On Islamophobia and Blackphobia

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On my way to school yesterday, I stopped to get gas for my car, at the gas station I usually patronize. I’m friends with the manager, and we often chat a bit. He has helped me out on a number of occasions — putting air in my tires, helping me figure out why a particular warning light has come on, and we talk about a variety of topics. Yesterday he was angry, and also fearful. He’s a Muslim American citizen, originally from Yemen. He votes. He won’t be voting for Donald Trump or any of the Republican candidates. I flashed back to what happened up here where I live after 9/11. My husband and I were worried about the safety of Muslim neighbors. I worried about my cousins in New Jersey, who are black American Muslims. I’m worrying about them now. I feel pain for friends with whom I have attended Masjid. Some are black Americans, some are from places like Mali, Somalia and Eritrea.

I sit here and think about one of the most beloved people world wide — Muhammad Ali. I have been following the career of our young black American Muslim fencing star, Ibtihaj Muhammad, who “Hopes to make history in 2016 as the first U.S. athlete to compete at the Olympic Games in a hijab.”

I’ve talked about her before, in En Garde! Fencing and black fencing masters
where I posted this video:

I don’t have anything else to say today — other than we have to organize, push-back against the hate, and VOTE.

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9 Comments

  1. As the hate gets ramped up – like what just happened in Minneapolis, my prayers are for all people of goodwill to stand up to this outpouring of bile,

    I need to stay out of reading comments post to the news articles – they are making me more and more nauseous.

  2. I have been reading some of the worried stories by Muslims, many of whom have been in America for generations. The only thing we can do is replace the bigots in government with people who respect all religions, races, and ethnicities. We can’t change what is in people’s hearts but we must ensure that bigotry is never enshrined in our laws.

    This is such an ugly time … so much hate. :(

  3. WaPo had a good article

    Attacks on American Muslims are growing uglier by the day. It must stop.

    If you don’t think Muslims are under attack, take a look at what went down in the town of Fredericksburg last week.

    The Islamic Center of Fredericksburg — a little brick building that looks like a bank branch office and has been around for 27 years — was skewered at a community meeting by a handful of seething people who see the center’s expansion plans as a threat to the very fabric of America.

    “Nobody, nobody, nobody wants your evil cult in this county,” a man said in a video of the Tuesday meeting posted online by the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. “I will do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen, because you are terrorists.”

    • Muslims are under attack from all quarters:

      Dearborn, a city of 95,000 people, has the highest concentrations of Arab Americans and Muslim Americans in the United States, making the community here a target for anti-Muslim sentiment. While the city resembles an American suburb like any other, fear is on the rise here over potential reprisal attacks from extremist groups, both domestic and foreign.

      “We’re on a double edge sword here,” Osama Siblani, founder of the Arab American News, told ThinkProgress from his office in Dearborn. “[There is] fear from everything: government agencies, white supremacists, and ISIS. I mean, we’re screwed.”

      Indeed. The sad thing is that it does not have to be the government agencies! They should be protecting these people from the white supremacists and Daesh and domestic terrorists, not piling on. Gov. Snyder in Michigan is particularly despicable.

      Here’s more from Dearborn:

      “There is a general fear in our community that has increased. We are victimized twice,” [Kassim Allie, the Islamic Center of America mosque’s executive administrator] told ThinkProgress from his office inside the mosque. “We are victimized as Americans and freedom-loving people and we are victims as Muslims and Arabs. Now you can’t mourn as an American, you have to justify. You have to retake your oath of citizenship. You have to dig up your ancestry. Some of my ancestors came here in the late 1800s. We are part of this great country. That’s what hurts.” […]

      The most recent backlash came shortly after the Paris attacks on Nov. 13 when a tweet from Michigan woman and Navy veteran Sarah Beebe went viral. “Dearborn, MI, has the highest Muslim population in the United Sates [sic]. Let’s fuck that place up and send a message to ISIS. We’re coming,” she wrote. Police investigated and Beebe later apologized, but for many the threat only intensified locals’ fear of becoming a target for hate crimes.

      Apologized!!! There, fixed. :(

      • The No-pology syndrome is pervasive. Any hideous statement is instantly wiped away when applied
        Grrrrrrrrrr

  4. The ACLU is filing a lawsuit against Gov. Hater in Indiana (is there any group besides white christian males that he likes???) for discriminating against the Syrian families who he refused to settle at the last minute.

    But really, there is no downside to Islamophobia … it is very popular and in America we have long traditions of populist demagoguery. Fear seems to shrink people’s brains so that they are small enough to fit in Donald Trump’s pocket.

  5. In the 1950s, it was fear of Communists, wasn’t it? Communists, atheists, and homosexuals. I blame a lot of this on the Crusader mentality of fundamentalist Christian churches and on Fox News.

    Jan and Denise, you’re right. We have to vote for people who are rational and possessed of a social conscience and against hate-filled nutcases. More than ever it’s time to concentrate on races downticket, unglamorous as they may be. Without Democratic senators, congresspeople, governors, state legislators, and even town dogcatchers, a Democratic president will have a hard time making progress.

    • I remember kids in school in the fifties singing “Oh say can you see….any Red bugs on me…”

      They were referring to commies :(

  6. WASP Americans in general have always had that “kill the other” streak – I once paraphrased a chunk of the Old Testament as saying, “This is your land. I your God give it to you my chosen people. Just kill everybody already in it and it’s yours.” It’s sort of the rock and foundation for the Xtian “kill the other” attitude all over the world. When I see people attacking another for their religion, I can almost understand the atheist point of view. (Almost, as I also know many “people of faith” who support other people’s right to the faith of their choice.)

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