Top Menu

“Wade Michael Page: Islamophobia Unleashed” by Wajahat Ali

Wajahat Ali discusses why questions about whether Page “mistook Sikhs for Muslims” are largely irrelevant at the moment.

Ali puts the Islamophobic atmosphere in the USA in perspective:

Wade Michael Page: Islamophobia unleashed

How much longer will we tolerate politicians who stoke bigotry like that which drove Wade Michael Page to kill?

BY 

Here are some of the things we know about Wade Michael Page: He led a “racist white power trio” called End Apathy; he had a tattoo commemorating 9/11; he shaved his head; and, on Sunday, he killed six individuals and wounded a police officer at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

We have yet to determine if Page mistook Sikhs for Muslims, but such questions are irrelevant. In today’s Islamophobic atmosphere, there has been increased marginalization of all AMEMSA (Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, South Asian) communities. In particular, Sikh Americans have faced the brunt of post 9/11 hate crimes and backlash, with Sikh men often being mistaken for Muslims. The first, post 9/11 hate crime murder was of Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh gas station owner in Arizona, whom the murderer chose because he was“dark-skinned, bearded and wore a turban.”

This extremist violence and fear-mongering does not exist in a vacuum. The Southern Poverty Law Center recently reported the highest number of hate groups ever recorded in U.S. history, with nearly 1,018 active groups. Furthermore, anti-Muslim hate groups have increased 300 percent in the last year, and the FBI reported a 50 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes. The reasons for the record rise in hate groups are due to the faltering economy, changing racial dynamics in America leading to a minority-majority country, and the election of Barack Hussein Obama.

However, the reality according to the latest studies is that American Muslims help law enforcement, are more likely to reject violence than any other U.S. religious community, and nearly all American Muslims have no sympathy or loyalty for Al Qaeda.

Yet facts and evidence do not detract a paranoid fringe from indicting American Muslims or anyone who looks “Muslim-y,” including Arab American Christians, Iranian Jews and Sikh Americans.

On August 6, a second fire in less than five weeks burned down a mosque in Joplin, Missouri, most likely a result of a hate crime. Furthermore, a committed anti-Muslim contingency in Murfreesboro, Tennessee continues to impede the progress of a mosque construction belonging to an American Muslim community that has peacefully lived there for over three decades.

Despite President Obama publicly proclaiming Jesus Christ as his savior, attending Church, and celebrating Easter, nearly 17 percent of registered American voters still think our President worships Allah. Obama’s alleged “Muslimy-ness” continues to act as a smear, handcuffing “Muslim” to something deemed “foreign,” “hostile” and “anti-American.” Furthermore, Islam currently has its lowest favorability rating in America, even lower than the weeks following 9/11.

The cynical and deliberate baiting of ignorance, racism and Islamophobia by political players was exposed in an investigative report I worked on last year, “Fear Inc, The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” produced by the Center for American Progress. My coauthors and I identified a lucrative cottage industry comprised of an interconnected, incestuous network of right-wing pseudo-scholars, policy experts, politicians and media pundits who have received nearly $43 million from seven funders to create and disseminate fear and misinformation against Muslims.

As an example, the exploitation of Sharia, or Islamic religious law, as being a fictional “threat to America” was used by nearly every major mainstream Republican candidate running for President, including Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty and the modern-day Islamophobic Nancy Drew, Michelle Bachmann.

Instead of using their position of influence to build bridges of understanding, Bachmann and four GOP colleagues recently decided to stoke the flames of fear-mongering by engaging in a witch huntagainst fellow Americans. Facts are not Bachmann’s strong suit. Instead, she continues the odious tradition of McCarthyism and relies on paranoia, hunches, and the prevailing anti-Muslim sentiment in the country to justify smearing respected American Muslim individuals as being connected to radical Muslim organizations. Bachmann’s Islamophobia was appreciated by her Tea Party-base who rewarded her “dangerous” and “downright vicious” conspiracy theories with July donations totaling $1 million. (For perspective, Bachmann previously raised $1 million over a period of three months, April through June.)

To liberally misquote Mel Brooks’ “The History of the World”: “It pays to be an Islamophobe.”

On the other hand, a target of her witch hunt, long-time Secretary of State Hilary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, a recent mother no less, was forced to hire a security detail after receiving death threats.

In his perpetual, pathetic quest to remain relevant, Newt Gingrich continued to pander to the radical right of the Republican Party and slither towards ignominy by offering support for Bachmann’s McCartyhesque endeavor. To court his fringe base, Newt has likened Muslims to Nazis and vowed during his failed Presidential campaign to initiate loyalty oaths for American Muslims.

He heroically labeled Bachmann and her four accomplices as the “National Security Five,” which sounds like a radical rendition of Scooby Doo’s Mystery Inc.

Unlike the cartoon, however, these elected officials are not uncovering villains; rather, they are preying on innocent citizens scapegoated for their religious affiliation and ethnicity.

This is particularly shameful for Gingrich considering he helped set aside prayer space on Capitol Hill for Muslim congressional staffers in the late 1990s. Furthermore, he belongs to the American Conservative Union, which hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) – featuring an all-star roster of Conservatives. Key Islamophobe Frank Gaffney, a “longtime friend”and consultant to Bachmann who feeds her anti-Muslim, conspiratorial evidence, asserts CPAC has been infiltrated by radical Islam.

This revelation should inspire Congressman Peter King, R-NY, who serves as the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee,to host yet another congressional hearing, this time, however, exposing the infiltration of the Republican Party by Mr. Gingrich, obviously the Muslim Brotherhood’s Manchurian Candidate.

King relies on key members of the Islamophobia network for his inaccurate information on American Muslim communities, including the discredited claim that over 85 percent of American mosques and its religious leaders are radicalized. In the past, King has also claimed there are “too many mosques” in America. King also falsely claimed that 90 percent of terrorist crimes are carried out by Muslims. In the U.S., 56 percent of terrorist attacks and plots have been perpetrated by right-wing extremists, 30 percent by eco-terrorists and 12 percent by Islamic extremists.

Yet, King is still allowed to chair congressional hearings on American Muslims. That’s like asking Dan Cathy, the homophobic president of Chick-fil-A, to host a hearing on LGBT issues, or asking Mel Gibson to chair a hearing on Jewish American communities.

In a perfect world, we would readily dismiss these cynical politicians as amusing cartoon characters who say nutty things cueing a laugh track that prompts us to mock them. Sadly, they are elected officials and political players with a sizeable constituency deliberately misinforming their base, keeping them ignorant and afraid, and inciting paranoia and radical sentiment for sake of short term political gain and publicity.

Unfortunately, a tremendous negative externality emerges from such ill-gained profit. As we have seen time and time again, extremist rhetoric inspires extremist violence.

Anders Breivik, the anti-Muslim, Norwegian murderer who killed 77 people last year, left behind a 1,500 page manifesto frequently citing the writings and ideology of the American Islamophobia network. Upon reviewing the manifesto, counter-terrorism expert Marc Sagemen said the Islamophobes’ “writings are the infrastructure from which Breivik emerged.”

“This rhetoric,” he added, “is not cost free.”

The senseless murder of six Sikh Americans was the tragic cost of hate-monger’s perverse ideology rationalizing violence against innocent civilians.

Perhaps it is time we turn the tables and expose the enablers and disseminators of divisive, fear-mongering rhetoric that has no place in today’s fragile and racially sensitive environment. Let Bachmann and company enjoy their short term profit in the dustbins of history, seated next to ideological allies like Joseph McCarthy, as the rest of us move forward as communities united against hate.

Wajahat Ali is a playwright, attorney, journalist and essayist. He is currently writing a pilot with Dave Eggers about an American Muslim cop from the Bay Area and working on his first movie screenplay with filmmaker Josh Seftel (“War Inc.”) He is co-editor of the anthology “All American: 45 American Men on Being Muslim”, which published in June 2012. His award-winning play“The Domestic Crusaders,” was published by McSweeney’s in 2011. He is the lead author of “Fear Inc., Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.”MORE WAJAHAT ALI.

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Abbey

    Well written and thought provoking.

  • khushboo

    I’ve had the honor of meeting Wajahat Ali and have nothing but respect for him. He’s done alot for our Muslim community and am proud of our fellow Pakistani who, unlike many others, is bold and brave enough to take a stand against Islamophobia. It’s a shame that others don’t see it that way.

  • Stoned Gremlin, for years I worked from a single cut and paste document when refuting fools, you are right they seldom bring up anything new. You see the same stuff day in day out, some just re-package their stuff in slightly different ways… it get’s rather dull. In reality many of them are just parroting select lines, not understanding what they are actually going on about which of course is why the ‘taqiyya’ card gets played so often (since it means they can protect their arguments without defending them).

    Still, it strengthens Muslim’s understanding; I know dozens who have actually started looking into their faith purely because some anti-Islam prat had a go at them!

  • JD

    Pussy Riot Trial: Russian Prosecutor Seeks Jail Time For Protesters

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/07/pussy-riot-trial_n_1750811.html

    MOSCOW, Aug 7 (Reuters) – A state prosecutor on Tuesday demanded a three-year jail term for three women from the punk band Pussy Riot, saying they had abused God when they stormed the altar of a Moscow cathedral and sang a “protest prayer” against the Russian Orthodox Church’s close links to Vladimir Putin.

    The case, in which the three are charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, has outraged many Russian Orthodox believers.

    But it has also caused an international outcry and focused attention on a crackdown on dissent since Putin returned to the presidency for a six-year term on May 7.

    “The actions of the accomplices clearly show religious hatred and enmity,” federal prosecutor Alexei Nikiforov said in closing arguments, watched by the women’s lawyers, friends and family in the tiny courtroom.

    “There was real mockery and humiliation directed at the people in the church,” he said.

    The defendants looked pale and tired as they sat silently in a glass and metal courtroom cage, two of them scribbling notes. Their lawyer said the demand for a prison sentence was disproportionate and shameful.

    Nikiforov did not press the court for the maximum seven-year sentence. Putin said last week that Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, had done “nothing good” but should not be judged too harshly.

    But the prosecutor ignored pleas by the opposition and human rights groups not to seek jail terms over the profanity-laced protest, in which the trio, wearing balaclavas and short dresses, burst into the Christ the Saviour Cathedral and belted out a song urging the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin.

    “Using swear words in a church is an abuse of God,” Nikiforov said.

    He dismissed the defendants’ argument that the protest was not intended to offend believers and was aimed at highlighting the church’s support for Putin.

    “The insult is not to Putin but to the social group of Orthodox Christian believers,” he said.

    ———-
    Waiting for calls of Freedom of Speech which is what would have happened if this is was muslim mosque

  • DrM

    I have reservations about Wajahat Ali, but “livingengine” is just a typical hasbaRat troll peddling conspiracy theories. What else can you expect from zionist scum who defend Geller and company?

  • Stoned Gremlin

    @Loonwatchers Well look at it this way, at least we know that we wont have to do much research to refute these bigots. We might actually be able to memorize the material we need to debunk them seeing as they never bring up anything new.

  • Chameleon

    @livingengine and @My opinion is my own,

    I know that there must be a mistake here. I have reviewed your links, and they seem to be missing all the actual arguments and juicy stories to go along with their salacious claims. One of the links was even missing any claims altogether, so perhaps you attached the wrong links. Please provide the links with the actual facts and analysis attached as well. I feel like I just watched a titillating movie trailer about lies, conspiracy and subterfuge. Now I want to see the actual movie. Please don’t wait for me — I’ll be getting the popcorn ready.

  • Ali

    Its a good idea that you guys allowed the comments of ‘livingengine’ and ‘my opinion is my own’. Its proves how desperate both of them are. One good thing about the livingengine’s video is it gives more exposure to Wajahat and his efforts to combat Islamophobia and expose bigots.

  • @Amago

    Isn’t fitting how Wad Micheal Page is pictured in front of a Nazi flag?

  • @Garibaldi,

    I’m beginning to wonder the same, especially when they keep linking to websites and authors Loon Watch has already refuted. Apparently none of them have even bothered checking Loon Watch to see if you guys have even took that source on before. I don’t know about the second, but Loon Watch has taken on David Horrowitz, and Front Page Mag and Danial Greenfield multiple times. Perhaps these guys actually do think they’ll be able to convince us. Its possible many of them are so ignorant that they don’t even realize their arguments have been refuted multiple times, and when do respond they usually don’t reply, so maybe they just leave a comment, and assume they have defeated Loon Watch.

  • Crow

    Why half-baked Islamaphobic trolls continue to flood this site. For comic relief…I honestly thought livingengine ment to be pathetically funny. Other that I liked the article

  • Mira

    Garibaldi,

    Is Daniel Greenfield really his real name? I have a feeling it is a pen name. Sultan Knish who says his real nameis Daniel Greenfield, and lives in New York, is on the SPLC hate watch list.

    Does anybody know his real name? He is a fellow at the David Horowitz centre. He needs to be under FBI surveillance

  • Anj

    Loonwatch is kryponite to the bigots!
    I use all the information from here to debunk the trolls all the time!

  • Geoff Cavendish

    Hold on, looks a little like Jack Osbourne.

    @Garibaldi

    Yes, Greenfield is an awful scribbling asshat.

  • Garibaldi

    Really, what beats me is why half-baked Islamophobic trolls continue to flood our site even when they know that they won’t be fooling us with their mediocre, faulty and false arguments?

  • Garibaldi

    My oh my, the trolls are out in number today on Loonwatch aren’t they?

    First, notice how none of them engage with the actual substance of the article, just scurrilous ad hominem attacks on Wajahat’s character.

    Second, note how they repeat ad nauseum the same points, in different manners, and in different links–hallmarks of the Islamophobia echo chamber.

    Third, yes, the above are bigoted/Islamophobic/hate sites. Really, does anyone dispute FrontPageRag is not an ish hole attracting the worst of the jihadwatch bottom-feeders and so forth?

    Fourth, Daniel Greenfield, aka SultanKnish is a vicious RACIST and Islamophobe who advocates GENOCIDE, not surprised in the least that the irony of linking to an article by him is lost on you.
    http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/10/fjordman-back-at-gates-of-vienna-whose-tipsters-include-caroline-glick/

  • My opinion is my own

    @Loonwatch – Really then you wont mind me publishing these too links. Let me guess its a “bigoted/Islamophobic/hate sites” right?
    http://cifwatch.com/2012/01/26/cap-report-on-islamophobia-co-authored-by-writer-sympathetic-to-antisemites-muslim-brotherhoo
    http://frontpagemag.com/2011/daniel-greenfield/the-center-for-american-progress%E2%80%99-jihad-against-the-free-wor

    Not holding me breath my comments almost never get published which makes me wonder the motives about for the moderation.

  • Fred Jakobcic

    My apologies for typo of ISLAMOPHOBIA in the above comments on this article, which I jumbles a bit. Fred

  • Fred Jakobcic

    There is a new book now out, ahead of its Aug. 14th publication date, ISLAMOBPHIA and the Politics of Empire: Empire Aborad and at Home, by Deepa Kumar, which I have on order and expect any day now. It seems to me to be a deliberat policy, a however unconsionscely, through ignorance, deliberate omission, to not educate the public of the difference between Sikhs and Muslims…though that should not matter. Wrong is wrong, stupid is stupid and not educating the public is aslo wrong. One does not see much, if anything, in print or on other mainstream media concerning hatred and bigotry towards muslims or others, as if the diversion from our other ills is accepted because of these news making diversions. The United States is full of history of hate, racism, sexism and many other isms in times of crisis and often led by or fostered by government officials, politics and the media (see NEWS FOR ALL THE PEOPL-The Epic Story of Race and the America Media, by Juan Gonzales and Josehph Torres). This is the America of today and the failure of government and leadership, who are more interested in raising money for the next election and staying in power with the the help of the system now vogue, CORPORATOCRACY. This is the real American, this is the reality igored by educators, politicians and others and so called good people who are ingoring and condemning real American history, to listen to and believe in fantasy and myths as fact.

  • livingengine, we allowed your comment through moderation because it just proves Wajahat’s points in the article.

    How long are you and your ilk going to be repeating the “Muslim Brotherhood” conspiracy theories?

    Go and take your seat next to Bachmann.

  • livingengine

    Oh. Well, thank you for that Ilisha.

  • BTW, your comments on your video, namely;

    ‘As you can see from this comment, Muslims hate the USA.’

    ‘Thank you for your comments. I give you permission to use this video in any way that works against jihad.’

    were quite cute 😉

  • livingengine, kewl, care to back any of your stuff up? And I don’t mean two crap videos. The second vid, from AtlasShrugs, bases itself on the fact that he made a slip of the tounge (yeah, taqqiya and all that). The other one is so bad it barely worth comment but is basically another ‘cousin’s brother’s uncle’s golf buddy’ crap (similar to ‘seven degree’s of Kevin Bacon’) junk related to the ‘CAIR is Hamas!’. This has been covered before but you people keep bringing it up but, in a nutshell, if it were true then why did the law courts not prosecute when they had the chance?

    Like I say, two videos doesn’t give anything other than slander. Oh and the MB shite? Seriously you people need to get a line better than ‘he’s from the Muslim Brotherhood ZOMG!’. Its kinda pathetic you bring up unproven MB ‘membership’ (just how does one tell, are they issued ID cards?) as a way to discredit anyone who disagrees with you.

  • livingengine

    Guys, please. Waj is a bigot, and his “Fear,Inc.” is a pile of lies.

    He is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and a racist.

    Now he is exploiting the Sikh tragedy.

    I am so tried of his incitement, and false alarms.

    Background on Waj can be found on my Youtube channel, if you dare.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YroCsbXuF1c&list=UUE3tx7pjmEkWBcC9mBs9m1A&index=2&feature=plcp

    Waj as a bigot.

  • mindy1

    These haters do not represent me, signed an American 🙁

Powered by Loon Watchers