Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Islamophobia is Mostly Hype

Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online doses the "Islamophobia fever" exhibited by the excitable Left with a cold splash of facts.
According to the FBI, hate crimes against Muslims increased by a staggering 1,600 percent in 2001. That sounds serious! But wait, the increase is a math mirage. There were 28 anti-Islamic incidents in 2000. That number climbed to 481 the year a bunch of Muslim terrorists murdered 3,000 Americans in the name of Islam on Sept. 11.

Now, that was a hate crime.

Regardless, 2001 was the zenith or, looked at through the prism of our national shame, the nadir of the much-discussed anti-Muslim backlash in the United States — and civil libertarians and Muslim activists insisted it was 1930s Germany all over again. The following year, the number of anti-Islamic hate-crime incidents (overwhelmingly, nonviolent vandalism and nasty words) dropped to 155. In 2003, there were 149 such incidents. And the number has hovered around the mid-100s or lower ever since.

Sure, even one hate crime is too many. But does that sound like an anti-Muslim backlash to you?

Let’s put this in even sharper focus. America is, outside of Israel, probably the most receptive and tolerant country in the world to Jews. And yet, in every year since 9/11, more Jews have been hate-crime victims than Muslims. A lot more.

In 2001, there were twice as many anti-Jewish incidents as there were anti-Muslim, according to the FBI. In 2002 and pretty much every year since, anti-Jewish incidents have outstripped anti-Muslim incidents by at least 6 to 1. Why aren’t we talking about the anti-Jewish climate in America?

Where does this "right-wing backlash" hysteria come from? It is propaganda, pure and simply. It is a way of silencing conservatives who raise legitimate questions about what it means to be a moderate Muslim. Of course only a few Muslims practice terrorism, but that does not mean that there is not a large group in addition to the actual terrorists who want to impose totalitarian Sharia law on every country possible. The Left ignores this - to its own peril.

There are millions of Muslims who want to live in the West under secular law and accept the separation of mosque and state. But we betray them when we treat Muslims who want to impost Sharia law, subjugate women and murder apostates from Islam as moderates. They are closer to the terrorists than to law-abiding, peace-loving, ordinary Muslims. The reason the latter type of Muslims love to move to the West is precisely because Islamophobia is a myth and we have genuine religious freedom - unlike the places they are fleeing.

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