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Commentary Whitewashes Discrimination

8 May 2012 General 21 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

by , the daily beast

Only three weeks since Passover, and some people already need refreshers.

Over at Commentary, Jonathan Tobin argues that Islamophobia in the United States must be a myth because… look! the Muslims are breeding like rabbits. Citing newly released census data showing that the population of American Muslims more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, Tobin asks: “Is it possible or even likely that Islam would be thriving in the United States if it were not a society that is welcoming Muslims with open arms and providing a safe environment for people to openly practice this faith?”

Muslims women gather for a special Eid ul-Fitr morning prayer at the Los Angeles Convention Center on August 30, 2011 in Los Angeles, California (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

Muslims women gather for a special Eid ul-Fitr morning prayer at the Los Angeles Convention Center on August 30, 2011 in Los Angeles, California (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

Yes, it’€™s very possible. Let’s start with the Passover story: in particular, Exodus 1:12, in which the Egyptians discover that, “€œthe more they afflicted [the Israelites], the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad.” It looks like Tobin skipped that section of the haggadah.

And this Biblical wisdom holds up well under scrutiny: historically, discrimination and prejudice haven’€™t done much to hinder population growth. The African American population quadrupled (from under five million to nearly twenty million) between the end of the Civil War and the 1964 Civil Rights Act: does Tobin think that a century of Jim Crow, housing discrimination and the Ku Klux Klan provided Blacks “€œa safe environment”€? The fact is, Islam is growing everywhere: doubling over the last thirty years in Europe, and on pace to reach 2.2 billion worldwide by 2030 (it’€™s currently 1.6 billion). Its growth in America is just one piece of this broader trend.

Here’s another fact: Islamophobia is alive and well in America. Tobin claims that there are “€œno obstacles to Muslim advancement or systematic ill treatment.” Tell it to Hani Khan, who was fired from her job at Abercrombie & Fitch when she wouldn’€™t remove her headscarf. In 2009, Muslims filed 803 religious discrimination claims with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That’€™s about 25% of the total claims, even though Muslims make up, according to the Pew Research Center, less than 1% of the American population. Resumes with Muslim names get lower response rates from employment firms than resumes with names from any other ethnic or religious group. And it extends beyond employment. In a 2010 Gallup poll, 43% of Americans self-reported some prejudice against Muslims, compared to 15% for Jews and 18% for Christians.

What’€™s sad is that we’€™ve seen all this before. Muslims aren’€™t the first religious group to be accused of cooperating with America’€™s international enemies. Just as Muslims today are called terrorists, American Jews were once tarred as the servants of Moscow. Similarly, attempts to outlaw Sharia recall centuries of anti-Semitic paranoia about Jewish religious law. In every generation, my haggadah teaches me, bigots rise up to discriminate against and attack minorities. If Jonathan Tobin cannot see that, if he continues to turn a blind eye to the oppression of Muslims among us, well then, I’€™ve got a couple more Bible verses he ought to read.

Original post: Commentary Whitewashes Discrimination


  1. The trouble of it is that if you announce that you are better than everyone else, and everyone else is trash worthy of death, and that you are going to take over the gov. replace it with a theocracy, impose your will, etc.

    Some people will think that you are the ones that should be destroyed, expelled, etc.

  2. Wait. What?

  3. Even further back people opposed Irish immigration because they thought the Irish were Papists and would turn America into a Papal state.

  4. Some one should shoot him in the face and say ooops I though guns were a myth

  5. Tobin should be ashamed of himself.

  6. I wish there were intelligence tests for Americans taking on positions in media and politics. Perhaps just some guidelines on staying within your field of study before you parrot on about the harms of vaccines or the threat of immigration, or calling someone a socialist. Where is their ‘War on Stupidity’?

  7. Breeding? What, are we animals now? Since when is family building termed “breeding”?

  8. Any one else notice how these arguments are constantly recycled- only the target group changes. At one time it was Native Americans, another time Asians, another time Irish, another time Italians, another time African Americans, etc. Hatred has no originality.

  9. Well, I read the actual article. He did not say “breed like rabbits.” He did, however, twist the federal hate crime statistics. Although it is true that Jews are usually the target of religiously motivated hate crimes, the percentage has been decreasing. HATE CRIMES against MUSLIMS have been INCREASING.

    “Hate crimes against Muslims has been steadily increasing.
    In 2010, only 13.2 percent of religion-based attacks were directed at Muslims. By comparison, 65.4 percent of such crimes were directed at Jews. In 2009, the FBI reported that 70.1 percent of religious-based hate crimes were anti-Jewish while only 9.3 percent were anti-Islamic. In 2008, the FBI said 66.1 percent were anti-Jewish while 7.5 percent were anti-Muslim.

  10. Here’s the article. It’s flawed, but at least he didn’t say anything about family size. We should make sure to criticize people for what they actually say. Otherwise, it destroys our credibility.

  11. Muslims live much freer lives in the US then they do in almost any majority Muslim country.While non-Muslims living in majority Muslim countries can only dream of enjoying the rights and freedoms Muslims take for granted in the US.Non-Muslims living under Sharia are subject to discrimination, intolerance and violence on a daily basis from the Muslim majority.

  12. the passover myth only shows the brutality of the god of abraham. killing innocent male children. seriously?????????? people still worship this “god”??????????

  13. I wonder how many of those anti-Jewish hate crimes were done by muslims.

  14. Holy shit Muslims are the new Jews.

  15. I don’t think Jews were accused of breeding. Catholics were. Mormons, now, they really go at it.

  16. We are all in it together.

  17. Oh really? Nice to be welcomed to the shitpile. When am I getting my housewarming party LOL?

  18. Oh really? Nice to be welcomed to the shitpile. When am I getting my housewarming party LOL?

  19. Zainab Jabhawiyeh,

    yes we are animals. mammals, primates, homo sapiens we breed just like any other animal. well not just like other animals. i think us along with otters are the only animals that can breed face to face? it’s been 25 years since i took a biology class, could be wrong there? amazing what offens some people.

  20. Anytime. You bring the falafel, I’ll bring the S’hug (Israeli hot sauce.)

  21. Mormons have the edge. Their church materially helps parents.

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