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by: Linda S. Heard

  Due in part to the dissemination of anti-Arab and anti-Moslem propaganda by certain right-wing U.S. broadcasters and columnists, Americans are increasingly suspicious of Moslems as evidenced by the results of a recent nationwide poll conducted by Cornell University.

  Can you believe that in the “land of the free”, a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, pluralistic nation, almost half the population believes the civil liberties of American-Moslems should be restricted? The poll also discovered that those who sought to enthusiastically single out Moslems were religious Republicans and frequent watchers of television news networks.

  Excitedly rubbing his hands together at the poll’s outcome is author, syndicated columnist and controversial Bush appointee to the Board of the United States Institute for Peace.  He says the poll reflects his own beliefs that “government authorities should direct special attention toward Moslems living in the U.S. either by registering their whereabouts, profiling them, monitoring their mosques, or infiltrating their organizations.”

Hate Hurts America

  The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is so concerned about the disturbing trend it has launched a campaign titled “Hate Hurts America”. CAIR points a finger at elements of the media, which seek to incite racial and religious passions and urges its members to contact those broadcasters and newspapers so as to make their feelings known.

  On its website CAIR says Daniel Pipes is considered by many Moslems as the number one Islamophobe and has asked the Bush administration to repudiate his published views, which include support for the mass round-up of Japanese-Americans during World War II. 

  The subsequent herding of Americans into internment camps or open-air prisons simply due to their ethnicity resulted from “legitimate national security concerns” says Pipes. This is at variance with the views of the U.S. government, which has since apologized to its Japanese community.

  According to CAIR, Pipes seems “to suggest that violence against foreign nationals in Iraq could be curbed by attacks on Moslems in the home countries of the victims”, and he has suggested: “Israel ‘raze’ Palestinian villages.”

  Furthermore, states CAIR, Pipes has “decried positive portrayals of Islamic history and beliefs in public schools and has claimed 10 to 15 per cent of all Moslems are “potential killers”.

  Pipes is also responsible for the launch of ‘Campus Watch’, a web site with dossiers on professors and institutions considered critical of Israel or sympathetic to Moslems.

Racial Profiling

  But Pipes is far from being the only one of that xenophobic ilk. Columnist Michelle Malkin, and regular guest on Fox News, takes a similar position to Pipes on internment and has written a book titled “In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror”. Malkin says: “targeted intelligence-gathering at mosques and in local Moslem communities, for example, makes perfect sense.”

  Malkin is following in the footsteps of her fellow right-wing pundit, another Fox favorite, Ann Coulter. When it comes to Moslems, Coulter has urged the U.S. to “invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

  Coulter’s gung-ho call to war was evident during her appearance on Fox’s Hannity & Colmes when she told anti-war Canadians to hope the U.S. “doesn’t roll over one night and crush them”, adding, “they are lucky we allow them on the same continent.”

  The Fox television network, owned by the ultra conservative, pro-Zionist Rupert Murdoch, was in February taken to task by CAIR over its new drama series.

  The series titled “24” and starring Kiefer Sutherland depicts a Moslem family at the heart of a terror plot. CAIR was concerned “that the portrayal of the family as a terrorist sleeper cell” might “cast a shadow of suspicion over ordinary American Moslems and could increase Islamophobic stereotyping and bias.” After a meeting between CAIR and representatives of Fox, the network issued a public disclaimer. This consists of an announcement by Sutherland thus:

   “Hi! My name is Kiefer Sutherland. And I play counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer on Fox’s 24. I would like to take a moment to talk to you about something that I think is very important. Now while terrorism is obviously one of the most critical challenges facing our nation and the world, it is important to recognize that the American Moslem community stands firmly behind their fellow Americans in denouncing and resisting all forms of terrorism. So, in watching 24, please, bear that in mind.”

  While CAIR was right to be concerned about the public reaction to the series, the very fact that such a disclaimer was necessary is surely a sad indictment as to U.S. public opinion and inclinations to lump the world’s 1.4 billion Moslems together under a nonsensical terrorist banner.

  Indeed, more than any religious group today, Moslems are victims of terrorism. One only has to count the daily casualties in Iraq to come to that conclusion. Bear in mind, too, the more than 3,000 Palestinians killed over the past three-and-a-half years, as well as the victims of bombings in Morocco, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

  The various portly worn-out former generals rolled out regularly by Fox News love to bash Saudi Arabia as a terrorist exporting state, yet in February Riyadh hosted a major counter-terrorism international conference so that ways of combating terrorism could be discussed. During the conference Crown Prince Abdullah called for nations around the world to create an international anti-terrorism center that would facilitate a greater exchange of information.

  But Murdoch’s mouthpieces aren’t the only ones using vile rhetoric in an attempt to shape the perceptions of Americans against Moslems. MSNBC’s “Imus in the Morning” program is doing its bit too. During a November segment, the killing of a wounded Iraqi insurgent, referred to as a “booby-trapped rag-head cadaver” was justified and described as an “Al Jazeera moment” prompting the “Moslem masses to respond with their routine pack of rabid sheep mentality.” During one of the earlier shows, Don Imus referred to Palestinians as “stinking animals” with a suggestion they should all be killed.

  Last year, while referring to the crash of an Iranian aircraft when 43 passengers lost their lives, Imus shamefully commented: “When I hear stories like that, I think ‘who cares… too bad it wasn’t full of Saudi Arabians’.”

  Another radio show host with knives out for the Palestinians is Joseph Farah, an Evangelical Arab-American born of Lebanese parents. Farah is the founder of the website worldnetdaily, which frames his regular column, and the host a three-hour long weekday radio program. Farah, who described the late President Arafat as “pro-Nazi scum”, insists the Palestinians are not a people and do not deserve their own state.

  In one of his latest columns, he says: “the demands on Israel right now are demands or the nation to commit political, military and cultural suicide. Do you know what the new borders of Israel would be under the plans being drawn up now for a “viable, contiguous Palestine? I call them Auschwitz borders. I don’t know why the Jews don’t see it. They are willingly helping to build a national concentration camp of half the world’s Jewry surrounded by hostile maniacs, who want to eradicate them. Israel’s new borders under a Rice plan will be indefensible.”

  Farah’s callers are even more poisonous than the man himself regularly suggesting the nuking of Mecca and all Arab capitals between showing their support for torture. One advocated cutting the fingers off terrorist suspects one by one until they talked.

  Farah has said that the practices at Abu Ghraib were regular events at U.S. college fraternity parties. In that case, one of the chief Abu Ghraib perpetrators Lynndie England is assured of the kind of social life she obviously relishes.

  Sadly, it isn’t only media hawks responsible for stirring up anti-Moslem feeling. Statements by politicians, such as Lt. Gen. William Boykin, Deputy Under-Secretary for Defense for Intelligence, who told evangelical congregations that “Satan wants to destroy us as a Christian army” with reference to U.S. troops in Iraq, and Bush is in the White House “because God put him there,” add toxic fuel to the embers of a sectarian divide.

  Let’s be clear, all decent right-thinking individuals regardless of their religion or nationality should abhor such anti-Arab, anti-Moslem sentiments. Just imagine the outrage if the statements made by the above-mentioned individuals were directed at Jews or Christians. They wouldn’t last two minutes in their jobs.

  Surely, in the same way the American government attempts to dampen down the rhetoric of Al Jazeera or certain Arabic newspapers, Arab and Moslem governments should formally complain to the Bush administration about comments from pundits and politicians designed to incite the masses against their people.

  At the same time, Arab and Moslem governments should work at putting across their points of view to the West using the medium of cultural exchanges, movies portraying Moslems in a positive light, and English language media outlets.

Bombed, Banned and Lambasted

  For years, the Arab League has been promising a joint English language satellite network to no avail. And for just as many years Al Jazeera has been promising to set-up a similar service. Instead, the network is on the point of being sold off due to U.S. condemnation and pressure. Given that Al Jazeera has been bombed, banned and lambasted, its correspondents jailed for terrorist links, who can blame the Qatari ruler for wanting the heat off his tiny country?

  Slowly but surely, as the voices against Arabs increase, the Arab voice in defense is being silenced. Palestine television was a frontrunner in English-language current affairs programming with its nightly program “Your message to the world”. Accused of inciting anti-Israeli sentiments, the show was closed down.

  Other Arab networks have replaced their strident chief editors with those possessing safe pro-American leanings. In their place come Al-Hurra and Al-Sawa funded by the U.S. taxpayer to sculpture Arab minds. Luckily, they have been largely ignored for the U.S.-government propaganda arms they actually are. All well and good, but for how long will that remain the case?

  In the same way that Jews were demonized in Nazi Germany prior to the Holocaust so are Arabs and Moslems being today. This vicious trend needs to be stopped before it gets out of hand. Arab leaders should work with the U.S. government and its European allies to do just that before it’s too late.


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