Institutionalized contempt for Islam; How do we tackle it?
by Jeff Siddiqui
I met a young member of the Washington State Human Rights Commission a few days ago at a hearing about bigotry. Before the meeting convened, he asked me what I was going to talk about so I asked him, “When someone mentions ‘Terrorism’ or ‘Security’, what kinds of people come to your mind?”. He admitted that the first image is that of a Muslim.
I agreed with him and I said this is what I was there for; to talk about the various agencies in this area alone, who spread bigotry against Islam and Muslims without a second thought and quite sincerely, believing they are only talking about security, crime prevention and anti-terrorism.
I told him about the Port of Seattle Police sponsoring two, two-day training courses this last Summer, that supposedly focused on “Radical Jihad”, but managed to spend an inordinately large amount of time discussing Islam and Muslims, how we name our children, how we pray and fast etc.,...things that have nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with spreading a subconscious fear and loathing of Islam and Muslims. It is impossible, I told him, for a law-enforcement officer to attend such a seminar, presented by “experts” and walk away without having a subconscious fear, hate and deep suspicion of Islam Muslims and Arabs.
Thanks to the inaction from our political leaders, some law-enforcement agency in Redmond WA seems encouraged enough to invite the same hate-mongering company back for more “training” called “Jihad II”, late in January 2009.
While people may be nodding their heads in intellectual agreement, the situation is far, far worse than most people would imagine and the effects will last several generations AFTER affirmative steps are taken to stop this line of thought…something that I fear will not start yet for a long time, because there is no incentive to do so (politicians and thought-leaders seldom do anything unless they have either a fear-motive or a greed-motive).
One Port of Seattle Commissioner called me after my discussions with the top-level of the Port of Seattle (including the CEO, Police Chief and Commissioners) and told me what a good job I was doing and how he would really like to help us (Muslims) tackle bigotry and if we could help him with his campaign fund-raising, he would be in a position to help; then he mailed me donation form and a return envelope.
Just last night, I was reading about the imprisonment and the degrading and sometimes tortured treatment of Professor Sami Al- Arian from Florida.
While he was being tormented and roughed-up (remember, we do NOT torture!), one of the guards was slamming him against the wall and saying, “I know you are a terrorist, I can tell by your name”. The lieutenant who saw this came up to Prof Al-Arian and told him to shut up and tightened his handcuffs until he could not feel anything for the rest of the journey to the courthouse (see full story at the bottom).
To quote our Fearless Leader who thankfully, will be riding his snake into the sunrise soon, “Where does this hatred come from!?” He was, of course talking about the so-called “Hatred” the Muslims are supposed to have for the Western “Judeo-Christian Civilization”.
I am asking the same question about the deeply-ingrained fear, loathing and hatred that is cultivated among the very people who are supposed to protect us and who are the guarantors of justice and equality for ALL of us, not just everybody except Muzlems.
This deep hate is getting deeper and more broadly ingrained at every level of public service in our country, it is going unnoticed because it is aimed towards the enemy of today’s fashion, not the ‘us’ of conventional thought; Muzlems! it is a small price to pay for national security, thank God ‘us’ don’t have to pay the bill, ‘them’ do!
We already know it is being taught to our future officers at the US Air Force Academy, at the US Naval Academy, at Army training centers, to law-enforcement agencies, to politicians and even at school-level kids…why should we be surprised that the ill-treatment of Muslims is so pervasive?
If we should not be surprised, why am I so upset?
I am frustrated because I have no power to effect any changes.
I am frustrated because we, the Mulsims of this area cannot seem to organize ourselves out of the paper bag that we are trapped in, long enough to DO something against this institutionalized loathing and persecution of Muslims.
I am frustrated because I see evidence of continued and increasing Islamophobia and it is getting closer and closer.
I am frustrated because of what I heard this evening from my daughter….I am VERY upset and there is sweet nothing I can do about it except vent my rage on this keyboard!
I went to Bellingham to pick up my daughter from her university this evening after her last final. On the way back we usually have deep conversations that we seldom do when we are not in the confined space of a car, so I enjoy going there to pick her up.
After a few other topics, we discussed some of her friends from high school that she was still in touch with, one of them is serving in special forces in Afghanistan (I already knew that). I told her that I did not believe any person serving in a combat position in Afghanistan or in Iraq, would return without harboring deep suspicion and bias against Islam, Muslims and Arabs. She told me that Chuck (the man in Afghanistan) calls his (Montlake Terrace High) friends from Afghanistan but he cannot disclose where is stationed and that he called her recently.
Chuck always maintains that he and his fellow special forces buddies don’t care about religion at all, they only do their job and the religion of others is irrelevant to them. In fact this last time, he laughed and told her that there is a street dog who comes over to beg for a scrap now and then and they all have named this street dog, “allah akbar”, that is how little they care about religion (oh yes, yuk-yuk, I am dying of laughter)!
Now tell me these fellows don’t loathe Islam and Muslims, because I have some property on the Moon I would like you to invest in. I’ll bet hundred dollars to nothing, that these “above-religion” defenders of “Freedom” and “Democracy” have yet to name a dog or a rat, “Jesus Christ”...I am not asking for this, I am simply testing the hypothesis that these people have a complete disdain for all religion.
There is nothing I can do about it, even our members of Congress who hold positions on various defense sub-committees, don’t give a damn long enough to put a stop to the anti-Muslim training going on in our military academies, in fact, it can be a career-ending move for them to even try, given the ripe atmosphere against Islam and Muslims in this country.
We have to find people, the common citizen, who do give a damn long enough to help DO something and I am frustrated because I don’t know how.