The Convergence of Islamophobia and U.S. Policy (Updated below)

Prominent anti-Muslim activists such as Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer like to run around castigating the Obama administration for submitting to sharia law or coddling Islamic terrorists.  But in reality, the right-wing movement to shut down Muslim-American political activity in the U.S. shares an agenda with the U.S. government.

Case in point:  Chip Berlet, a scholar on right-wing movements in the U.S., adds to the Washington Post‘s disclosure last week that “law enforcement agencies have hired as trainers self-described experts whose extremist views on Islam and terrorism are considered inaccurate and counterproductive”:

“Kill them…including the children.”

That’s how to solve the threat of militant Muslims?

This quote is from what one official involved in homeland security said was the theme of a speech by Walid Shoebat at an anti-terrorism training in Las Vegas in October 2010.

Shoebat, according to the Post, “lectures to local police” and spoke at “the first annual South Dakota Fusion Center Conference in Sioux Falls this June.”

Despite the U.S. government’s insistence on “winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim world,” having government agencies hire Islamophobic activists like Shoebat serves an important agenda that right-wing activists also promote:  stoking fear and hatred of Muslims in the service of maintaining the U.S. war machine in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen.  It’s the same agenda that leads the FBI to entrap young Muslim men in the U.S. and to then trumpet their arrest as another victory in the “war-on-terror.”

One part of how to shut the America public up about a never-ending war is to constantly demonize your “enemies” and to make people scared of them.  That’s why Shoebat is being hired by government agencies and that’s why the FBI is entrapping disaffected Muslim youth in the States.  And it’s also why the FBI is engaged in a witch hunt against anti-war and Palestine solidarity activists in the U.S.

The U.S. empire needs Islamophobia to function.

UPDATEThe Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) just put out a press release “urging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Defense Department (DoD) not to use anti-Muslim extremists to train counterterrorism officials.”  This follows a similar CAIR statement that called for a “review [of] Justice Department policies on the reported use of anti-Muslim extremists to train counterterrorism officials nationwide.”

2 responses to “The Convergence of Islamophobia and U.S. Policy (Updated below)

  1. You seem to be saying that the term “Islamophobia” was conjured up by the Right (and the US Government) as a straw man when in fact it is groups like CAIR that, if anyone, made the term the center of their own campaigns to paint the American Muslim experience as one of nearly constant persecution and discrimination. I wonder who – the Right or groups like CAIR – has gotten the most mileage out of the term “Islamophobia.”
    I don’t doubt that a few nutcases have been hired to “lecture” on Islamic extremism, people who have no business doing so. But I also doubt very strongly the context in which the phrase “Kill them…including the children” is being used here. At the very least, I will not accept the notion that local police agencies are going to take seriously that kind of “advice.” It makes for good outrage, but it doesn’t ring true.
    In any case, you seem to be suggesting that Obama’s and General Petreaus’ request that American citizens refrain from doing anything to insult Muslims was a clever way, not of criticizing Americans for there anti-Islamic sentiments, but of creating that very anti-Muslim sentiment in order to make a case for the current wars.
    But wait! It was Muslims around the world who were threatening retribution and hurt feelings if a few Korans were burned? Leaders from Muslims nations were warning that world peace could be compromised, no less.
    Ha! How clever!

    • “You seem to be saying that the term ‘Islamophobia’ was conjured up by the Right (and the US Government) as a straw man…”

      Huh? I don’t say that at all.

      For context on the “kill them” remark, you should visit Chip Berlet’s post at the Huffington Post. It’s not at all outlandish, considering Shoebat’s past statements.

      “you seem to be suggesting that Obama’s and General Petreaus’ request that American citizens refrain from doing anything to insult Muslims was a clever way”

      Again, point to where I said that in my post? I appreciated Obama/Petraeus’ remarks about the Quran burning, though it was done in their self-interest–it doesn’t help stability in Afghanistan/Iraq when you have a preacher receiving 24/7 news coverage about his plan to burn the holy book for Muslims. But on the other hand, the US government has also stoked Islamophobia…as my post said.

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