Not only is Islamophobia a real problem in America, well-funded, anti-Islam groups in America – a total of 37 in all – are well bankrolled, having been funded with upwards of $119 million between 2008 and 2011, it was announced Thursday.
At a press conference at their northwest-side office, Adam Soltani, the executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), it was clear in the information collected from these non-profits that anti-Islam prejudice is not short of cash to spread their message of hate and fear.
“That’s an incredible amount of funding,” Soltani told the media.
And with that funding, as noted in CAIR’s in-depth new report – “Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States” – the Islamophobia network is tight-knit and quite vocal is their open hostility towards those who practice the Muslim faith.
Soltani, however, explained that since the 9/11 terror attacks, a veritable industry embracing the message of Islamophobia has sprouted and thrived and has even included efforts here in Oklahoma with State Rep. Sally Kern’s recent anti-Sharia bill and visits to area churches by vocal anti-Muslim voices including Frank Gaffney and Brigitte Gabriel.
“There’s no reason to create fear and hysteria around a whole religion and group of people for really no reason,” Soltani said.
Soltani reflected how there have been attacks and vandalism to mosques in Oklahoma as well due to
“These attacks are not reflective of the faith,” Soltani said. “And what Islamophobia does and what Islamophobes do is they try to push the idea that the faith is somehow related to terrorism and terrorist attacks when in fact it’s completely false.”
While the links are often made between Islam and terrorism, critics need to further educate themselves on what is at the root of these issues.
“The religion does not support in any way, or condone, terrorism or acts of terroristic violence,” Soltani said. “However, Islamophobes would like you to believe otherwise.”
For instance, Soltani said that the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya that ended in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, was not due to “uncivilized” Muslims engaging in “violence and terrorism,” rather it had more to do with an online video that would ultimately stoke the ire of outraged Muslims in that Libyan city.
“Those riots and what happened occurred as a result of the YouTube video, that was posted onYouTube, and was very disrespectful towards the Prophet Mohammed. But that’s not mentioned by Islamophobes. They just focus on the resulting violence, you know?”
Fox News is not particularly popular with CAIR and many Muslims due to their insistence to portray Muslims and Islam in a negative light. Soltani noted the recent deadly shooting massacre in Washington, D.C. involving crazed madman and alleged Buddhist convert Aaron Alexis.
“Fox News tried to push forward the idea that the guy was a convert to Islam, but later retracted that statement,” Soltani said. “But why push forward the idea in the first place unless you have an agenda.”
The report notes how the American right-wing – including politicians, think-tanks and political websites – is often behind efforts to get anti-Islam legislation passed at the state level, as happened here in Oklahoma with the Kern bill.
Soltani did acknowledge that while Islamophobia is present in the Sooner State, incidents of anti-Islam prejudice is not as bad as it is in some states such as Florida.
“Islamophobic rhetoric, unfortunately, is in a state of social acceptability, and we hope that that will change over time,” Soltani said.
For more information on this new report from CAIR or about this well-established Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, go to www.ok.cair.com.
Copyright 2013 Red Dirt Report