Numerous previous articles explained how fear is used in America, notably against Muslims for political advantage.
They're described as fundamentalists, extremists, terrorists, and fanatics. They're identified with violence, when, in fact, Islam has common roots with Christianity and Judaism. Their tenets are based on love, not hate; peace, not violence; charity, not exploitation; and a just, fair society for people of all faiths.
However, you'd never know it from Islamophobic media reports and professional hatemongers, profiting by proliferating lies.
The Runnymede Trust identifies eight Islamophobic components, characterizing Islam as:
-- monolithic, static, and unresponsive to change;
-- having differing values from other cultures and religions;
-- being inferior to Western societies;
-- barbaric, irrational, primitive, sexist, violent, aggressive, threatening, supporting terrorism, and clashing with Western civilization;
-- an ideology used for political or military advantage;
-- irrationally criticizing Western values;
-- warranting discriminatory practices that exclude Muslims from mainstream society; and
-- believing anti-Muslim hostility is natural and normal.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says "Islamophobia refers to unfounded fear of and hostility towards Islam. (It) leads to discrimination against Muslims, exclu(ding them) from mainstream political or social process, stereotyping, the presumption of guilt by association, and finally hate crimes."
A new Center for American Progress study titled, "Fear, Inc." analyzed "the roots of the Islamophobia Network in America."
It calls Islamophobia "exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from America's social, political, and civic life."
It explains how right-wing foundations and wealthy donors fund like-minded think tanks and other racist groups that sell hate and fear of Muslims and Islam in books, reports, web sites, blogs, and well-crafted talking points for anti-Islamic organizations to use as propaganda for their followers.
Leading donors include:
(1) Donors Capital Fund - a public charity "dedicated to the ideals of limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise," funding hate.
(2) Richard Mellon Scaife Foundations - Sourcewatch calls Scaife "one of the most influential men behind (America's) right wing today. Scaife helped establish their biggest institutions and supported some of their most radical ideas" through generous donations.
(3) Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation - another notorious ideological extremist group.
(4) Newton D. & Rochelle F. Becker Foundations and Charitable Trust - a pro-Israeli advocacy group.
(5) Russell Berrie Foundation - promoting Jewish values at the expense of Muslim ones - another pro-Israel, Jewish values organization.
(6) Anchorage Charitable Fund and William Rosenwald Family Fund with close ties to right-wing hate groups.
(7) Fairbrook Foundation, supporting some of the most extremist Islamic hate groups.
Combined, these foundations provided $42.6 million to Islamophobic think tanks and hate groups from 2001 - 2009.
It funds ideas like Newt Gingrich warning an American Enterprise Institute audience about Sharia (Islamic religious code) being "a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it. Sharia in its natural form has principles and punishments totally abhorrent to the Western world."
In fact, the real threat comes from hatemongers like Gingrich and many others like him, being paid to stoke fear, mistrust, and hate.
Among other things, Sharia practices include charitable giving, prayer and honoring one's parents, identical to what Christianity and Judaism teach. Gingrich made other comments similar to conservative analyst Andrew McCarthy, calling Sharia "the preeminent totalitarian threat of our time."
Super-hawk Frank Gaffney heads the Center for Security Policy, putting out regular mischaracterizations and warnings about the dangers of Islam and American Muslims. So do:
(1) Daniel Pipes at the Middle East Forum
(2) David Yerushalmi at the Society of Americans for National Existence
(3) Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch
(4) Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism
(5) Stop Islamization of America
(6) Society of Americans for National Existence.
(7) Future Terrorism Project
(8) Freedom Center
These and numerous other groups make a living proliferating hate and fear.
The "Islamophobia echo chamber" includes:
(1) Religious right extremists Pat Robertson, John Hagee, Ralph Reed, among others.
(2) Politicians Peter King, Sue Myric, Allen West, Renee Elmers, Paul Broun, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry, among numerous others.
(3) Media sources and individuals, including Fox News, Christian Broadcasting, Washington Times, National Review, Clarion Fund documentary maker, David Horowitz, Pamela Geller, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Mark Levin, and Bryan Fischer.
(4) Grassroots groups, including Brigitte Gabriel's ACT! For America, Pamela Geller's Stop Islamization of America, Eagle Forum, Tennessee Freedom Coalition, State Tea Party groups, and American Family Association.
Fear, Inc. highlights the threat posed by extremist hate groups and wealthy donor foundations funding them. Aided by major media reports and films depicting Muslims as barbaric, violent, gaudy, lascivious, uncivilized, misogynistic, irrational, and undemocratic, they vilify them as dangerous, untrustworthy, and anti-American.
Political opportunists hype these notions to promote wars, subvert democratic freedoms, and gain constituents by stoking fear and preaching hate.
As a result, America's future literally depends on challenging hatemongers of all stripes through a vision of peace, equity, justice, and democratic values so far nowhere in sight. Without change, everyone loses.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.