If you didn’t catch it, the leading progressive political magazine in America, The Nation, recently came out with an amazing collection of articles on the War on Terror, Muslim integration and Islamophobia. It’s a scrumptious feast of the kind of sharp, insightful analysis that’s so consistently absent from coverage of these vital issues in the Corporate Media.
Among the articles in the July 2-9, 2012 issue of The Nation are:
- “Fear and Loathing of Islam” by Moustafa Bayoumi.In the US today, the very ordinariness of Muslim-American life has become grounds for suspicion.
- “How the Media Created the Muslim Monster Myth” by Jack Shaheen [Subscribers Only]
From Arab bandits to TV terrorists, the history of Islamophobia in US popular culture is long and ugly.
- “Deploying Informants, the FBI Stings Muslims” by Petra Bartosiewicz
Behind nearly every ‘foiled terror plot’ lurks a government informant sent to entrap hapless young Muslim men.
- “Islamophobia and Its Discontents” by Laila Lalami
Assailed by the right as a fiction, anti-Muslim bias is all too real for those who live with it.
- “The True Story of Sharia in American Courts” by Abed Awad
Sharia is as unthreatening to the US legal system as the ideas in the Old Testament. Yet bigoted hysteria is fueling legislation that actually undermines our courts.
- “The Long Roots of the NYPD Spying Program” by Ramzi Kassem
Before the War on Terror and Ray Kelly’s spies, the War on Crime helped transform the NYPD into a small army.
- “The Sugar Mama of Anti-Muslim Hate” by Max Blumenthal
Philanthropist Nina Rosenwald has used her millions to cement the alliance between the pro-Israel lobby and the Islamophobic fringe.
- “When Your Father Is Accused of Terrorism” by Laila Al-Arian
My dad, Dr. Sami Al-Arian, was arrested by the FBI on trumped up charges, sending a chill through the local Muslim community. Yet we found support from unlikely allies.
- “Europe: Hotbed of Islamophobic Extremism” by Gary Younge
Europeans are not threatened by a Muslim minority. It’s the other way round.
The breadth and quality of this coverage make me ashamed I ever let my sub lapse, but I will now make amends! They also got me thinking about the need for us American Muslims to put their money where our is mouth is and support the few friends that we have in the media arena.
If you value this nuanced and principled analysis of topics that are consistently oversimplified–if not outright propagandized–in the Corporate Media, please consider subscribing yourself, as well.
It has to be said that, for all the lip service to inclusion and interfaith dialogue, when you judge by action as opposed to flowery rhetoric the American Muslim community has precious few genuine friends in American political life these days. In today’s increasingly polarized, lawless and jingoistic political climate, many politicians and their allied media outlets are either all but baying for Muslim blood or studiously looking the other way as all manner of counterproductive and un-American anti-Muslim policies are imposed at home and abroad. Few actors in the American media landscape make a constructive contribution to dialogue and understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims, as most either gleefully exacerbate these problems, pretend there aren’t any to avoid embarrassing the Obama administration or simply simply are so vapid and uninformed as to have little of value to contribute. It’s really a wasteland.
But there are a few voices crying in the wilderness. There are some media organizations speaking truth to power and effectively critiquing the oversimplifications, misconceptions and double standards that consistently make MSM “analysis” of Islam, Muslims and the place of both in America dreadfully shallow (or worse), and they’re often struggling to survive. We really need to support the handful of courageous alternative news outlets that are working to inject balance and integrity into the national conversation. The chance of reform happening so long as our political culture–our very political lexicon–is dumbed down to this horrific extent is nil. The Nation and the few other publications doing such vital and difficult work (e.g., FAIR’s Extra!, Tikkun, Democracy Now!) really need our support.
Lord knows we need theirs…