Sunday, November 23, 2014   

  Home     About     Guest Editorials     Advertise     Blog     Site Map     Links     Contact      Subscribe RSS      Subscribe Email  
Home » Huffington Post

Warren J. Blumenfeld: Islamophobia Has No Place in the United States of America

31 January 2012 Huffington Post 109 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

Warren J. Blumenfeld

Warren J. Blumenfeld

Islamophobia Has No Place in the United States of America

Recently speaking at a town hall meeting at an American Legion Hall in Lady Lake, Florida, presidential hopeful Rick Santorum fielded a question, or rather, a comment from a woman in the audience who forcefully proclaimed: “I never refer to Obama as President Obama because legally he is not. He constantly says that our constitution is passé, and he ignores it as you know and does what he darn well pleases. He is an avowed Muslim, and my question is, why isn’t something being done to get him out of government? He has no legal right to be calling himself president!”

Though Santorum opposes President Obama on many of the issues, he had a magnificent opportunity to take an ethical stand when addressing this woman, but he chose instead to virtually play into her obvious Islamophobic statements by merely responding to issues she raised related to the Constitution.

“Well look, I’m doing my best to get him out of the government right now, and you’re right about how he uniformly ignores the constitution,” Santorum responded. “He did this with these appointments over the recess that was not a recess, and if I was in the United States Senate I would be drawing the line.”

As the old truism goes, “If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.” By not standing up to this woman’s obvious Islamophobia, Santorum was complicit in the demonization, marginalization,, and victimization of Muslims and those perceived as Muslim.

Islamophobia can be defined as prejudice and discrimination toward the religion of Islam and Muslims who follow its teachings and practices. Like racism, sexism, and heterosexism, for example, Islamophobia is much more than a fear, for it is a taught and often learned attitude and behavior, and, therefore, falls under the category of oppression.

Islamophobia routinely surfaced throughout the last presidential election. Members of the political right challenged and spread rumors regarding Barack Obama’s cultural, social, and religious background, political philosophies, U.S. birth status, and patriotism. Insinuations flew about his supposed Islamic background connected to his explicit Marxist and fascist (which is a contradiction) political influences.

Opponents referred to him as Barack Hussein Obama — with emphasis on “Hussein” — in their attempts to connect him not only to the Muslim faith, but also to the former ruler of Iraq. In actuality, his middle name is indeed “Hussein,” which in Arabic translates to “good” or “beautiful.” Furthermore, since this country is founded on the principle of freedom of religion, whichever religious or non-religious background any candidate, or any individual, follows should in no way disqualify or call into question their credentials.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released its 2006 report finding that approximately 25% of U.S.-Americans consider Islam as a religion of hatred and violence, and that those with the most biased attitudes tend to be older, less educated, politically conservative, and are more often to belong to the Republican Party.

Today, especially since September 11, 2001, we see growing numbers of violent acts directed against Muslims. During the single year of 2005, for example, CAIR listed a total of 1,522 civil rights violations against American Muslims, 114 of which were violent hate crimes. The report included incidents of violence, as well as harassment and discriminatory treatment, including “unreasonable arrests, detentions, and searches/seizures.” For example, the CAIR report included an incident in which a Muslim woman wearing a hijab (the garment many Muslim women wear in public) took her baby for a walk in a stroller, when a man driving a truck nearly ran them over. The woman cried out that, “You almost killed my baby!,” and the man responded, “It wouldn’t have been a big loss.”

Nearly one-quarter of all reported civil rights violations against American Muslims involve unwarranted arrests and searches. Law enforcement agencies routinely “profile” Muslims of apparent Middle Eastern heritage in airports or simply while driving in their cars for interrogation and invasive and aggressive searches. In addition, governmental agencies, such as the IRS and FBI, continue to enter individuals’ private homes and mosques and make unreasonable arrests and detentions.

I find the current political tenor very disconcerting as candidates attack, demonize, stereotype, and scapegoat not only other candidates, but also entire groups of U.S. citizens whom they blame for causing the problems of our country.

Democracy demands an educated electorate. Democracy demands responsibility on the part of the electorate to critically examine our politicians so they can make truly informed decisions.
But I observe a certain anti-intellectualism within current political discourse. How often do we hear politicians “accuse” other candidates or those serving in public office of being part of some so-called “elitist” intellectual establishment, or talk about some “elitist” media who are all out of touch with “real” Americans.

And what about the gendering of politics when we are told either that women don’t have the temperament to lead or when a politician calls an opponent’s manhood into questions by demanding them to “man up”? Or blaming those who support marriage for same-sex couples as contributing to the eventual downfall of not only the institution of marriage, but for the ultimate collapse of civilization as we know it? Or blaming working class and poor people who occasionally need a helping hand from the government?

During economic downturns, charismatic and not-so-charismatic leaders attempt to exploit the fears of the public in their quests for power and control. Conservative political discourse centers on “F” words: Faith, Family, Freedom, and the Flag. This set of buzz words comprise the foundation on which politicians tell us we should decide who is truly worthy of our votes.

It does us all a great disservice, though, when we vote either for or against candidates based in large measure on their religious backgrounds. How many of us oppose Mormon, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu candidates? How many of us would even consider atheist, agnostic, Pagan, Wiccan candidates?

We must cut through the coded xenophobic, racialized, and classist language, for often when politicians use the words “poor,” “welfare,” “inner city,” “food stamps,” “entitlements,” “bad neighborhoods,” “foreign,” they tap into many white people’s anxieties and past racist teachings of people of color. Though white people comprise the largest percentage of current food stamp recipients, 34 percent, the common perception and societal stereotype depicts black people as abusing the system. In addition, the buzz phrase, “personal responsibility,” now has become a catch phrase to justify cutting benefits to people with disabilities, older people, and those who have fallen on hard times and need assistance.

So-called “social issues” become wedge issues to attract people to a particular candidate. In the final analysis, though, when middle and working class people vote for these candidates, they essentially vote against their own economic self-interests.

After careful and continuous vetting to plow through the reality from the show; the truth in their message from their appeals to fears and insecurities; their sincerity and ability to bring people together from their overt and covert attempts to divide; their talents and strengths from their bravado and performance; their attempts to maintain their integrity, their compassion, their humanity, and their empathy from their insincerity, manipulation, half-truths, lies, and complicity in perpetuating public fears; their attempts to answer questions honestly rather than giving answers derived from polling data saying what they think we want to hear rather than what they actually believe, these are the things we need to consider when judging our candidates. We must rate them on the quality of their characters, on their policies, and how well we believe they will follow through on what they promise.

As I travel across our country, I observe a large number of homes proudly displaying American flags, the red, white, and blue flying and rippling in the wind on poles or porches in front yards. But patriotism and true commitment to our democracy takes more, much more; for it demands of us all the needed time, effort, and commitment to critically investigate all aspects of the great gift we have been given in our representative form of government: the gift of our vote. Anything less would be to waste our enfranchisement, to silence our voices, and to slap the faces of all who have gone before to envision and protect our form of government.

Share/Bookmark




109 Comments »

  1. Youre an idiot… OBAMA 2012!

  2. One question that I have never had answered: when exactly did Obama say he was a Muslim?

  3. Sharon, I’m not sure that lady understands what “avowed” means.

  4. People like Mr. Blumenfeld make me sick to my psyche. . . .and there are so many of “them” out there. . . .even sicker

  5. What an ass clown.

  6. Whomever that quote is from is a liar and a sellout.

  7. Santorum didn’t contradict that deluded & delusional questioner because, without the deluded, delusional & outright psychotics he has absolutely no base.

  8. How did this article make it to this site?

  9. There is no Religious test for holding public office. Obama IS the President of the USA. Whether you like it or not, he was duly elected after meeting all requirements of filling the office. He could even have been born in Egypt of an American Citizen Mother and he would have been an American by Birth, according to Constitutional and State Department rules.

  10. So what now? We can just make up outright lies whenever we want and try to present complete ignorance as truth to the public? Ethics: you have none.

  11. When has President Obama ever said our constitution is “passe?” Last I heard, he spent his career as a constitutional-law professor.

  12. Why do they give these idiots a platform to talk. I know it says freedom of speech. It dosent say freedom of foolishness. GO PRES. OBAMA 2012!!!

  13. All I can do is scratch my head at that person. Disagree with Obama all you want, but do so on reasonable grounds, not based on lies and Islamophobia.

  14. Where did this guy come from?

  15. In America it seems the more outlandish and out right crazy you are the media loves you. Why even give them the time of day? We need to just ignore them and let them slink away into their doomsday shelters!

  16. He’s quoting someone else. Read ther article before you comment.

  17. Who is this moron?? If you want to talk illegitimate presidencies, one MUST talk about BushII. These Wrong Wingers just can’t STAND it that the Black man in the White House was ELECTED, and by a much larger margin than Bush ever managed to steal.

  18. What an idiot these hypocrit, aholes, racist are just what they are and aren’t worth reading about……:?/

  19. From back in the woods. Where his wife and his sister are litteraly the same person.

  20. @Arlene & Deborah, if you read the article you will see that is a quote from someone at a recent Santorum event, Mr. Blumenfeld’s article explains why that person is wrong. Read before you post, people!

  21. Obama “being a Muslim” is a red herring. He’s not a Muslim but he damn sure doesn’t care about American civil liberties and bought off by the same power structure that controls his party, the Republican party, the media, the banks, etc. etc. He’s right, but for the wrong reasons that only serve to distract us from the real problems with our government.

  22. I think this is from that lovely peach of a gal asking Rick Sanatorium about President Obama a few days ago.

  23. Maybe this guy would be happier if he left the country. He is obviously unhappy and should emulate the pilgrims and to elsewhere with his goofy ideas – they did.

  24. Do they ever get out of there crazy minds to visit reality?

  25. Who is this guy?

  26. Seems the majority of people posting here didn’t bother to read the article – the inflammatory statement is a QUOTE of someone at a Santorum event . . . sheesh!

  27. All of you are missing the basic point. It doesn’t matter what religion is he. We are given the right to follow any religion we want to. Get over it!

  28. The idiots are at it again.

  29. Lmao

  30. If she read the constitution herself she would know that Barack Obama is the President of the United States.

  31. YaY Warren

  32. Give me a break! Absolute nonsense.

  33. This is a very misleading format to use, as the implication is that Mr. Blumenfeld made the statement. I’m disappointed in myself for not reading the article, and disappointed that the format is misleading.

  34. Rashad if he wasn’t born here, as has been implied, he’s not legally President

  35. wonder what color the sky is in his world

  36. who is this idiot?

  37. John McCain at least drew the line at racism and Islamophobia when he was running. The 2012 GOP encourages both.

  38. Implied is not proven, birth certificate and all the state of hawaii cannot be written off as incompetent. ALso his mother was American so I don’t appreciate anyone who would assume to take my citizenship away from my child no matter where I birthed him.

  39. One day well have a muslim president. Lol. They never thought wed have black president so why not?

  40. How can anyone be THAT stupid? I mean, it just seems like there has to be a limit. Like you can only eat so much food, you can only drink so much water, you can only be so fucking stupid. There has to be SOME limit. But every single day, right-wingers manage to push it just a little farther. Like trying to imagine the edge of the universe, right-wing stupidity is simply beyond my ability to comprehend.

  41. and so what if he is Muslim….? What is wrong with people who would even be concerned about this!!! This shows how pathetic the country has gotten.

  42. This is frightening. This guy is so bigotted I can’t stand it.

  43. It would be nice if people would read articles before commenting on them, btw. So they don’t end up looking foolish, which a few people on this comment thread did.

  44. @ Arlene.. learn to read properly… Blumenfeld wrote the article….he is AGAINST Islamophobia.

  45. Although I don’t support President Obama, this article is foolishness. What does it matter whether an individual is Muslim, Christian, Jew, or any other faith for that matter. I usually respect this page but I can’t even get close to getting behind this one. Very bigoted for a page that continually cries bigotry.

  46. @ Daniel Paul Crump: Why don’t you actually click on the article before passing judgment on it?

  47. You are so full of it, buddy.

  48. Please read the long version, the quote is not from this guy – he is quoting a woman who was speaking to Rick Santorum. His point is Santorum should have corrected her and said Obama is not Muslim, and who cares if her were, because Muslims are allowed to be President if they are 35 and were born in the USA :)

  49. but it was never said that the president had to be christian, or at the very least that he couldnt be muslim

  50. I don’t get it. Why do so many people think Obama is a muslim? :s He even admitted to being a christian! I guess hatred knows no limits and it’s no longer acceptable to hate people based on race; hatemongers need to find new excuses and islam seems to be the current scapegoat, just like communists were during the Soviet era.

  51. He should’ve said something to her!!

  52. @ Jannah Leah: There’s always a scapegoat. If it isn’t Muslims, it’s Jews, or gays, or Communists, or Russians, or Hispanics, or African-Americans. Tomorrow it will be Chinese. The ruling powers will always, always have a scapegoat. They need people looking suspiciously from side to side so they don’t look up and see who’s really to blame for the problems of society.

  53. I don’t refer to Obama as president bc he is so similar to Bush that he is an obvious manchurian candidate

  54. Islamaphobia should be embraced by all leaders. Keeps your country free and rid of violence and strife.

  55. @ Rachel OKelley: Keeping people like YOU under control would keep countries free and rid of violence and strife.

  56. HOW did this crap get on my PAGE? GRANNY?????

  57. Spoken like a true blue BIGOT.

  58. seems santorum has problems with the truth and he also has long standing issues with muslims, he says there are no palestinians in palestine ? http://www.thejc.com/news/world-news/61537/rick-santorums-jewish-student-days

  59. If anybody believes David Icky,then the ‘Bush clan’ were supposedly Satanists,and ‘Reptilian’ (i.e. Not even human) so who cares who,or what the next president is going to be.If America wants to be ruled by another puppet of the ‘elite’, then they can vote for whoever they want to.End result is always going to be the same. Unless the voters wake up and take back their God-given freedom,the American public would forever be slaves to the elite.#Occupy the world,and know this: The Third World War is a civil war,but more so, a global war against all it’s free people!

  60. now its true there are far less palestinians than there used to be after the 53 year long shoha but for sure theyre still there http://www.thehypertexts.com/Nakba%20Holocaust%20Palestinians%20Parables%20of%20Zion.htm

  61. Exactly, Comrade Stephen. There has been so many scapegoats throughout history. Muslims are just the current one.

  62. Get over it dude………….

  63. Folks… read the article thoroughly. Mr. Blumenfeld is not an anti-Muslim bigot but wrote a very well-written and carefully-crafted article about such bigots.

    Oh and Obama is no Muslim… he’s not been to any of the secret Muslim meetings. That being said, we’d love to have him.

  64. Not even the Freemasons were spared during the Holocaust.They too were seen as a threat to the Nazi’s.Beware the Fascists that now reside in Washington,for they are as grave a threat as the Nazi’s, or the Auto da fe of the middle ages.McCarthy and his ‘Communist witch hunt was but a taste of what lies in stall for those who dare speak up and question the elite’s ‘New world order’!

  65. You don’t live in America…..quit bitchin”…..!

  66. You fuckwit.

  67. @ Reed..I agree but I’m not surprised he didn’t correct her. He’s pandering to bigots like her.

  68. Why is everyone attacking Blumenfeld? He isn’t endorsing Islamophobia, he’s actually condemning it.

  69. Obama is NOT an avowed Moslem. Otherwise that would have been headline news, not the third sentence in some half-wit’s “blog” posting. Now as an avowed idiot and compulsive paramasturbator (after all, what is this but a form of masturbation?), this clown should be hunted down and chastised publicly at every opportunity.

  70. Humpf, I’m too stunned to respond to this statement. I will say that I am disappointed in Rick Santorum who had a chance to prove he had some class and chose instead to be a politician. I’m not a fan of his anyway and this just adds to my reason not to be a fan.

  71. get over it, asshole

  72. @Imad…because they’re not reading the article.

  73. PROUD TO BE LIVIN’ IN A ‘free’ Country…how ’bout u!!!!

  74. Disgusting! Such hate…

  75. wow…this guy is completely off base!

  76. Who is this Karen person? She seems to just be here to cause trouble…

  77. if zionits who govern USA bark day and night about human rights so why they blame obam about his right to choose his religion depeste we all now he’s christian

  78. all I can say ignorance and stupity are not a shortage 2 somr people. Like this dumd woman and Rick -whats his name

  79. @Karen. You have so much to be thankful for. But be weary,for there will come a time when your country will regret that the only true freedom you enjoyed was but a phantom,or a state of make-believe, that was predestined for all of what was The United states of America. If America could only see themselves through the eyes of another.

  80. Please read the whole article! The above quote is a comment from a town hall meeting in which Santorum answered: “Well look, I’m doing my best to get him out of the government right now, and you’re right about how he uniformly ignores the constitution. He did this with these appointments over the recess that was not a recess, and if I was in the United States Senate I would be drawing the line.”

  81. If not the whole article, at least some of it so you would understand the context of the quote.

  82. I don’t think you should have posted this as if Blumenfeld approved ot those statements.

  83. who is this nutbrain$

  84. Jennifer..they didn’t post it that way. They assume their readers are not a bunch of third graders and should know how to read an article before commenting on it. Or at least know how to read the headline correctly.

  85. This is not a comment from Blumenfeld. He was quoting a woman in the audience of a Santorum rally. This is really not a fair representation of this man! Get your facts straight AAI.

  86. I would love him to reference those times when OUR PRESIDENT said that ‘our constitution is passe’! give me a break!

  87. @Laura, read the admin. explanation above.

  88. An exceedingly well written article. Very well done. You voice the very reasons why I want to move to a different country more and more often better than I ever could.

  89. “Muslamic Ray Guns EDL (Original)” on YouTube will make y’ feel a little bit better about America in comparison t’ the rest of the world, or at least England. There are brainless idiots everywhere. Worth a watch if y’ need cheering up.

  90. When did it become a crime to be Muslim? President Obama has my support and vote.

  91. Santorum is uber-jerk.

  92. Just another neurotic, ignorant jerk.

  93. Maybe you should read the bill of rights. On second thought you get facts before you ever write or speak. My guess is you won’t do it.

  94. Shouldn’t warren J Blumenfeld be in Israel? If Oboma is not American either is this Jew.Paste fucking trash is what he is.

  95. I sure hope that is a quote that you forgot to reference.

  96. What a friggin moron.

  97. Conservative media like Fox News and talk radio “immerse their audience in a total environment of pseudo-facts and pretend information.”

    This quote sounds like it may have come from a liberal pundit or Democratic politician but it’s actually a quote from David Frum, a Republican.

  98. There’s nothing being done b/c of a little thing called separation of church and state.

  99. Oh for shits sake…@Ahmed …read the article. Blumenfeld wrote the article about Santorum and Islamophobia.. He (Blumenfeld) is against Islamophobia.

  100. Ahmed Mohamed, shouldn’t you read the ****ing thing before you make knee-jerk statements that just make you look the xenophobic arsehole of the situation. Check it out, read the whole article and realise that just as not every Muslim is a terrorist not every Jew is a Zionist, not every Christian is a crusader and not every person with a different opinion is a demon. Education starts with the desire to learn and peace begins with education.

  101. Comrade then why are Muslim countries the most unstable? Try harder.

  102. Is that a banjo I hear?

  103. @ Rachel OKelly: Really, the only unstable countries are Muslim countries? That’s funny, because I thought Colombia, D.R. Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Cote D’Ivoire, Central African Republic, South Sudan, etc are Christian-majority countries. Look it up.

  104. Take your racist bullshit out of here, Rachel. Why do you have to come to spread your poison on a page about tolerance when there are a thousand bigot pages where your crap will be welcomed with open arms? Piss off.

  105. Ha ha. Looks like Rachel O’Kelly got pwned!

  106. True, and neither can we tolerate jewhatred and the hatred for people of the book. Solution: if the muslims start showing respect for non-muslims, the islamofophobia will melt like snow under the hot African sun.

  107. he is not a muslim..never was never will be..

  108. @Kafir Harby:

    The Qur’an respects the Ahl al Kitab because they follow God’s previous revelations. It distinguishes between good Christians and good Jews and bad Christians and bad Jews:

    “And do not dispute with the followers of the Book except by what is best, except those of them who act unjustly, and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him do we submit.” [Quran 29:46]

    “Not all of them are alike; a party of the people of the Scripture stand for the right, they recite the Verses of God during the hours of the night, prostrating themselves in prayer. They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin Al-Ma’rûf and forbid Al-Munkar ; and they hasten in (all) good works; and they are among the righteous. And whatever good they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for God knows well those who are Al-Muttaqûn.”(3:113-115).

    “And there are, certainly, among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), those who believe in God and in that which has been revealed to you, and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before God. They do not sell the Verses of God for a little price, for them is a reward with their Lord. Surely, God is Swift in account.” ‘(3:199)’

    “Verily! Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in God and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” [Quran 2:62]

    “Say (O Muhammad ): ‘O people of the Scripture : Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but God, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides God.'” [Quran 3:64]

    Try reading the Qur’an instead of GeehadWatch/Atlas Drugs all the time.

    We do respect non-Muslims and their right to practice their religions. It is our religious obligation:

    “Say, ‘O disbelievers,
    I do not worship what you worship.
    Nor are you worshippers of what I worship.
    Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship.
    Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship.
    For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.'” [Qur’an 109]

    The Qur’an says that idol worship and polytheism are the worst sin(s) possible, since they associate others with the Creator. And yet, the Qur’an commands Muslims:

    “And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah , lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do.” [Qur’an 6:108]

    Also, this site has articles with interfaith events and charities that Muslims participate in. This site also has articles with Islamic condemnations of terrorism and violence against non-Muslims. I’ve seen you trolling around on this site long enough to have noticed those articles. Try to actually read the content of this site.

Have your say!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>