In America, there is an emerging, less than official, doctrine that places Muslims under the same spotlight where millions of Africans, Aboriginal Americans, Mexicans, and various other ethnic groups that have suffered a campaign of sustained and brutal racism. Victims have been attacked within the culture and the attacks have been not only accepted by the state, but in many cases the state has taken the initiative. That is what has been happening to Muslims since the collapse of the Soviet Union. State (official) antipathy against Muslims is growing and becoming more dangerous.
In this endeavour, Canada, the UK, and many European nations are working in concert with the United States.
With the exception of the enemy du jour, this is not new. The state has taken the initiative to single out and attack a particular ethnic group and have been doing so since the first colonies rooted in New England. Individuals that happen to be born into the group that the state deems a lower caste will be harassed, bullied, enslaved, beaten, raped, tortured and murdered. Once the state unleashes its many racist hounds, it only needs to play a supporting role. Lumpen-racists are happy to carry out the dirty work. History shows many willing accomplices have been found within the domestic, European population. They don't only support the state's nefarious view of the threatening or inferior population but have often taken their own initiatives as they have with Emmitt Till, Trayvon Martin, and countless others.
Understanding the Threat to America
According to Al Jazeera,Army Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley had been teaching a course at a military base in Norfolk, Virginia, entitled "Understanding the Threat to America" where he states that Geneva Conventions no longer apply when fighting Muslims. The course comes dangerously close to counselling genocide when it calls for teaching soldiers to engage in "total war" on Islam and to take the war on Islam to the civilian population "wherever necessary".
Rampant anti Muslim feelings through the American military are acknowledged by Morris Davis, a retired Air Force Colonel and past chief Prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay. Davis acknowledges that this is just the tip of the iceberg, that anti-Muslim feelings are widespread throughout the military. Davis states in an interview with Josh Rushing (Al Jazeera) that a significant number of people in the U.S. military have an attitude that says, 'the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim'. He describes Dooley as "the tip of the iceberg". Ibraham Hooper, National Communications Director for CAIR (Muslim Civil Liberties Advocacy Organisation), echoed Davis view. CAIR itself was named as one of many Muslim organizations that have connections to HAMAS. Hamas has already been established as a terrorist organization and a threat to Israel and America by commentators through Western mainstream media. Hooper goes on to say that this type of anti-Muslim teaching is widespread throughout military and security organizations in the United States such as the CIA, the FBI, and DHS.
While this may be dismissed as military psychological indoctrination in a similar way that marines learned that Vietnamese 'gooks' were not human, the widespread attack on Muslims is far more sustained and pernicious. While this attack is not 'just like' the European demonizing of the 'menacing Jew' of 1930s, there is an undercurrent, a subtext, of shared similarities. Muslims are fast becoming the lowest caste on the Western rung. They are also being attacked along the same lines as alleged communists did under the suspicious gaze of Senator Joe McCarthy.
Participants in the course have been taught that the "historical precendents
Dooley also taught that Hamas has infiltrated the US government at the highest levels. The course material simply lies in order to make its main point; that many disparate Islamic groups are in cahoots with each other and their aim is to infiltrate the US government, to take over.
Although the official position of the Pentagon does not support this and no official anywhere within the American, Canadian, British or any government would openly agree, widespread antipathy toward Muslims throughout military and law enforcement organizations appears to be encouraged. There is no significant movement to see it as a problem or to eradicate it. On the other hand it is denied, minimized, or, Muslims are blamed for it.
Dooley has been suspended for this hate fueled presentation which implies the promotion of genocide. He still teaches at the military college however. The important point is that he isn't alone, he is one of many - too many in fact. His teaching material includes quotations from a variety of right wing media outlets and authors.
The state will deny or minimize their own racism and deny that Dooley's course reflects the official position of the state. Not many political leaders express the same overt messianic fervour. What politicians will say in public rarely lines up with what they really believe. To see what they think, we must look at their actions. Obama is far too polished to say anything that would make his PR handlers cringe. His actions however, give him away. He ignores the ongoing abuses of Palestinians, especially in Gaza. He has protected torturers, increased spying against Muslims, intensified and expanded the war against the Afghani people, dramatically increased the frequency and scope of drone murders in many Mid East locales, and he has given himself the power to kill, in a first degree murder kind of way, Muslims. He will not close Guantanamo. He is further curtailing free speech rights for Muslims and he is expanding wiretaps against them. He has justified a war against Libya citing human rights abuses and at the same time protects the brutal dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain. Behind the scenes, we can be sure him and Hillary Clinton are ensuring Egypt's return to the status of tame lapdog.
He is also threatening Iran with war and, like most attacks against Muslims, facts don't get in the way of a good story line (lie). Against all credible evidence available, he is pushing ahead against this Islamic nation as Bush has done against Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama continues to militarize his nation through speech, symbolism, and deed. He will not admit to being a war hawk but he is. He will not admit his hostility toward Muslims but it is obvious.
Separate Justice System for Muslims
In an article for the New York Times, Andrew Rosenthal suggests that the current justice system in the United States makes little distinction between Muslims and terrorists. There are, " Special detention centers for Muslims (Guantanamo Bay and the network of secret C.I.A. lockups, now said to be closed, where prisoners were almost routinely tortured); special trial procedures for Muslim prisoners (military tribunals); special allowances for agents dealing with Muslim suspects (extraordinary rendition, i.e. officially sanctioned kidnapping of foreigners)."
This, against a backdrop where Muslims are searched, followed, spied upon, and generally harassed by the state as well as citizens suggests an overarching system of widespread human rights abuses. The New York Police Department is becoming well known for its anti-Muslim witch hunts as are many other 'departments'.
Rosenthal points out in his article that the F.B.I., in response to an expose (by Wired magazine) of offensive and blatant anti-Muslim training materials which have been described by Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois as “crude stereotypes of American Muslims and Arab Americans”, will not respond in any meaningful way. As the author states: "When confronted with abuses and misbehavior in the so-called “war on terror,” government agencies start with denial, follow up with a grudging admission of missteps and then refuse to hold anyone accountable."
This is the situation in the United States of America and in the UK/Europe the situation may be worse. Perhaps the most vocal and blatant politician (notwithstanding far right fascists) against Islam has been Tony Blair who seems to have no limits to his capacity in describing Islam and Muslims as a threat to Western civilization. Whether Mr. Blair intended it or not, he has energized extreme right wing nationalism in the UK. He has made it clear that Muslims are suspect. Today in the UK Muslims are under attack from lumpen-racists, media, and politicians.
The Rise of European Fascism
Western media have been pushing the Islamic threat and it is they, perhaps more than anything or anybody else, that have pushed Muslims in a very dangerous corner. As economic conditions deteriorate, the danger increases. Attacks on immigrants in general are easily encouraged in a climate of economic uncertainty and insecurity. It is this type of environment where nationalism and fascist sentiments thrive.
In the 1930s, in Europe, when economic instability compelled the press and politicians to urge citizens seek out lateral enemies (Jews, Gypsies, African Europeans) to distract citizens from horizontal enemies (the ultra wealthy), extreme and violent anti-Jewish, anti-African, anti-immigrant and anti-anything that 'isn't us' reactions followed culminating in the slaughter of millions of innocent people. Signs of a re-emergent fascism are on the rise throughout Europe as it had in the 30s. This time it will not be Jews but Muslims that pay the price.
In this backdrop, established, irresponsible, and hysterical political voices like that of Tony Blair make statements like “...there is the most enormous threat from the combination of this radical extreme movement and the fact that, if they could, they would use nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. You can’t take a risk with that happening.” Anders Breivik was listening and he acted. He was also listening to mainstream media, right wing alarmists, and various rightist and 'moderate' politicians spewing hatred against a religion of over one billion people. It is only a matter of time before deranged psychopaths pick up their cues from these 'legitimate' sources and run with it. And Breivik ran with it. He murdered, not Muslims, but what he perceived as leftists/Marxists for being soft on Muslims and immigration. He has declared that there is a conspiracy by Muslims aimed at taking control of Europe.
The very same political movement that killed Jews (because they were Jews and no other reason) in the 1930s, namely far right fascists, are now flirting with right wing Zionists and Zionists are flirting back. In a bizarre twist of political reality, they stand together against a common enemy. Tom Heneghan, writing for Reuters states: "Geert Wilders, whose populist far-right party supports the Dutch minority government, told Reuters last week (December 2010) he was organizing an "international freedom alliance" to link grass-roots groups active in "the fight against Islam.
Earlier this month, Wilders visited Israel and backed its West Bank settlements, saying Palestinians there should move to Jordan. Like-minded German, Austrian, Belgian, Swedish and other far-rightists were on their own Israel tour at the same time.
"Our culture is based on Christianity, Judaism and humanism and (the Israelis) are fighting our fight," Wilders told Reuters in Amsterdam last week. "If Jerusalem falls, Amsterdam and New York will be next."
Heneghan makes the point that extreme attitudes against Muslims are creeping into mainstream political normalcy. He observes, "Campaigns aimed at Muslims have been gaining ground in Europe, most notably with the Swiss minaret ban last year and France's law this year against full facial veils in public, which Wilders said the Netherlands should copy next year.
Support for these steps has spread beyond anti-immigrant parties and toward the political center as globalization and the aging of Europe's population fuel voters' concerns about national sovereignty, according to a leading French analyst.
Political scientist Dominique Reynie said the financial crisis had prompted more voters to agree with the far right that their political elites were incompetent."
The right wing alliance with Zionists will provide them with legitimacy and support from quarters they would never gain trust with otherwise; namely Jews, the very same people they slaughtered two generations ago.
Far right zealots are in the margins in every corner of Europe from Russia to the UK. And as they stand in the margins and listen to the likes of the former Prime Minister, as they watch the murderous zeal of Barack Obama, and they listen to and watch mainstream news organizations demonize Islam, they are empowered and encouraged.
When established individuals and organizations are silently in cahoots with the extreme right; when they agree in hushed tones to fight Islam and to harm Muslim people, we all need to take notice. That is the first step and although it may seem insurmountable, it isn't. From there we need to stand shoulder to shoulder with people that are potential victims of cowardice and hatred. We need to stand up and defend them.
We need to imagine that we managed to travel back in time; we are standing in Europe in the 1930s. We know what's about to happen. We need to find a way to stop it before it gets out of control. We need to do it because it is possible, maybe even probable, that this is more than a metaphor.