St. Louis Public Radio, part of the NPR digital network, reported breathlessly last week that “a 2013 report from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) identifies a network of 37 organizations that systematically promote anti-Muslim sentiment in America through prejudice, fear and hatred. CAIR calls it Islamophobia.”
As if anyone who has had access to radio, television, or the Internet over the last ten years wouldn’t know that. The St. Louis Public Radio piece was just the latest in a steady stream of articles that have appeared over the last few years about the “Islamophobia” industry, a supposedly well-coordinated, well-funded band of bigots, hatemongers and racists who are doing their utmost to disrupt what would otherwise be a peaceful and harmonious welcoming of Muslims into the United States and other Western nations.
Faizan Syed, executive director of CAIR-St. Louis, articulated this mainstream view:
After September the Eleventh, you would expect there would be a spike in anti-Muslim or anti-Islam attacks in the United States. And that’s what we saw after September the Eleventh. But what’s unique is that after the first few years, those percentage [sic] of attacks actually kept going down and down and decreased. And then in 2008 and 2009, we saw another spike in those biased, motivated attacks. And we’ve seen that height now more than even after September the Eleventh. We feel that part of the bigotry and hatred that exists is not just because it exists. But rather, it is an orchestrated, well-organized, well-funded thought process that is being pushed on the American public.
If it weren’t for the “Islamophobes,” we are told, Americans wouldn’t have the low opinion of Islam that surveys show they do; innocent Muslims would not be victimized; and discrimination against Muslims would be essentially non-existent.
The only problem with this scenario is that every detail of it is false.
Jonathan S. Tobin wrote in Commentary in late November that “when it comes to the question of America’s alleged Islamophobia, there is a consensus in the American media: American Muslims have been under siege since the 9/11 attacks.” However:
With the annual release of the FBI’s hate crime numbers, statistical proof is once again available for those who are interested in the real answer as to which groups are subjected to the most attacks…. Of the 1,340 incidents of anti-religious hate crimes reported, 674 or 62.4 percent were anti-Jewish in nature. Only 130 incidents or 11.6 percent involved Muslim victims. These figures are not much different from those assembled by the government for previous years. In virtually every year, the number of anti-Semitic incidents is a multiple of those involving Muslims.
No genuine hate crime is ever justified, but the disproportionate media interest in “Islamophobia,” and its comparative lack of interest in antisemitism, betrays the cynicism and hypocrisy of the entire “Islamophobia” enterprise. There is indeed an “Islamophobia” industry, but it is not the one that you will read about in sensationalistic “exposés” from leftist sources such as St. Louis Public Radio, offering highly misleading and often outright false information about the supposedly handsome funding of “Islamophobes.”
The real “Islamophobia” industry is the one that endlessly churns out those “exposés,” trying to convince the public that the problem most troubling the peace of the world is not Islamic jihad terror, but “Islamophobia” and the “Islamophobes” behind it. In reality, the producers of these “exposés” are the ones with the massive funding. They are the ones with the carefully planned and coordinated message. They are the ones, above all, who are by their actions justifying harm done to innocent human beings.