It’s not generally that surprising to see a steady current of anti-Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry and animus, especially following the discovery that two Chechen brothers were behind the Boston bombing.
So in keeping with the spirit of my roundup of all the awful responses to the Boston bombing, allow me to look at another week in Islamophobia.
A blog at The Telegraph argues that there was no real backlash against Muslims in the wake of the Boston bombing, and that people who were concerned were the real bigots.
Time and again, Left-leaning campaigners and observers respond to terror attacks in the West by panicking about the possibly racist response of Joe Public – and time and again, their fears prove ill-founded and Joe Public proves himself a more decent, tolerant person than they give him credit for. What this reveals is that liberal concern over Islamophobia, liberal fretting about anti-Muslim bigotry, is ironically driven by a bigotry of its own, by an deeply prejudiced view of everyday people as hateful and stupid.
As a nice counterpoint, feel free to read this compelling account of Muslims in Boston following the bombing.
Ann Coulter also recently went on the Sean Hannity show to argue that women who wear the hijab ought to be imprisoned. Raw Story reports:
“I don’t care if [the widow of the Boston bomber] knew about [the attack],” Coulter said. “She ought to be in prison for wearing a hijab. This immigration policy of us, you know, assimilating immigrants into our culture isn’t really working. They’re assimilating us into their culture. Did she get a clitorectomy too?”
Hannity seemed momentarily puzzled at the sudden citation of female genital mutilation, stammering his reply. “I, uh, I don’t know the answer to that,” he said before confidently adding: “But your point is well taken.”
She went on to use the attacks as a further excuse to criticize U.S. immigration policy. Forget “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,”
“Our immigration policy has nothing to do with helping America,” Coulter insisted. “It has to do with solving the internal problems of other countries. We’ll take Russia’s radicals. We’ll take the illiterate, unskilled, low-skill workers from all these countries. We’ll take their old people and put them on our supplemental security and Medicare. No, immigration policies are supposed to make your country better, not to make it worse and to create all these problems.”
In other news, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) suggested that we might bar young Muslims from receiving visas. And former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales wants us to monitor the Muslim community. Fox News host Eric Bolling called Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) “very dangerous” and the “Muslim apologist in Congress.” He went on to advocate the profiling of Muslims.
Bill O’Reily would like to know why Obama didn’t condemn Islam right after the bombing. Both he and Andrew Sullivan were quick to immediately peg radical Islam as the motivation behind the attack, despite a lack of any real information at the time. Glenn Greenwald, in a great column, wryly notes:
today reports that “United States officials said they were increasingly certain that the two suspects had acted on their own, but were looking for any hints that someone had trained or inspired them.” It also reports that “The FBI is broadening its global investigation in search of a motive.” There’s no reason for the FBI to search for a motive. They should just go talk to Andrew Sullivan. He already found it.The New York Times
Representative Peter King (R-NY), the man behind the 2010 “radicalization hearings,” advocated for “increased surveillance” of Islamic communities in the U.S. He said the “new threat is definitely from within.” The New York Times has a great Op-Ed on the topic.
I argued on the BBC’s World Have Your Say, that, rather than Islam, we’re better off looking to the Aurora shootings or the Newton Massacre to understand what caused the bombing. Dispatches from the Underclass agrees, and further explores the double standards we have towards attacks aimed at civilians.
On a positive note, more great blogs from The New York Times. Friend of the blog Hind Makki argues that fighting for or against the hijab is distracting.
A headscarf doesn’t tell me anything about a particular woman’s access to medical care for herself or her children. An uncovered head doesn’t tell me anything about a woman’s access to legal recourse if she is sexually assaulted. A piece of cloth does not tell me how safe a woman feels in her society to protest her political leaders, enjoy a night out with friends or choose her own spouse.
And on the topic, still from the Times, Murtaza Hussain argues that it is arrogant to ignore Muslim women.
Lastly, for everyone complaining that moderate Muslims don’t speak out against the actions of radicals, have you really tried listening?
UPDATE: I think I might try to make this a somewhat regular feature. To any readers who come across particularly awful content online, feel free to tweet it my way (@vladchituc)
Vlad Chituc is a lab manager and research assistant in a social neuroscience lab at Duke University. As an undergraduate at Yale, he was the president of the campus branch of the Secular Student Alliance, where he tried to be smarter about religion and drink PBR, only occasionally at the same time. He cares about morality and thinks philosophy is important. He is also someone that you can follow on twitter.