America prides itself on religious freedom, the Constitution's First Amendment stating:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
In fact, those rights are selectively enforced, and consistently denied at the whim of administrations, Congress and courts, including equal respect for all religions - more than ever post-9/11 under Bush and Obama, agents of privilege, not Constitutionally protected freedoms. A sad testimony to a rhetorical, not real democracy, Muslim Americans especially victimized, vilified, and persecuted for their faith, ethnicity, prominence, activism, and charity - innocent men and women bogusly called terrorists, used for political advantage.
More than any other ethnic/religious group, Western discourse especially wrongs and unfairly portrays Muslim/Arabs stereotypically as culturally inferior, dirty, lecherous, untrustworthy, religiously fanatical, and violent.
In his book, "Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People," Jack Shaheen explained how they've been defamed and used as fair game throughout decades of cinematic history (from silent films to recent ones) to foster prejudicial attitudes, and reinforce notions of Western values, high-mindedness, and moral superiority.
Worse still are slanderous media commentaries about dangerous gun-toting terrorists, vital for authorities to arrest and imprison, never mind the rule of law, right or wrong, or whether those accused are guilty or innocent. It's no surprise when new suspects are named, media reports automatically convicting them in the court of public opinion, poisoning it by stereotypical characterizations and baseless charges, invariably against Muslims, and by implication their faith.
No wonder politicians and extremist Christian fundamentalist ministers rage over Muslim "terrorists" and a proposed New York Islamic cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero, threatening a public 9/11 Koran burning in protest - cancelled, then suspended, now re-cancelled, so stay tuned, the outrageous media frenzy may encourage it ahead, as well as attacks around the country against mosques, perhaps with Muslims inside praying, authorities turning a blind eye about people they despise, pretending, like Obama, they care.
On 9/11/2010, he disingenuously said America's not "at war with Islam," while he wages it against at least six Muslim countries - Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia Yemen, and Palestine by supplying Israel with annual billions in aid and the latest weapons and technology. He also threatens or intimidates other countries, including Iran, Lebanon, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba, even though none of them pose a regional or global threat.
In addition, Special Forces death squads (like Task Force 373), extrajudicially murder or capture suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda figures, many hundreds or perhaps thousands on a so-called Jpel (joint prioritized effects) list.
Further, drones and ground forces kill civilian men, women and children daily, falsely called "terrorists" or "insurgents," and Special Forces and CIA operatives operate lawlessly in 75 or more countries, warring covertly against anyone opposing US interests.
It's America's secret war, mostly against Muslims, including US citizens abroad, denied due process or judicial fairness. Just a bullet, bomb or slit throat, Obama's summary judgment, defiling the rule of law - counter-insurgency madness to cow people into submission, advancing permanent war and endless violence, breeding resentment and hatred throughout the Muslim world.
On 9/11, AP said, for the second straight day, thousands of Afghans in Kabul responded to anti-Muslim hatred, specifically the announced Koran burning. Despite cancelling it, the damage was done, crowds burning tires and shouting "Long live Islam, death to America." Earlier in the week, they heard fiery speeches from parliament members, provincial council deputies, and Islamic clerics, criticizing Washington and demanding foreign troops withdraw. Some also threw rocks at a passing US military convoy.
Protesters in front of western Kabul's Milad ul-Nabi mosque raised and flags with slogans calling for Obama's death, also a cardboard effigy of Dove World Outreach Center's pastor Terry Jones. All religious holy books are sacred, demanding the respect they deserve. Burning or desecrating them is morally wrong and profoundly offensive.
In 2005, Afghan riots killed 15 and injured dozens following stories about Guantanamo interrogators placing Korans in washrooms and flushing one down a toilet. Imagine the outrage in America if Muslims did it to Bibles or other Judeo-Christian scripture.
Against that backdrop, Obama's 9/11 address at the Pentagon (symbolic of America's war agenda) was an exercise in demagoguery and lies saying:
"We will not sacrifice the liberties we cherish or hunker down behind walls of suspicion and mistrust....The highest honor we can pay those we lost, indeed our greatest weapon in this ongoing war, is to do what our adversaries fear the most. To stay true to who we are, as Americans; to renew our sense of common purpose; to say that we define the character of our country, and we will not let the acts of some small band of murderers who slaughter the innocent and cower in caves distort who we are."
-- in 20 months as president, Obama continued what Bush began, stripping civil liberties, defiling human rights, waging imperial wars, increasing homeland repression, and targeting dissent and democratic freedoms;
-- at home and abroad, he's fostered hate, loathing, and mistrust throughout the entire Muslim world;
-- "those (9/11 victims) we lost" were by our hands, not "crazed Arabs" from an Afghanistan cave directing their American operatives;
-- "true to who we are? our sense of common purpose? the character of our country?" In fact, a cavernous divide separates most Americans from our criminal ruling cabal. Obama is its titular head allied with corporate predators, exploiting human resources and strip mining the world for profits, allied with out-of-control militarists, destroying it for power and privilege;
-- "some small band of murderers who slaughter the innocent?" America's marauding armies wage ruthless wars on planet earth, slaughtering millions on every continent;
-- "distort who we are?" The above account explains it, unmasking Obama's demagoguery.
Saying "We champion the rights of every American (to) worship as one chooses," Obama omitted the New York cultural center or announced Koran burning, now cancelled, showing his contempt for Islam, his words notwithstanding, disingenuous rhetoric like everything he says, what everyone needs to know, what too few understand, still thinking he's different. He's not, and in many respects he's worse than his predecessor.
Justifying America's imperial wars and homeland repression requires enemies, Muslims the target of choice, vilified for their faith, "terrorists" or "Islamofascists" because we say so. It's reminiscent of the false late 1990s accusations against Nation of Islam National Representative Louis Farrakhan, saying he called the Pope "the anti-Christ" and Judaism a "gutter religion."
He strongly rebutted the assertions, what Washington can't do about Islam, calling it a "religion of war," when, in fact, it promotes love, not hate; peace, not violence; good over evil; charity, not exploitation; and a just and fair society for people of all faiths.
America's Judeo-Christian "war on terror" disdains these beliefs, vilifying people for their faith, slaughtering and torturing them abroad, conducting a modern day Inquisition at home, a lawless holy crusade, based on lies, deceit, and managed news. Regular state propaganda over the airwaves preaches hate for global conquest, masquerading as democracy, the kind Washington won't tolerate anywhere, including at home.
A Final Comment
Washington's one-sided Israeli support underscores its disdain for Islam. Obama accentuated it by telling Netanyahu that "The bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable," assuring him of America's "deep, abiding interest in Israel's security," a message Palestinians and world Muslims know means no interest in theirs.
Worse still, he endorsed Cast Lead and Gaza's siege, mercilessly and illegally suffocating 1.5 million people posing no threat whatever. Hamas is targeted for its independence, not militancy, what he and Western media won't explain.
The latest round of peace talks continue, as bogus as others, on and off for the past 35 years, resolving nothing but empowering Israel at the expense of Occupied Palestinians. The only possible outcome this time is like before - total failure or unconditional capitulation, nothing in between, because Washington and Israel won't tolerate a just, equitable agreement.
Obama also rejects Hamas as Palestine's legitimate government as well its right to self-defense. Under occupation, it's essential against a nuclear-armed marauder, a rogue state, a military powerhouse aggressor believing violence is the only language Arabs understand. No wonder growing millions globally see Israel for what it is - a regional and world menace complicit with its Washington paymaster/partner.
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.