Say No to Islamophobia!

There has been an explosion of racist attacks, verbal and physical, on masjids (mosques), proposed masjids, and Islamic community centers around the US. In episodes reminiscent of Kristallnacht, the Nazi destruction of Jewish synagogues and businesses, masjids have been picketed and vandalized and obscenities shouted at worshippers.

On September 11th the Tea Party and its allies plan to demonstrate at the site of the proposed Islamic masjid and community center in lower Manhattan. On the same day, Christian fundamentalists plan a “Burn the Quran” day at a Florida masjid.

Like Hitler before them, these bigots whip up hatred against a religious minority in the midst of an economic crisis. They want to divert popular anger away from the banks and corporations who rob millions of their jobs and homes. Hitler did not only target Jews, and the Tea Party bigots do not only target Muslims. They aim to build a fascist movement against all people of color, immigrants, union members, against the civil and human rights of all.. They must be stopped!

The Islamophobes also want to justify the murderous stream of bombs and missiles the Pentagon rains on the people of Islamic lands in wars that feed corporate contractors at the expense of our schools, hospitals, subways and communities. They want to justify continued U.S. funding of Israeli apartheid and a U.S.-Israeli attack on Iran.

The Anti-Defamation League, part of the pro-Israel lobby, has allied publicly with this wave of Islamophobia, whose promoters explicitly advocate violence and even genocide. But even mainstream figures who defend some masjids and some Muslim rights on civil liberties grounds helped create a political and social climate that breeds Islamophobia.

After 9/11 the government and media launched a witch-hunt against Muslims and Arabs, encouraging individual violent attacks. Even before 9/11, demonization was used to justify support for Israel’s wars and U.S. efforts to control Arab and Iranian oil.

Since 9/11, as part of the bipartisan “war on terror,” tens of thousands of Muslim men were fingerprinted, questioned and registered. Hundreds were detained with no regard to their constitutional rights, often abused and tortured, in a campaign of preemptive prosecution mirroring the practices in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and overseas secret detention centers.

Masjids have been subject to FBI and police surveillance, infiltration and intimidation. We are told that Muslims must be presumed guilty of “terrorism” until proven innocent – then denied the chance to prove their innocence. The government and media demand hypocritically that “moderate” Muslims denounce and inform on so-called “extremists.”
The Obama administration claims to support the right of the Cordoba Initiative to build the lower Manhattan masjid/center but fuels Islamophobia with the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and a stepped-up campaign of extra-judicial assassinations.

These attacks occur for one fundamental reason: To intimidate those who would oppose Washington’s wars abroad and growing economic misery at home.

The government demonizes those who oppose its wars and its support for Israeli apartheid and aggression. It seeks to prepare public sentiment for a US and/or Israeli attack on Iran.

Attacks on Muslims and Arabs mirror the labeling of war opponents as “supporters of terrorism” during US wars in Central America and Vietnam, and the persecution is carried out in the spirit of the round-ups of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Islamophobia also serves to split potential allies in the fight against the deepening economic crisis. The attacks parallel the persecution and terrorist-baiting of unionists and radicals during previous depressions, as well as of fighters for the freedom of Black, Latin@ and other peoples of color who suffered the worst impact of such crises.

The attacks on Muslims parallel the scapegoating of mostly Latin@ undocumented workers, whose labor is key to the economy but whose status is used to pit workers against each other.

This understanding of the roots of Islamophobia and the resulting attacks impels us to mobilize and speak out whenever there is an attack on any Muslim individual or institution and call on our allies in every social movement to do the same.

We demand:

  • End the attacks on masjids and Islamic community centers. Stop the government and media witch-hunt that sparks such attacks.
  • End “preemptive” prosecutions and entrapment by government informants.
  • Close Guantanamo, US prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the CIA’s secret detention centers. Free all Arab and Muslim political prisoners at home and abroad.
  • End all attacks on immigrant communities, including racial and religious profiling, harassment, detentions, and deportations.
  • Stop US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. End all US aid to Israel. No war or sanctions against Iran.
  • Redirect the trillions of dollars from war to funds for jobs, education, healthcare, and humanitarian relief, at home and abroad.

 

 

 

The Anti-War Committee has signed onto this statement with other peace and justice groups from the National Peace Assembly.  August 2010.

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