shooting at Arabs while the Arabs blow up as many Jews as they want”. At the grassroots level, which group organizes violent and threatening demonstrations? The anti-Muslims or the anti-Zionists? 5. The U.S.-led “war on terror”, plus the politicization of all terrorist attacks dating from 9/11 and later, translates in practical terms to a need for Islamophobes and other organizations to work together in both the public and private sphere. This has led to the enactment of anti-civil-liberty laws, Muslim profiling by authorities, the restriction of Muslim immigration to the West, and the further marginalization of Muslim minorities already established in western society. As for the scare quotes around “war on terror”, in this case I’m with Dr. Elmasry: I’d much rather my government would call a spade a spade, and refer to it as “the war on political Islam” or “the defense against the Great Jihad”. But no, we have to pussyfoot around the issue with doubletalk to protect the feelings of Muslims. Such is the political climate today. And the rest of this paragraph is nonsense. “Muslim profiling” is not only not practiced, it is actually against the law. In fact, the opposite is the case: police and other authorities engage in “anti-profiling”; that is, they investigate fewer Muslims than they might otherwise, in order to be safe from lawsuits and the wrath of the Muslim street. American law enforcement bends over backwards to make nice to Muslims. Witness this photo of FBI agents engaged in outreach with members of Jamaat ul-Fuqra: The occasion for this little confab was the 2005 American Muslim Scouts Summer Program, in which two FBI agents joined forces with the Muslims of America at the group’s national headquarters in Islamberg, near Deposit, NY. That is, four years after 9/11 not only was the FBI not profiling, it was reaching out to terrorist-affiliated organizations like MOA and CAIR. It was actively consulting with them, asking for their advice, coordinating with their members, and otherwise being solicitous of Muslims, even dangerous ones. The FBI and American law enforcement in general are bastions of political correctness. Since then the US government has issued directives that forbid the use of the words “jihad”, “Islamofascism”, and “Islamic terrorists” in its internal communications. Government functionaries are not even allowed to discuss the nature of the most pressing national security issue of our times. What this means is that if we Islamophobes are right — if Muslims really are more likely to carry out a terrorist attack than non-Muslims — then our governments’ official policies make that eventuality even more likely. We have been abandoned and traduced by our own leaders. Like other corporate entities, the Islamophobia industry has been very active in creating a public “branding” for its product and a new lingo or jargon to identify its artificially created place in our language. Thanks to the Islamophobia industry, terms like Islamist, Islamofascism, and Eurabia are commonplace. Yes, this is true. Your point? In order to draw public attention to a worthwhile cause, recognizable “brands” are a must. I’m proud to make my own occasional modest contribution to the cause, designing logos and minting phrases whenever possible, in hopes that some of them will catch on. After all, someone has to counteract Islam Means Peace™. […] The term Islamofascism became familiar after the September 2001 attacks as a way to describe any ideology based on Islam, even if it had no connection whatsoever to negative constructs. The American group FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) found in its search of a major reference database that Islamofascism was mentioned just twice before 9/11; both times in the British media. In 1990, a remark by Independent writer Malise Ruthven about governments in predominantly Islamic countries stated: “Authoritarian government, not to say ‘Islamo-fascism,’ is the rule rather than the exception from Morocco to Pakistan.” Ironically, considering the term’s current usage, most of these authoritarian governments — including Morocco and Pakistan — were backed by the U.S. at the time. The second mention, also from the Independent in 1990, came in a response criticizing Ruthven for coining the term. This is all too true: because it worships at the altar of “stability”, the US government has a tendency to support Islamic dictatorships. Not only that, the United States has intervened on behalf of illiberal Muslim guerrilla groups in places like Kosovo. Like many leftists, Prof. Elmasry assumes that conservatives are all slobbering slope-browed morons who slavishly support any policy, no matter how stupid, put forth by the United States government. Nothing could be further from the truth. Conservatives railed against the foolish and misguided policies of the Bush administration and will continue to oppose them under Obama. Islamic fascism is the norm from Rabat to Jakarta, and our governments should refuse to give it support and sustenance in any form. Period. […] The word Eurabia is another volatile word, coined to create a growing fear that every good thing in Europe (culture, economy, ethnic identity, et cetera) will end as its Muslim population increases. The term motivates violence against Europe’s Muslim minorities. Meanwhile, American Islamophobes are using it to promote the idea that “you have to deal with the problem before it comes here”. FAIR also reported that “At Michigan State University, the campus chapter of Young Americans for Freedom invited a bona fide fascist — Nick Griffin, the head of the racist British National Party — to speak on how Europe is becoming ‘Eurabia’.” Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Nick Griffin indeed a fascist. Is that prima facie evidence that “Eurabia” is a misnomer? If he says that “the Nile is a river in Egypt”, does that mean it’s not true? Does the fact that Hitler was a vegetarian discredit the entire vegan movement? These days, it seems any writer — including those who have never achieved much in the way of popularity, profile or status — can get a book, op-ed, article, or editorial letter easily published through the influence of the Islamophobia industry in western publishing and media. Books on such a “hot” topic as the Islamic/Muslim “threat” are sure to be widely reviewed from coast to coast, regardless of their accuracy or quality. Yes, I noticed how easily Fjordman’s book gained traction. Not to mention how rich he became in the process… The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie was Act I. Funding Evil by Rachel Ehrenfeld was Act II. The Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones was Act III. Western publishers have all gotten the message by now. Publishing books that “insult Islam” can be unprofitable, expensive, and even life-threatening. If they are not already established best-sellers, authors who wish to publish Counterjihad books can either self-publish or forget the idea. Visit a Barnes and Noble or Borders and look at the books about Islam. If you care to take the time, add up the numbers of pro-Islamic and anti-Islamic titles. The last time I did so —in the airport in Toronto last fall — the gushing pro-Islam books outnumbered the anti-Islam books by at least ten to one. The press is engaged in an organized whitewash on behalf of the Religion of Peace. Mohamed Elmasry has written pernicious nonsense here. Every word that he writes — and that includes “a”, “an”, and “the” — is a classic example of taqiyya. The Islamophobia machine is in pitiful shape. It’s out of gas and has four flat tires and a blown head gasket. Compared to the streamlined modern jihad machine, it’s a real junker.