THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING
The following commentary is reprinted with permission from Veterans Today.
THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING
© Dr. Ashraf Ezzat
Source: Veterans Today
August 21, 2010
The American Muslims are beginning to feel alienated from the American society and this is for anyone familiar with Islam a very alarming sign.
When we welcomed the new global world, we welcomed the great reassembly of forces for the cause of truth and sanity which it offers us.
With the new global world, we thought we had embarked on a new journey that would bring humans who looked afar on the map closer to each other and would make them realize that we’re all alike on the inside. We welcomed a new world of shared knowledge, a world where ignorance is not bliss anymore.
We thought we had said Good-bye to a world where we lived in our cocoon went to sleep in one decade and then awakened in another to find strange forces invading our little space without knowing how to cope with them.
Almost a decade has passed away since one of the bloodiest American nightmares and the Americans still cannot break free of 9/11 trauma. They are awakened in another decade to find themselves haunted by dreadful flashbacks and relentless fears.
The controversy, which has been simmering over several months and boiled over the last couple of weeks when a group of American Muslims declared they were building a cultural community center in New York near Ground Zero brought back those dreadful memories.
In a country regarded as a model for freedom of religion and beliefs, the opposition to the Islamic community center was not clearly understood, most of the opponents elaborated on the sensitivity and wisdom which the Muslim owners lacked in regard to choosing this specific place to build their community center.
It never crossed their minds that Muslims didn’t take this sensitivity issue into consideration for the simple fact that they didn’t feel guilty of committing the crimes of 9/11. The opposition to the mosque seemed politically manipulated; it seemed more like a rationalization of bigotry. But Somehow, the so called ground zero mosque managed to bring out America’s darkest fears.
It was obvious that America as a nation was experiencing a kind of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since 9/11 the Americans have increasingly grown sensitive to anything related to Islam. Lots of words – which nobody correctly understood- such as Muslim, Jihad, Hijab and of course mosque were beginning to act as triggers to trauma stroke.
There are many false and distorted perceptions around us. In general, all aspects of human life share this fate. The causes of this regrettable phenomenon are obvious. People in the majority are infantile and want easy and quick gratifications. Thinking demands temporary frustration until the gratification result is achieved.
The infantilism of mankind resists this displeasure, however temporary. Therefore people in general deal with the critical issues of life in a superficial and loose manner. Only the simple concepts are adopted, the others which need work, time and thinking are distorted and reduced to superficialities.
Therefore, in that superficial way, the majority of Americans chose to deal with the 9/11 tragedy. This horrible story needed to be investigated with a lot of profound and critical thinking to get to the bottom of it. But people preferred the easy way; they went for the simple concept, though there was nothing simple about it at all.
All that the majority of the public needed was a suspect, a villain on whom they could blame the whole thing. And since that was already taken care of by the political administration and sinister lobbyists, it was not long- just a few hours- before the villain was identified and the narration of Osama Bin Laden and his group taken for granted by the anxious masses.
And In such an atmosphere, ideas like “the end of history” and “clash of civilizations” were becoming more appealing and few years after the demise of communism, Americans were made to recognize Islam as their new global enemy.
Franklin D. Roosevelt once said “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”
The 9/11 file is full of strange accidents, for example; why the twin towers collapsed like a house of cards as in controlled demolition? Why no one was indicted, no one was officially wanted, not even Osama Bin Laden himself… why has Islam been nominated as the new replacement to communism on the American public enemies list?
If the perpetrators of 9/11 were to be North Koreans or East Europeans or even Colombians it would have made more sense to political analysts.
But Muslims and Arabs in particular were not engaged in direct conflict with the United States, so why on earth did the Arab Muslims get stuck with the crime of committing terrorist attacks on American soil? It is not written down in the Qur’an nor is it considered as jihad as some of the misinformed writers claim.
But let us not neglect the fact that Arabs and Muslims are in direct and ruthless conflict with Israel. And since Tel Aviv was the one always whining about being surrounded by Israel-hating Arabs and Muslims, then, the inevitable question of whose interest presenting the Muslims as the new global enemy to America would serve can no longer be a puzzle.
And if you doubt this thesis, I advise you to take a second scrutinizing look at Iraq and Afghanistan and try to figure out what good did those two wars do for the USA? Who really benefited from dismantling Iraq as a political and military power in the Middle East? And who will benefit from doing the same to Iran? or Pakistan for that matter.
How America sees Muslims?
The demonization of Islam in Western thought is firmly rooted in the idea that Islam is medieval and dangerous and the media was mostly responsible for this biased characterization of Islam.
Numerous criticisms have been voiced that the U.S. media – especially its cinema sector and TV networks – tend to create image templates. As in Hollywood’s role in portraying Italians as mafia type , the Spanish as bribe takers, Latin Americans as drug sellers, etc.
Yet, no nation or community has suffered the level of injustice Hollywood has been inflicting on Muslims. In Hollywood films, Muslims – mostly Arabs – are presented as people who hijack planes, set bombs, kill people, etc. – in a word, as terrorists. This template is designed mostly for the middle class. The role tailored for women of the same class portrays women who are oppressed by men and those who are adept at belly dancing, though still suppressed and knowing no love. We may also encounter wealthy characters in these films. They tend to be lustful, fat and passionate types who do not know how to spend their millions.
Unfortunately, this is the biased preconception upon which the west and Americans are stereotyping all Muslims.
The hate speech against Islam could invite what Americans fear most.
The level of antipathy toward Muslims in America has escalated to a frightening level. Irrational and irresponsible actions against Muslims began to emerge among Americans. In the last two weeks people began to articulate their anti-Muslim sentiments, the mainstream media was mostly conveying a hate speech toward Muslims to the extent that led an ignorant politician – Tea Party leader Mark Williams – to describe the Muslims’ god as a monkey god.
Young men across the country began to attack mosques, some churches announced that they will be performing the Qur’an burning ritual on the coming September, 11, 2010. And this is the most terrifying story I had to come across in amidst all the increasingly acrimonious debate over the construction of the so-called Ground Zero mosque in Manhattan. Because it touches a very sensitive spot in the Muslim Psyche.
Ironically, Eid al-Fitr, a joyous holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, as important as Christmas for Christians, this year falls around Sept. 11. Muslim leaders fear that their gatherings for prayer and festivities could be misinterpreted by those unfamiliar with Islam as a celebration of the 2001 terrorist strikes.
American muslims feel intimidated and most of them are reluctant to celebrate this year holiday of Eid al-Fitr. I earnestly advise Americans to be wise and understand the overlap; I earnestly implore them to let the American Muslims celebrate the holiday as usual. This hate speech has gone much too far.
Islamophobia has become the nagging symptom of PTSD that America is going through nowadays. But irritability, avoidance and anger aren’t the only possible responses to PTSD. Exposure and containment, if handled right, can work much better.
One crucial point that most of the followers to the mosque debate did not take notice of is the silence the Muslims have so far shown to this aggressive anti- Muslim rhetoric.
This Muslim silence should not be misinterpreted as lack of access to media. Because it’s not. It is a very serious and early sign of detachment and isolation. The American Muslims are beginning to feel alienated from the American society and this is for anyone familiar with Islam is a very alarming sign.
It could eventually lead some of them to get into their cocoon of Muslim solidarity and only God knows what shape they will take when they get out. Ignorant politicians and misinformed media behind this anti-Muslim hate speech are contributing to the sprouting of American radical Islam. And maybe later, and in few years from now, they will regret it when the hate rhetoric changes into something like “WATCH OUT, THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING”.
Dr. Ashraf Ezzat is a medical doctor, writer, and Founder and board member of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina friends’ society. His articles have been published in Egyptian magazines and newspapers. He is from Alexandria, Egypt.