The Washington Post reports on how “anti-Muslim feelings” are “propel[ling] [the] right wing in Europe.” When will we see similar stories coming out about the U.S.? The Tea Party is a right-wing movement that has come into prominence, in part, by stoking fear of Muslims and the non-existent “creeping sharia” law that is about to be imposed on the United States.
A recently released report by the NAACP, Devin Burghart, Leonard Zeskind and the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights notes:
The term “Islamophobia” was defined in a 1997 Runnymede Trust Report as “unfounded hostility towards Muslims, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims.” Among the characteristic elements of Islamophobia highlighted in the report: Islam is monolithic and cannot adapt to new realities; Islam does not share common values with other major faiths; Islam as a religion is inferior to the West; It is archaic, barbaric, and irrational; Islam is a religion of violence and supports terrorism; and Islam is a violent political ideology.
In fact, alongside racism, anti-Semitism, and nativism, the elements of Islamophobia have found their way into the Tea Party Movement. Tea Party leaders and members have employed anti-Muslim language. With strong Tea Party ties, Pamela Geller stands out in this regard.
As noted earlier, Geller was a featured speaker at a Tea Party Patriots-sponsored convention in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in May. Despite weeks of pressure from community groups who raised concerns about Geller’s history of Islamophobia, the convention organizers refused to reconsider their invitation to Geller.
As the report notes, Islamophobia is a key element of the Tea Party movement. There are a lot of examples demonstrating this.
The English Defense League, a far-right anti-Muslim group who has chanted “We hate Muslims” at rallies, is reportedly forging links with Tea Party groups in the United States.
And last weekend, as Justin Elliott of Salon reports, “the leader of one of the three biggest Tea Party groups has called for Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) to be defeated this election explicitly because he is Muslim.”
I’m waiting for that expose on Islamophobia in the Tea Party.