Islamophobes are the same people that would think the metric system is a communist plot and, yes, I have heard an American that said that once in all seriousness.
A group of extremists in Texas have been training to shoot Muslims in case of an uprising. What’s your take on this?
This is actually not that unusual within the United States as far as history. This was how the Ku Klux Klan came into existence after our Civil War, after all. The thinking is this: "Those people are a threat, therefore, we must be prepared to defend ourselves against them!" It was the same thinking that precipitated unprovoked attacks against peaceful Native American tribes, riots against Chinese immigrants in the late 1800s, and race riots against African-Americans in the early 1900s. It is a sad fact of the United States that ignorance reigns supreme here in large parts of the nation, mostly rural areas that have astonishingly poor educational resources. In truth, the United States is far behind the rest of the world in terms of education, literacy, and intelligence. Do you realize we're the only industrialized nation on Earth that stubbornly refuses to adopt the metric system? What does that tell you about the overall state of educational progress here in the United States? You just have to keep in mind: Consider the source. These are people that would think the metric system is a communist plot and, yes, I have heard an American that said that once in all seriousness.
Let me also be quite blunt. Most of these people out there saying they're "training" to defend the country against Muslims are probably too lazy to keep at it longer than a couple weeks. They get bored with it and miss their television shows and sitting in front of the TV eating junk food. I give it about two months before they're down to probably three guys who only go because they're 60 years old and never been married. I've seen these groups before. Most of them couldn't walk fifteen meters before they needed to sit down and catch their breath. Without their guns, they're just cowards. Well, even with their guns they're cowards. Did I mention they're also unable to think themselves out of a wet paper sack? Only foolish people pursue foolish courses of action, as they so brilliantly demonstrate.
Having said that, Muslims in the United States are equal in that the right to defend themselves exists in the law, especially in Texas. I'm not saying, hey, everyone run out and buy a gun. That's a personal decision. But I think reaching out to interfaith partners is critical now more than ever. These racists need to see that they can't shoot all of us and a lot of the people that will stand with Muslims will not be Muslim themselves. A lot of us are getting tired of hearing these threats of violence and we need to start an interfaith coalition nationwide to start addressing this as one voice. How about creating a national interfaith coalition against Islamophobia called "Abraham's Tent"? Start there. Every tree begins from a small seed.
Do you think anti-Muslim sentiments is on the rise in US? If so, are Muslims to blame? What should Muslims do about this issue?
Yes, anti-Muslim sentiments are on the rise in the United States. Now, I am 49 years old. I can remember a time when a political candidate could not have said the things about Muslims that Donald Trump said. He'd have been hectored and badgered by reporters until he gave up. Plus, the American people would have spoken up and demanded better from their political party. But now it has become socially acceptable and this is very troubling, because we're talking about electing a guy that will have access to nuclear weapons. Excuse me, but the United States government is the only one that has actually used nuclear weapons against other people. So, what, we are okay with risking electing a guy that basically sees all Muslims as the enemy?
Look, Muslims are not to blame for this. Now, some couple years back, there was this big outrage here over Halal turkeys for Thanksgiving. All kinds of American "patriots" were emailing and calling meat companies and demanding that we have no "Muslim turkeys" for Thanksgiving. But look at this for what it is. Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. Muslims are not in any way obliged to celebrate it. The Jehovah's Witnesses here don't because their religion doesn't allow that. But Muslims wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving like many other Americans and look what happened? Here come the racists and bigots whining about Halal turkeys. These are the same racists and bigots sitting there whining that Muslims don't "assimilate" here. Yet, when they tried to do just that with Thanksgiving, here they were slandered again. Muslims are not to blame for this. All of these non-Muslim bigots are responsible for this.
And another thing. Many of these people have ancestors that were hated when they came here. If their ancestors were Italian, Irish, Jewish, or Asian, they were hated when they got here. There were even laws against them in some cities. So what have these people learned? Nothing. That's worse than ignorance because ignorance is simply not knowing better. Bigotry is knowing better and doing wrong anyway.
What should Muslims do about this issue? Hey, let me say this: Don't change anything because of these idiots. You have a RIGHT to be Muslim and practice Islam here. It's called the First Amendment. A Muslim woman has a right to wear a hijab anywhere she feels like it and if people don't like it, too bad. Let me say it again, Muslims have a right to practice Islam in the United States. A mosque has a right to exist here the same as any church or synagogue. Now, what I do suggest is reaching out into your community and building interfaith partners with churches and synagogues that have interfaith missions. Because you know what? There's a whole lot more of us that are going to stand with you than against you. Interfaith networking is the best cure for this.
How do you see the future for Muslims in the United States? Should they be worried about Islamophobia?
I know it's difficult right now, but Muslims have a future here. Look, this has all happened before. This is a sad time in America right now, because we are literally flirting with dictatorship. But the only way evil can triumph is for good people to be silent. Yes, Muslims should be worried. We have a presidential candidate who is literally provoking violence. He might even get elected. But I will say this. If he gets elected and Muslims are being carted off to jail, they'll be jailing me, too. And I'm a Christian. But there are many of us who will be going to jail along with the Muslims because we live what Jesus asks of us. We're not just going to sit here and watch that happen and ignore that. We will be there, sitting peacefully, saying, "You can take us to jail with them. Those are our brothers and sisters."
New Atheists, such as Sam Harris, say Islamophobia is not a real problem and refer to it as a “meme”, what do you think about their views on this issue?
Atheists are, by nature, angry people with a chip on their shoulder against God. If they simply do not believe God exists, they would not need to waste time running around trying to convince everyone else, right? So they'll take whatever chance they can get in order to try and promote their own views and feel better about their own decision to abandon God. It's like kids exploring a cave. They'll go into it so far, but then they get scared and need friends to come with them. This is what atheists do. They're somewhat afraid they might be wrong, so they need to convince others to follow along so they'll feel justified in their choice.
The reason people like Sam Harris deny Islamophobia is because if they have to admit it exists, then they have to take a bite out of that sandwich, right? An atheist killed three Muslims in North Carolina, I think it was. Gosh, so atheists are not the rational, level-headed people they claim to be? Imagine that! So if a crime of Islamophobia was committed by an atheist, it obviously exists since they have committed such crimes themselves. After all, a man cannot bake a pizza them claim that there is no such thing as pizza, despite the one sitting right there on the table. Atheists will say, "Prove there is a God!" Ok, well, I just proved that an atheist committed a crime against Muslims because they were Muslim. Therefore, I have proven Islamophobia exists. Despite what Sam Harris says.
Who’s responsible for the rise of Islamophobia in Western countries, especially the US? Do you think the corporate media have a negative impact on this problem?
It's not just the corporate media in Western countries that generates hatred against Muslims. It's also the United States government itself, with its endless scare tactics about terrorism. And who are the "terrorists"? Not the leftist groups of the 1970s and 1980s. The Muslims are the "terrorists". Now, obviously, this is ridiculous. There are, what, 2 billion Muslims on the planet? If Islam was not a peaceful religion, we'd have a world war right now.
But here's the truth about the whole thing. Both world wars were started by Western secular governments. The last one was ended when a Western secular government dropped two nuclear weapons on the civilian populations of two cities. Then that secular government got into a "Cold War" with an atheist government and both of them threatened the entire planet with a thermonuclear war. And that was over an economic system difference! Indeed, not even twenty years after dropping nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States almost got into a nuclear war with the Soviet Union over Cuba. We were literally just a couple hours away from Doomsday. Can it be said that Islam has ever done anything even remotely similar to this? Western secular governments have killed well over 70 million people in wars of the 20th century alone! And the United States alone still possesses enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet all by itself and stubbornly refuses to get rid of them. What's more, the United States has no problem electing madmen to be in control of them!
How about the news reporting the truth, for a change? Like what I just said. Islam will not start the Third World War. That will be Western secular governments that fight that war. The Middle East as a whole hasn't got the ability to start or wage a world war because, in my opinion, the thought doesn't cross their minds. The United States government likes to say that if Iran got a nuclear weapon, they'd use it immediately. Do you know why they think that? Because that's what the United States did---twice in a row. They've never been able to establish why Iran would do such a thing. But they say this and the news doesn't even challenge them. Gone are the days reporter Walter Cronkite stood up in Saigon in the aftermath of the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War and declared it "unwinnable". Those days are gone. Now the media exists for sensationalism and ratings because that sells airtime to their advertisers. The news does not exist to report facts, it exists to entertain people with events that happened, but maybe not the way they're telling you they happened.
Of course corporate media helps to incite Islamophobia. Have you ever noticed that "reality television" usually involves conflict or people pitted against one another? They do the same with the news. They thrive on conflict and help fan the flames of it. Because people watch that. Especially in the United States, which has a culture and a society that glorifies violence as a whole. Our entire entertainment industry glorifies violence in movies, music, computer games, and television. The government itself glorifies violence and presents it as a solution to all problems worldwide. What do you think Memorial Day is really all about? Know what they tell us here about that? "Freedom isn't free!" In other words, freedom comes only because American soldiers die and give that to us. That's almost like saying we have state-sponsored human sacrifice over here, but people believe this. The press never questions it, as they would have in, say, 1973.
So, it cannot be said that Islam is perpetuating this violence. These are the actions of a violence-prone United States government that provokes violence. But then the way it is reported to us by the news is that we were just sitting there minding our own business when we were attacked for no reason. Thus, people arrive at the conclusions the government wants them to: That Muslims hate us for our freedom. And, of course, American soldiers die to defend our freedom. Because if the American people really knew the truth about why their kids are dying in these wars, they'd rightfully blame the government, and not Islam. We haven't fought a war to "defend our freedom" over here since 1945. I can even argue that one wasn't about our freedom, too.
In closing, let me say this. This violence we're seeing in the Middle East would settle itself out if the West would stop instigating it or trying to micromanage the region. The West stokes fears about "Islam" in order to justify its actions over there. Why is it there? To control the natural resource of oil and, also, to try and force Western economic systems and culture upon the Middle East in order to open up those markets to Western corporations and financial entities. That's another reason Islam is vilified in the West. Because it opposes the false values of Western culture and predatory economic systems. The West, and especially the United States, have long desired to open up the Middle East to become markets for American and Western European corporations. This is how the West wishes to assert control over the Middle East. First, though military control and then economic control. Once you realize that, then you can see Islamophobia for what it is: The way by which the West seeks to say it is bringing something "better" when it is not. The West is not bringing democracy. It is bringing economic slavery.
Jack Perry is an arrowmaker and writer who lives in the Four Corners area of the Southwestern United States. He has been a truck driver, a purchasing agent at a now-defunct renewable energy company (don't even ask him about the "Green energy" scam), and served in the 101st Airborne Division. He spends his time practicing traditional archery, making arrows in the wilds of the Arizona high desert, and finding himself only mildly amused by the antics of the Great Father in Washington.