By Stephen Lendman
America never treated Muslims respectfully. US media and Hollywood play lead roles. Jack Shaheen’s book “Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People” documented how American filmmakers slander them. For decades, they’ve been fair game. From silent to more recent films, prejudicial attitudes were fostered. They still are regularly. They disparage Islam in contrast to manufactured notions of Western values, high-mindedness, and moral superiority.
Islamic tenets are ignored. The Koran teaches love, not hate; peace, not violence; charity, not selfishness; and tolerance, not terrorism.
Its five pillars include profession of faith, prayer five times daily, fasting during Ramadan, charity, and performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime for those able to afford it. Nonetheless, Muslims are stereotypically portrayed as dangerous gun-toting terrorists. Hate messages repeat regularly. Fear is stoked. Imperial wars of aggression are called justifiable ones.
At home, Muslims are vilified and persecuted for their faith, ethnicity, and at times prominence, activism and charity.
They’re lawlessly targeted. They’re hunted down, rounded up, held in detention, kept in isolation, denied bail, restricted in their right to counsel, tried on secret evidence, convicted on bogus charges, and given long sentences. For extra harsh treatment, they are incarcerated as political prisoners. They’re segregated in Communication Management Units (CMUs). Doing so violates US Prison Bureau regulations. They strictly prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or political beliefs.
In February 2005, the Supreme Court’s Johnson v. California decision affirmed 14th Amendment protection against racial discrimination. It “rejected the notion that separate can ever be equal or neutral.” Bush administration officials violated rule of law provisions regularly. So do Obama’s. Innocent victims suffer grievously. It happens abroad and at home. Guantanamo and other torture prisons exist globally. Muslims fill them. Post-9/11, they became public enemy number one.
Many in America are consigned to CMU prison hell. Treatment is ruthless and demeaning. Extra punishment may be ordered for any reason or none at all. They get fewer rights than other prisoners. Their dietary requirements are compromised or denied. So is proper medical care when needed. Emergency treatment takes days to get. It’s not delivered properly when gotten. Rotten, inedible food quality is commonplace. Tap water is inferior. Privacy is denied. The entire CMU is monitored round the clock with cameras and listening devices. Policy assures mistreatment and disrespect. Prisoner complaints go unanswered.
Virtually every imprisoned Muslim is innocent. They’re war on terror victims. They’re locked up for praying to the wrong God. They’re alive, but for those getting inordinately long sentences, they’re among the living dead. Their families suffer with them. It’s the wrong time to be Muslim in America and in nations abroad Washington targets. Major media scoundrels back the worst of US crimes. When Bush administration officials declared war on Islam, they marched in lockstep. They still do. They’re reliable imperial cheerleaders.
They headline inflammatory accounts of innocent Muslims charged domestically. They play the same blame game. Targeted victims are considered guilty by accusation. Before indictment and prosecution, they’re convicted in the court of public opinion. Their coverage of anti-Muslim hate film violence is appalling. They ignore what’s really going on. On the one hand, it reflects rage over imperial wars on Islamic countries. People don’t burn buildings or harm others over blasphemous materials alone.
The film sparked what followed. It ignited violence. Promoting it on social media spread it. Something else could have done it as easily. People take abuse only so long before reacting. Once begun, it replicates elsewhere. In the 1960s, racial segregation, related police violence, other denied civil rights, and economic depravation ignited violence across America. Neighborhoods in northern US cities were set ablaze. It can happen again and likely will. Provocative incidents spark it. It can happen anywhere.
Other factors also lie behind the anti-Muslim film. Dark forces produced it. Killing a US ambassador reinforced it. Israeli fingerprints are all over it. Jewish donors funded it. They got what they wanted.
Justifiable rage across the Middle East, North Africa, Central and South Asia, as well as elsewhere lets them portray Muslims as violent terrorist threats. US and other Western headlines reflect it. More on that below.
Also at issue is America’s November election. Netanyahu and Obama dislike each other. It’s no secret that the Israeli leader favors Romney. He thinks he’ll be quicker to attack Iran. He’s angry about Obama’s reluctance to show rock solid support. He wants him Carterized. He picked a very public fight to get his way. Perhaps he’s directly responsible for the blasphemous film. If not, very likely extremists around him. It has all the earmarks of a Mossad false flag. At issue is weakening him politically and fomenting war.
San Francisco anti-Muslim bus ads stoke it. They’re planned for New York and perhaps elsewhere. They read:
“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.” Concluding words say “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
Pam Geller’s running them. She’s a notorious hatemonger. US media scoundrels publish her writing. She’s interviewed on television. CBS’ 60 Minutes ran a full feature profile.
She and Robert Spencer co-founded the Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America. It’s legal to be bigoted in America. It’s appalling that media scoundrels support what they should condemn. The French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo fanned its own flames. It ran blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed. Some showed him naked in pornographic poses.
Editor in chief Gerard Biard claimed he did it to satirize the anti-Muslim video. He called its violent reaction absurd. Editorial director Stephane Charbonnier said “We have the right to express ourselves.”
Biard added the Charlie Hebdo is “a newspaper against religions as soon as they enter into the political and public realm.” He claims Muslim religious leaders manipulate French followers for political reasons. “You’re not meant to identify yourself through a religion, in any case not in a secular state,” he claims.
Christians and Jews do it freely in France, America, and other Western countries without incident. Only Muslims are targeted for their faith unfairly. Who speaks for their rights? No one in high places or with media influence able to reach large audiences in America and across Europe daily. White House spokesman Jay Carney stopped short of denouncing Charlie Hebdo editors, saying:
“We don’t question the right of something like this to be published. We just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it.”
Call it a back-door endorsement. French officials also backed their hate speech rights.
Try denouncing the holocaust in France and see what happens. Try wearing a hijab, other head covering, or head to toe burqah and find out. Try denouncing Israeli crimes on US television or in mainstream publications, and see how long you keep your job. Try supporting right over wrong and fair no better.
Major media in America and other Western countries suppress truth and full disclosure. Imperial wars are cheerled. Friendly dictators are supported. Independent governments are called terrorist ones. News, information, and analysis get turned on their head.
On September 19, a New York Times editorial was typical. It headlined “The United States and the Muslim world.”
It invoked “Arab Spring” terminology. It’s a Western, not Middle East, term. Since regional protests erupted in winter 2011, nothing changed. In countries like Egypt, things are worse. The Times inverts reality. It calls regional states run by despots “liberated” ones. They’ve “become battlegrounds for Islamic extremists, moderates and secularists, all contending for power and influence over the direction of democratic change.”
Except for confessional-style Lebanese democracy, no Arab state tolerates it. Neither does Israel, America and hardcore NATO allies.
The Times blames regional violence on extremist elements beyond US control. They’re “eager to exploit unrest for their own purposes.”
Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah is a powerful force against Western and Israeli imperialism. The Times calls him a “particularly destructive force.” It denounced his ability to get tens of thousands of anti-US/Israeli protesters onto Beirut streets and elsewhere across Lebanon.
It pilloried his support for Assad. It condemned Anti-American regional protesters. It claimed they “reinforced the worst fears of those who see Muslims” as violent extremists.
“In 2009, (Obama) wisely sought rapprochement with Muslims.” His Cairo speech “endorsed an approach of mutual respect and promised, that….America never would be at war with Islam.”
From day one, Obama waged multiple direct and proxy wars against Muslim countries. Iraq remains occupied. Tens of thousands of US combat troops never left. Daily violence harms innocent civilians. Afghan war rages. It’s America’s longest conflict. No end in sight looks near. Obama destroyed Libya. He killed tens of thousands of civilians. Violence continues daily across the country. No one’s sure who’ll live or die.
He supports the worst of Bahraini despotism, its war on people wanting democratic freedoms, and its persecution of activists supporting it. He’s waging proxy wars against Somalia, Yemen, and indirectly against Palestine with billions of dollars of Israeli aid and strong support for occupation harshness. He bears direct responsibility for ravaging Syria. He plans eventual war on Iran. Since January 1991, America killed millions of Middle East, North African, and Central Asians Muslims. Most were non-combatant civilians. Many were children.
How many more millions will die before The New York Times and other media scoundrels acknowledge decades of US mass murder?
Instead, The Times praised Obama’s commitment to Middle East democracy. It urged America “to stay engaged in whatever ways it can.”
Millions across the region feel otherwise. They want Washington out for good reason. It’s a scourge. It menaces people wanting peace and freedom, not war, occupation, genocide and destruction. Don’t expect The Times or other media scoundrels to explain.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
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.
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