Hatred of All Muslims: A Fringe Republican Platform Plank, On the Air in Buffalo

27 Jul

Yesterday, a rabid Islamophobe appeared on a local Islamophobe’s radio show. We all know this guy – his name in German means, perhaps appropriately enough, “little peasant”. He enjoys his cats and gardening. He hates Obama, thinks all liberals are insane, thinks that the government ought to be overthrown, and hates nothing more than the second-largest religion in the world. His guest yesterday is just as stupid.

He hates that religion and its adherents because a very small minority of people who practice it are terrorists and seek to murder Westerners, especially Jews in the West and also in Israel. He also enjoys pointing out that liberals who stand up for things that he considers to be quaint anachronisms – things like “freedom” and the “Constitution” – don’t criticize some of the Islamic customs and laws that subjugate women. The little peasant, however, ignores that Sharia law is not applicable to non-Muslims, and cannot be imposed upon them, either, unless one lives in an Islamic theocracy. Luckily, we live in a secular democratic republic – not a theocracy. So no religion’s laws can involuntarily control anyone’s life.

The little peasant and his guest went on and on about how the proposed Cordoba House community center/mosque set to be built two blocks from Ground Zero – a project that is overwhelmingly supported by the Mayor of New York City and the surrounding residents – is a criminal “triumphal” mosque and and affront to decency, democracy, etc. Their point of view is supported and echoed by the two Republican candidates for Governor of the State of New York, who are tripping over each other to see who can use stronger language to heap scorn and hatred upon not just that project, but Islam generally.

The “mosque” nontroversy is emblematic of a recent rise in Islamophobia. Thanks to 9/11, it is socially acceptable in certain circle to say things about Muslims that are not dissimilar to the race-baiting lies spread during 1930s Germany about Jews. There are a billion and a half Muslims on this planet, and a miniscule number of them advocate for any kind of holy war against Christians, Jews, or the West.

We can easily demonize the governments of places like Iran, but anyone who recalls last year’s green revolution also recalls the overwhelming desire that the participants in that revolution had for a normal life in a normal country. Because that’s what most people want – a normal life in a normal place.

Why is it that this rise in Islamophobia has occurred, and become more vocal and prevalent in recent weeks or months? TPM’s Josh Marshall originally wrote that it might be war fatigue, but I don’t buy that.

Instead, I agree what a TPM reader wrote here – that George W. Bush was very careful not to demonize all of Islam in the wake of 9/11 and during the Iraq war. The war was against al Qaeda and Islamic terrorism. Against Saddam Hussein and the insurgency. He always was responsible enough to maintain that Islam as a religion, as a culture, was not our enemy and would not be made to be.

Now that George W. Bush is gone from office, gone from politics, the radical hate wing of the Republican Party is free to spew the most vicious anti-Muslim lies it wants with impunity. Anyone who dares oppose these shriekers is labeled an apologist for terrorism and misogyny.

The weak, feckless excuse for “leadership” in the Republican Party / Tea Party has enabled the vicious Muslim-baiters to spew whatever reckless hatred they want, and there’s no one to stop them. The little peasant – who doesn’t understand the irony inherent in criticizing the “mainstream media” on the most-listened-to talk radio show on the biggest AM station in the Buffalo-Niagara region – is at the forefront of the local effort to paint all Muslims as al Qaeda sleeper agents, machetes at the ready to kill your family, and burqa on hand to cover your women.

Yesterday’s cavalcade of hate spewed on the little peasant’s show was not just factually ignorant, but ultimately irresponsible. In a normal world, the community would come to the defense of the overwhelmingly normal, law-abiding Muslim community living and working among us in Western New York. In this world, we get Cheektowaga septuagenarians calling in to see if they can out-hate the octogenarian Muslim hater who just called in from Tonawanda.

25 Responses to “Hatred of All Muslims: A Fringe Republican Platform Plank, On the Air in Buffalo”

  1. Eric Saldanha July 27, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    If crazy was gold, Pamela “Atlas Shrugs” Geller would own Glenn Beck’s Loony Hour on Fox.

    It is comforting to see that CNN and MSNBC (and WBEN) feel comfortable enough to put this racist lunatic on the air for her charming contributions to serious comment and debate. That is, when she’s not telling Ron Reagan Jr. that he never knew his father.

  2. al l July 27, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    “Luckily, we live in a secular democratic republic – not a theocracy. So no religion’s laws can involuntarily control anyone’s life.”

    at least mostly. see: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/98/10/1774?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&author1=Freedman&fulltext=miscarriage+management&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&volume=98&resourcetype=HWCIT

  3. Brian Castner July 27, 2010 at 11:10 am #

    While I agree with your overall point, esp. concerning GWB, I think there are some “facts” you toss around that are important to dispute.

    1) The mayor of NYC does support the Islamic YMCA, but not the rest of NYC. Lates poll I heard (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128544392) showed that 52% of New Yorkers oppose the center, and in Manhattan, 46% approve and 36% disapprove. I would not call either number overwhelming. And would you call 36% of Manhattanites “radical haters?”

    2) Far more importantly, it is a complete and utter fallacy that the views of AQ represent a tiny tiny fraction of the worldwide Muslim population. While a tiny fraction may have attacked NYC, and a larger fraction attack US troops in Iraq/Afghanistan (for a number of reasons, jihad only being one), the general sentiment is unfortunately widespread. Recent studies (http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/feb09/STARTII_Feb09_rpt.pdf) find that 81% of Egyptians, 76% of Pakistani’s and 49% of Indonesians favor a strict fundamentalist application of Sharia law in their countries. The summary of that report concludes worldwide Muslims share the goals of AQ, though not the methods. 25% of American Muslims under 30 believe suicide attacks are justified under some circumstances (http://spme.net/cgi-bin/articles.cgi?ID=5264). The recent demonstrations in Iraq caused headlines, but as we talked about at the time, they represented a small upper class portion of the population, and outside observers indicated Ahmadinejad would probably have received over 50% of the vote even if he didn’t rig the election. In this country our diversity is our strength, but it is naive to assume such pluralistic thinking pervades Muslim thought around the world. Does this mean we should race/religion-bait, and spread Islamaphobia? Of course not. But pull the progressive veil from your eyes and call a spade a spade. The government shouldn’t stop the Islamic YMCA, but not because Muslims worldwide don’t hold many of the same views of AQ . . . but because they do.

    • Brian Castner July 27, 2010 at 11:16 am #

      I meant the demonstrations in Iran of course, not Iraq.

    • Rob July 27, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

      For clarity: the “goals of Al Qaeda” supported by a majority of Muslims in the surveyed countries are such things as “Get US to withdraw forces from Islamic countries”, “Get US to Stop Favoring Israel”, “Get US to Stop Supporting Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan” (I agree with those too!), as well as “Apply Strict Shari’a Law in Every Islamic Country”, “Unify all Islamic countries into a single Islamic state or Caliphate”, etc. There is very little support among the surveyed Muslims for attacks on civilians – much less than the support typically exhibited in US polls for bombing Iran, for example.

  4. mike July 27, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    Write the FCC and complain. The airwaves belong to the people and it is a privilege for WBEN to use our airwaves for the public benefit.

    This kind of language is divisive and serves no public interest.

    Take their license away.

    • Carl July 27, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

      Hate to throw cold water on everyone..but penny to a pound that all the writing you do in protest will not accomplish a DAMNED thing. Count yourself lucky if you get a form letter.

      The only acceptable thing to do is start spreading the word to people you know: Shun WBEN during 9am-noon(if not the whole day).

      • Carl July 27, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

        And…while we’re at it…

        don’t do business with his show’s advertisers. Politely, but firmly, tell them why…and that you’ll be taking you business elsewhere. Money talks and you know what walks, gang…

  5. Christopher Smith July 27, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    Here’s the website for the community center project in which the Cordoba Initiative will be housed: http://www.park51.org/vision.htm

    Also, from this story:

    According to current population estimates on the New York City Department of City Planning Website, the 2009 Census Bureau estimates there are approximately 1.6 million people living in Manhattan, and a 2004 study published in Columbia News said, “an estimated 600,000 Muslims now represent one of the fastest growing religious communities in New York City.”

    An article published in The National earlier this year estimates there are about 100,000 children in the New York public school system, leading some to believe, based on population estimates, that New York City could very well be the largest Muslim city in the Western Hemisphere. This growing population needs to be serviced and accommodated, but the reality is that there is no place large enough for this diverse group of people to congregate that is not a theological-only institution. Park 51 would be the first of its kind to service both the Muslim and non-Muslim community at large, and the nickname “Mega Mosque” is a been-there-done-that scare tactic aimed at instilling fear in the hearts of Americans.

  6. Hank July 27, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

    Look at the problems that Europe is having with their Muslim immigrants. 600K Muslims in Manhattan? At that rate of growth, they could soon be a majority religion on the island, and they could then go and demand Sharia Law for Manhattan, no? That’s what they’re trying to do in France and the UK. Power in numbers dontchaknow. They should have stopped Hitler in Munich in 38. Appeasing him resulted in nearly 80 million deaths in WW2. The time to stop this crap in our country is now. We have a secular democratic republic—FOR NOW. A tolerant attitude only gives people who want to take over the opportunity.

    • Slothrop July 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

      Your post must be in jest. Sharia Law in Manhattan. Seriously?

    • Jon Splett July 27, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

      Seeing how you’re all about this secular democracy, I assume you’d support taking ‘under god’ out of the pledge, ‘in god we trust’ off the money and the tax exception for religious organizations removed too, right?

      • Carl July 27, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

        Jon: Believe it or not, Theodore Roosevelt tried to get that phrase off our coins…he felt that they were not only unconstitutional, but sacrireligious. (And he was a devout Christian!)

    • Becky July 27, 2010 at 7:40 pm #

      Believe it or not, the Hitler comparison crossed my mind earlier today. Countries/leaders back then were reluctant to draw Hitler’s negative attention towards their neck of the woods so they just looked the other way and hoped he wouldn’t notice them. We all know how that turned out.

  7. Hapklein July 27, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    Who knows – New Yorkers clings to their roots and synthesize new arrivals into the pot.
    Perhaps we might see Yiddish Sharia Law emerge? 

  8. Starbuck July 27, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

    I recall making that same point about GWB a few years ago (don’t remember to who) and getting a lot of argument and denial in response from GWB haters. Apparently at this point nobody argues – good to see.

    Regarding that 930 host, I wonder what’s the premise of ‘enabled’ and ‘stop’ in this sentence.

    The weak, feckless excuse for “leadership” in the Republican Party / Tea Party has enabled the vicious Muslim-baiters to spew whatever reckless hatred they want, and there’s no one to stop them.

    How would any party leadership stop that host or his guest or callers from saying anything? I’ve heard him say he isn’t even a Republican. I could be mistaken because I don’t listen regularly, but I think I’ve also heard him say he didn’t support Bush or McCain.

    Even if the host, guest, and callers were Republicans, since when does party leadership stop party members from saying what they want? Isn’t that just as much b.s. as saying party leaders of Democrats enabled what Oliver Stone recently said about Hitler and didn’t stop him? Private citizens will say what they want to say.

    • Alan Bedenko July 27, 2010 at 7:35 pm #

      The point is that the right-wing establishment doesn’t care any more if islamophobia becomes prevalent, because it can be used to co-opt the tea party fringe and, they hope, thereby lead to electoral success.

      Michael Steele’s silence and the silence of other prominent Republicans is tacit approval of the ignorant ramblings of the Alaskan imbecile, Glenn Beck, and their wannabes.

    • Starbuck July 28, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

      Michael Steele’s silence and the silence of other prominent Republicans is tacit approval of the ignorant ramblings of the Alaskan imbecile, Glenn Beck, and their wannabes.

      Are you saying if the RNC chair doesn’t call out cable host Beck and local radio hosts, that means the RNC tacitly approves all they say?

      How often does the DNC criticize hateful speech said by anybody on the left?

      The DNC press release web page has no criticism of Oliver Stone’s recent pro-Hitler comments or Shirley Sherod’s husband’s race-hostile speech. Also no criticism of well-known Jouro-listers for wishing deaths on Limbaugh and Drudge, or of J-listers who suggested smearing random Republicans as racist, and no criticism of evidence-free claims from Dem politicians that teabaggers shouted racial insults at black members of Congress.

      Does the DNC’s “silence” mean they tacitly approve all that?

      • Alan Bedenko July 29, 2010 at 6:21 am #

        Shirley Sherod’s [sic] and the members of Journolist aren’t running for Governor of the State of New York. Neither is Oliver Stone. hth.

  9. Becky July 27, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    Among the head rabble-rousers how much is genuine hate as opposed to playing a high stakes game stoking the fears of people in hopes of “winning” political prizes?

  10. Mike in WNY July 28, 2010 at 12:04 am #

    I agree that the Islamophobia is horrible.  Trying to paint the Tea Party and the Republican party with that brush is just cheap political trash talk.  There are fringe elements to the left and right, they do not define the majority.

    A far greater threat is people like mike (above) who advocate taking WBEN’s license away. Unfortunately, liberals (not all) frequently call for censorship and the abolishment of 1st Amendment rights when their views are challenged. 

    • Carl July 28, 2010 at 4:21 pm #

      MikeWNY: Agreed, but it’s usually the crazies on either side who get the ink and airtime, and the MSM just laps it up. And, I’m not in favor of what the other Mike is suggesting…a good shunning will suffice for me, as well as tracking what he says and putting it out in the open. Someone once said “sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

    • Ray July 28, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

      Ah yes Mike, the ultimate purpose of government for the authoritarian collectivists is to reward their friends and punish their enemies,and for their enemies the first thing they ask is to crush free speech.

  11. Jim H July 28, 2010 at 10:07 am #

    I’m sure the little peasant appreciates the Clarence Pundit listening to his radio show.

  12. Tyrone August 10, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    Sarah Palin is a pure idiot and a quitter! But she knows like many white Republicans that many white voters HEAR IT! BELIEVE IT! and REPEAT IT! They will drink the koolaid! And don’t investigate past the information that racist and or stupid people feed them! The shameful result is white Republican have given the country. Richard Nixon ( a crook) resign in disgrace….Ronald Reagan suffer from Alzheimer and was a do nothing President that just wave and grin! Bush (1)..(a liar) no new taxes then raise taxes! Then the worst Republican President and the worst President of all times. President G.W. Bush! This idiot started a war in Iraq for NOTHING after finding out there where no WOMD ( Weapon of Mass Destruction)! Causing American troop death of over 4,300 plus for NOTHING! Then he started another war and didn’t pay for it (Afghan War)! The idiot took a surplus and turn it into debt! He also made so many country hate American under Bush 9/11 happen because his administration took their eyes off security! The Bush tax cuts for the rich did NOTHING for the country but bring the country DOWN! President Obama needs to vote that mess away! Unemployment TODAY is a direct result of Republican control and the dumbest President in America’s history! G.W. Bush and D. Cheney are the worst thing to happen to America. Sarah Palin would be worst! This is a proven idiot just like BUSH/CHENEY!! Republicans today are the party of the rich and the un American! Republican are voting NO NO NO against America recovery and President Obama! They could careless about Americans or America they care about power and the rich! Sarah Palin has the nerve to criticizing President Obama when she quit her job and fail to make it to the White House THANK GOD!

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