Islamophobia & Civil Freedoms

  • American Muslim family’s home attacked in the middle of the night

    Source: Think Progress. The home of a Muslim family in North Carolina was hit with a hail of gunfire early Tuesday morning, injuring one occupant and raising questions about the motive of the shooters. According to the Charlotte Observer, the attack took place in eastern Mecklenburg County, just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. The attack comes just over a month after the fatal shooting of three Muslim-American students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The exact motive of that shooting also remains unclear, although the assailant was an avowed anti-theist, someone who opposes religion in general. His affiliation was cited by a father of two of the victims and other Muslim Americans who called for the shooting to be investigated as a hate crime.

  • 2015 has been an ugly year for the treatment of Muslims in Texas

    Source: Texas Monthly. So far, 2015 has to be a scary year to be a Muslim Texan. That fact seems to have come to a head following the shooting of Ahmed Al-Jumaili, who was killed on Thursday in Dallas as he watched the three and a half inches of snow—the first snowfall the Iraqi immigrant had ever seen—fall on his apartment complex. The story failed to garner much major national attention over the weekend, until a post from Vox attempted to shame the Internet into caring. That post recalled a shooting last month in North Carolina, when three Muslims were killed in their apartment complex by a neighbor who shot them in the head, in a story that similarly flew under the radar until an increase in media attention raised a debate about how to determine if a triple murder is a “hate crime” or just a dispute over parking.

  • What is “Islamic”? A Muslim response to ISIS and The Atlantic

    Source: Muslim Matters. Graeme Wood’s “What ISIS Really Wants,” published in the March 2015 edition of The Atlantic, has quickly become the most widely read article on the militant group. Indeed, it is becoming the most read article ever published by The Atlantic. Popular as it is, Wood’s essay is deeply flawed and alarmingly tone-deaf – dangerously so. . . . By characterizing ISIS as Islamic, Wood and Haykel in effect, if not intent, attribute cruel beheadings, wanton massacre, and all other manner of savagery to Islam. . . .Of course, their attributions are factually incorrect and conceptually confused as we will discuss below. But their mistakes are especially egregious given the current climate of anti-Muslim bigotry. In light of the recent hate crimes directed towards the American and European Muslim communities, Wood’s piece is tantamount to shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theatre and, therefore, deserves a thorough rebuttal, if nothing else.

  • Islamic leader says US officials unfairly target Muslims

    Source: The Boston Globe. A top leader of Boston’s Muslim community on Wednesday strenuously objected to a new Justice Department strategy to prevent disaffected youth from taking up terrorism, complaining that the effort is “exclusively targeting the American Muslim community.” In a strongly worded protest to a report that US Attorney Carmen Ortiz delivered to a White House summit on Wednesday, Yusufi Vali said he could not support the framework because the programs “are founded on the premise that your faith determines your propensity towards violence.” Last fall, Boston was chosen along with Los Angeles and Minneapolis to spearhead a Justice Department effort known as “Countering Violent Extremism.” Vali has been one of the local participants, and the Boston experience was the subject of a 28-page report released at the White House summit. “It clearly appears that the CVE initiative is exclusively targeting the American-Muslim community, in spite of the best efforts of the local US attorney to redefine it expansively,” Vali wrote, using the acronym for the administration effort.

  • It’s hard to prove any hate crime. But for Muslim victims, it’s especially tough.

    Source: The Washington Post. On Monday, a grand jury indicted Craig Hicks — accused of fatally shooting his Muslim neighbors in their Chapel Hill, N.C., home — on three charges of first-degree murder. The indictment made no mention of a hate crime. One of the victims, 21-year-old Yusor Abu-Salha, had previously told her father that Hicks made her uncomfortable, saying “he hates us for who we are and how we look.” But police have suggested that this gruesome attack simply stemmed from a parking spot dispute. Emphasis on this “motive” shows how difficult it can be for American Muslims to get justice when targeted for their faith.

  • Report: Domestic terrorists attack every 34 days

    Source: The Daily Beast. Islamist-driven terrorist attacks dominate the headlines today, but more Americans are killed by domestic non-Islamist terror, an uncomfortable reality that is documented in the SPLC’s “Age of the Wolf: A Study of the Rise of Lone Wolf and Leaderless Resistance Terrorism.” The report covers 2009 to 2015, the period Obama has been in office, and finds that a terrorist incident took place or was disrupted every 34 days.

  • FBI launches new investigation into Chapel Hill killings; thousands mourn in Raleigh

    Source: News Observer. As thousands of mourners prayed for the three Muslim-American students killed in Chapel Hill this week, the FBI opened its own investigation into the case Thursday. In a brief news release late in the day, the FBI said it had launched “a parallel preliminary inquiry to determine whether or not any federal laws were violated related to the case.” The FBI had previously been called in to assist the Chapel Hill police in processing evidence from the crime scene; the new inquiry could broaden the case’s jurisdiction and potentially bolster the charges against the suspect.

  • Fear, Inc. 2.0. The Islamophobia network’s efforts to manufacture hate in America

    Source: Center for American Progress. In 2011, the Center for American Progress published “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” in order to identify and expose the organizations, scholars, pundits, and activists comprising a tightly linked network that spread misinformation and hateful propaganda about American Muslims and Islam. TheIn the three years since “Fear, Inc.” shined a light on the Islamophobia network and exposed the network’s key members, a number of them have been marginalized by the mainstream media and politicians.The first “Fear, Inc.” report sought to expose elements of the Islamophobia network by giving the mainstream public the information it needed to refute the claims and distortions made by the network’s misinformation experts. This report identifies the Islamophobia network’s ongoing efforts to promote policies that violate and contradict core American values and interests. The defense of these core values remains ongoing. As this report demonstrates, it only takes one individual with disproportionate influence to negatively affect the treatment of an entire group of American citizens.

  • Using Islamophobia to win elections doesn’t work

    Source: Think Progress. During the 2010 midterm elections, Republican Tea Party gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino achieved moderate fame for being one of a several candidates to make Islamophobia a central component of his campaign — specifically, opposition to the construction of a “Park51” Islamic community center in the area surrounding the fallen World Trade Center in New York City. But Paladino never got the chance to use such powers, because he was soundly defeated by Democrat Andrew Cuomo that year, who walked away with 63 percent of the vote. A number of factors contributed to his loss, but a new Center for American Progress report entitled “Fear, Inc. 2.0: The Islamophobia Network’s Efforts to Manufacture Hate in America,” argues that Paladino’s emphasis on Islamophobic rhetoric may have hurt his chances, noting “only two of the 17 political campaigns where Park51 was made a central issue proved successful in 2010.” These losses signify Islamophobia’s waning political impact as a method for achieving victory at the ballot box, according to CAP’s findings.

  • American Sniper and the Muslim ‘savage’

    Source: Huffington Post. I know, I know. It’s just a movie. But that’s why I take it so seriously. Movies have the power to shape and frankly distort the way we view the world, particularly those elements of the world that fall beyond our everyday experience. Keep in mind that the only Muslims many non-Muslim Americans “know” are the ones they see on a movie screen. When you add Eastwood’s film to the hundreds upon hundreds of films that rely on racist, Orientalist stereotypes, from Old Ironsides (1926) to Rules of Engagement (2000) to Zero Dark Thirty (2012), it becomes difficult for many moviegoers to see these characters as fictional caricatures. The Muslim enemy onscreen is simply assumed to be the mirror image of the Muslim enemy off-screen.