The Lies of Islamophobia


 By John Feffer / TomDispatch
 
The Muslims were bloodthirsty and treacherous. They conducted a sneak attack against the French army and slaughtered every single soldier, 20,000 in all. More than 1,000 years ago, in the mountain passes of Spain, the Muslim horde cut down the finest soldiers in Charlemagne’s command, including his brave nephew Roland. Then, according to the famous poem that immortalized the tragedy, Charlemagne exacted his revenge by routing the entire Muslim army.
 
The Song of Roland, an eleventh century rendering in verse of an eighth century battle, is a staple of Western Civilization classes at colleges around the country. A “masterpiece of epic drama,” in the words of its renowned translator Dorothy Sayers, it provides a handy preface for students before they delve into readings on the Crusades that began in 1095. More ominously, the poem has schooled generations of Judeo-Christians to view Muslims as perfidious enemies who once threatened the very foundations of Western civilization.
 
The problem, however, is that the whole epic is built on a curious falsehood. The army that fell upon Roland and his Frankish soldiers was not Muslim at all. In the real battle of 778, the slayers of the Franks were Christian Basques furious at Charlemagne for pillaging their city of Pamplona. Not epic at all, the battle emerged from a parochial dispute in the complex wars of medieval Spain. Only later, as kings and popes and knights prepared to do battle in the First Crusade, did an anonymous bard repurpose the text to serve the needs of an emerging cross-against-crescent holy war.
 
Similarly, we think of the Crusades as the archetypal “clash of civilizations” between the followers of Jesus and the followers of Mohammed. In the popular version of those Crusades, the Muslim adversary has, in fact, replaced a remarkable range of peoples the Crusaders dealt with as enemies, including Jews killed in pogroms on the way to the Holy Land, rival Catholics slaughtered in the Balkans and in Constantinople, and Christian heretics hunted down in southern France.
 
Much later, during the Cold War, mythmakers in Washington performed a similar act, substituting a monolithic crew labeled “godless communists” for a disparate group of anti-imperial nationalists in an attempt to transform conflicts in remote locations like Vietnam, Guatemala, and Iran into epic struggles between the forces of the Free World and the forces of evil. In recent years, the Bush administration did it all over again by portraying Arab nationalists as fiendish Islamic fundamentalist when we invaded Iraq and prepared to topple the regime in Syria.
 
Similar mythmaking continues today. The recent surge of Islamophobia in the United States has drawn strength from several extraordinary substitutions. A clearly Christian president has become Muslim in the minds of a significant number of Americans. The thoughtful Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan has become a closet fundamentalist in the writings of Paul Berman and others. And an Islamic center in lower Manhattan, organized by proponents of interfaith dialogue, has become an extremist “mosque at Ground Zero” in the TV appearances, political speeches, and Internet sputterings of a determined clique of right-wing activists.
 
This transformation of Islam into a violent caricature of itself — as if Ann Coulter had suddenly morphed into the face of Christianity — comes at a somewhat strange juncture in the United States. Anti-Islamic rhetoric and hate crimes, which spiked immediately after September 11, 2001, had been on the wane. No major terrorist attack had taken place in the U.S. or Europe since the London bombings in 2005. The current American president had reached out to the Muslim world and retired the controversial acronym GWOT, or “Global War on Terror.”
 
All the elements seemed in place, in other words, for us to turn the page on an ugly chapter in our history. Yet it’s as if we remain fixed in the eleventh century in a perpetual battle of “us” against “them.” Like the undead rising from their coffins, our previous “crusades” never go away.  Indeed, we still seem to be fighting the three great wars of the millennium, even though two of these conflicts have long been over and the third has been rhetorically reduced to “overseas contingency operations.” The Crusades, which finally petered out in the seventeenth century, continue to shape our global imagination today. The Cold War ended in 1991, but key elements of the anti-communism credo have been awkwardly grafted onto the new Islamist adversary. And the Global War on Terror, which President Obama quietly renamed shortly after taking office, has in fact metastasized into the wars that his administration continues to prosecute in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere.
 
Those in Europe and the United States who cheer on these wars claim that they are issuing a wake-up call about the continued threat of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other militants who claim the banner of Islam. However, what really keeps Islamophobes up at night is not the marginal and backwards-looking Islamic fundamentalists but rather the growing economic, political, and global influence of modern, mainstream Islam. Examples of Islam successfully grappling with modernity abound, from Turkey’s new foreign policy and Indonesia’s economic muscle to the Islamic political parties participating in elections in Lebanon, Morocco, and Jordan. Instead of providing reassurance, however, these trends only incite Islamophobes to intensify their battles to “save” Western civilization.
 
As long as our unfinished wars still burn in the collective consciousness — and still rage in Kabul, Baghdad, Sana’a, and the Tribal Areas of Pakistan — Islamophobia will make its impact felt in our media, politics, and daily life. Only if we decisively end the millennial Crusades, the half-century Cold War, and the decade-long War on Terror (under whatever name) will we overcome the dangerous divide that has consumed so many lives, wasted so much wealth, and distorted our very understanding of our Western selves.
 
The Crusades Continue
 
With their irrational fear of spiders, arachnophobes are scared of both harmless daddy longlegs and poisonous brown recluse spiders. In extreme cases, an arachnophobe can break out in a sweat while merely looking at photos of spiders. It is, of course, reasonable to steer clear of black widows. What makes a legitimate fear into an irrational phobia, however, is the tendency to lump all of any group, spiders or humans, into one lethal category and then to exaggerate how threatening they are. Spider bites, after all, are responsible for at most a handful of deaths a year in the United States.
 
Islamophobia is, similarly, an irrational fear of Islam. Yes, certain Muslim fundamentalists have been responsible for terrorist attacks, certain fantasists about a “global caliphate” continue to plot attacks on perceived enemies, and certain groups like Afghanistan’s Taliban and Somalia’s al-Shabaab practice medieval versions of the religion. But Islamophobes confuse these small parts with the whole and then see terrorist jihad under every Islamic pillow. They break out in a sweat at the mere picture of an imam.
 
Irrational fears are often rooted in our dimly remembered childhoods. Our irrational fear of Islam similarly seems to stem from events that happened in the early days of Christendom. Three myths inherited from the era of the Crusades constitute the core of Islamophobia today: Muslims are inherently violent, Muslims want to take over the world, and Muslims can’t be trusted.
 
The myth of Islam as a “religion of the sword” was a staple of Crusader literature and art. In fact, the atrocities committed by Muslim leaders and armies — and there were some — rarely rivaled the slaughters of the Crusaders, who retook Jerusalem in 1099 in a veritable bloodbath. “The heaps of the dead presented an immediate problem for the conquerors,”writes Christopher Tyerman in God’s War. “Many of the surviving Muslim population were forced to clear the streets and carry the bodies outside the walls to be burnt in great pyres, whereat they themselves were massacred.” Jerusalem’s Jews suffered a similar fate when the Crusaders burned many of them alive in their main synagogue. Four hundred years earlier, by contrast, Caliph ‘Umar put no one to the sword when he took over Jerusalem, signing a pact with the Christian patriarch Sophronius that pledged “no compulsion in religion.”
 
This myth of the inherently violent Muslim endures. Islam “teaches violence,” televangelist Pat Robertson proclaimedin 2005. “The Koran teaches violence and most Muslims, including so-called moderate Muslims, openly believe in violence,” was the way Major General Jerry Curry (U.S. Army, ret.), who served in the Carter, Reagan, and Bush Sr. administrations, put it.
 
The Crusaders justified their violence by arguing that Muslims were bent on taking over the world. In its early days, the expanding Islamic empire did indeed imagine an ever-growing dar-es-Islam (House of Islam). By the time of the Crusades, however, this initial burst of enthusiasm for holy war had long been spent. Moreover, the Christian West harbored its own set of desires when it came to extending the Pope’s authority to every corner of the globe. Even that early believer in soft power, Francis of Assisi, sat down with Sultan al-Kamil during the Fifth Crusade with the aim of eliminating Islam through conversion.
 
Today, Islamophobes portray the building of Cordoba House in lower Manhattan as just another gambit in this millennial power grab: “This is Islamic domination and expansionism,” writes right-wing blogger Pamela Geller, who made the “Ground Zero Mosque” into a media obsession. “Islam is a religion with a very political agenda,” warns ex-Muslim Ali Sina. “The ultimate goal of Islam is to rule the world.”
 
These two myths — of inherent violence and global ambitions — led to the firm conviction that Muslims were by nature untrustworthy. Robert of Ketton, a twelfth century translator of the Koran, was typical in badmouthing the prophet Mohammad this way: “Like the liar you are, you everywhere contradict yourself.” The suspicion of untrustworthiness fell as well on any Christian who took up the possibility of coexistence with Islam. Pope Gregory, for instance, believed that the thirteenth century Crusader Frederick II was the Anti-Christ himself because he developed close relationships with Muslims.
 
For Islamophobes today, Muslims abroad are similarly terrorists-in-waiting. As for Muslims at home, “American Muslims must face their either/or,” writes the novelist Edward Cline, “to repudiate Islam or remain a quiet, sanctioning fifth column.” Even American Muslims in high places, like Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), are not above suspicion. In a 2006 CNN interview, Glenn Beck said, “I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.’”
 
These three myths of Islamophobia flourish in our era, just as they did almost a millennium ago, because of a cunning conflation of a certain type of Islamic fundamentalism with Islam itself. Bill O’Reilly was neatly channeling this Crusader mindset when he asserted recently that “the Muslim threat to the world is not isolated. It’s huge!”  When Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence William Boykin, in an infamous 2003 sermon, thundered “What I’m here to do today is to recruit you to be warriors of God’s kingdom,” he was issuing the Crusader call to arms.
But O’Reilly and Boykin, who represent the violence, duplicity, and expansionist mind-set of today’s Western crusaders, were also invoking a more recent tradition, closer in time and far more familiar.
 
The Totalitarian Myth
 
In 1951, the CIA and the emerging anti-communist elite, including soon-to-be-president Dwight Eisenhower, created the Crusade for Freedom as a key component of a growing psychological warfare campaign against the Soviet Union and the satellite countries it controlled in Eastern Europe. The language of this “crusade” was intentionally religious. It reached out to “peoples deeply rooted in the heritage of western civilization,” living under the “crushing weight of a godless dictatorship.” In its call for the liberation of the communist world, it echoed the nearly thousand-year-old crusader rhetoric of “recovering” Jerusalem and other outposts of Christianity.
 
In the theology of the Cold War, the Soviet Union replaced the Islamic world as the untrustworthy infidel. However unconsciously, the old crusader myths about Islam translated remarkably easily into governing assumptions about the communist enemy: the Soviets and their allies were bent on taking over the world, could not be trusted with their rhetoric of peaceful coexistence, imperiled Western civilization, and fought with unique savagery as well as a willingness to martyr themselves for the greater ideological good.
 
Ironically, Western governments were so obsessed with fighting this new scourge that, in the Cold War years, on the theory that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, they nurtured radical Islam as a weapon. As journalist Robert Dreyfuss ably details in his book The Devil’s Game, the U.S. funding of the mujahideen in Afghanistan was only one part of the anti-communist crusade in the Islamic world. To undermine Arab nationalists and leftists who might align themselves with the Soviet Union, the United States (and Israel) worked with Iranian mullahs, helped create Hamas, and facilitated the spread of the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Though the Cold War ended with the sudden disappearance of the Soviet Union in 1991, that era’s mind-set — and so many of the Cold Warriors sporting it — never went with it. The prevailing mythology was simply transferred back to the Islamic world.  In anti-communist theology, for example, the worst curse word was “totalitarianism,” said to describe the essence of the all-encompassing Soviet state and system. According to the gloss that early neoconservative Jeanne Kirkpatrick provided in her book Dictatorships and Double Standards, the West had every reason to support right-wing authoritarian dictatorships because they would steadfastly oppose left-wing totalitarian dictatorships, which, unlike the autocracies we allied with, were supposedly incapable of internal reform.
 
According to the new “Islamo-fascism” school — and its acolytes like Norman Podhoretz, David Horowitz, Bill O’Reilly, Pamela Geller — the fundamentalists are simply the “new totalitarians,” as hidebound, fanatical, and incapable of change as communists. For a more sophisticated treatment of the Islamo-fascist argument, check out Paul Berman, a rightward-leaning liberal intellectual who has tried to demonstrate that “moderate Muslims” are fundamentalists in reformist clothing.
These Cold Warriors all treat the Islamic world as an undifferentiated mass — in spirit, a modern Soviet Union — where Arab governments and radical Islamists work hand in glove. They simply fail to grasp that the Syrian, Egyptian, and Saudi Arabian governments have launched their own attacks on radical Islam. The sharp divides between the Iranian regime and the Taliban, between the Jordanian government and the Palestinians, between Shi’ites and Sunni in Iraq, and even among Kurds all disappear in the totalitarian blender, just as anti-communists generally failed to distinguish between the Communist hardliner Leonid Brezhnev and the Communist reformer Mikhail Gorbachev.
 
At the root of terrorism, according to Berman, are “immense failures of political courage and imagination within the Muslim world,” rather than the violent fantasies of a group of religious outliers or the Crusader-ish military operations of the West. In other words, something flawed at the very core of Islam itself is responsible for the violence done in its name — a line of argument remarkably similar to one Cold Warriors made about communism.
 
All of this, of course, represents a mirror image of al-Qaeda’s arguments about the inherent perversities of the infidel West. As during the Cold War, hardliners reinforce one another.
 
The persistence of Crusader myths and their transposition into a Cold War framework help explain why the West is saddled with so many misconceptions about Islam. They don’t, however, explain the recent spike in Islamophobia in the U.S. after several years of relative tolerance. To understand this, we must turn to the third unfinished war: the Global War on Terror or GWOT, launched by George W. Bush.
 
Fanning the Flames
 
President Obama was careful to groom his Christian image during his campaign. He was repeatedly seen praying in churches, and he studiously avoided mosques. He did everything possible to efface the traces of Muslim identity in his past.
 
His opponents, of course, did just the opposite. They emphasized his middle name, Hussein, challenged his birth records, and asserted that he was too close to the Palestinian cause.  They also tried to turn liberal constituencies — particularly Jewish-American ones — against the presumptive president. Like Frederick II for an earlier generation of Christian fundamentalists, since entering the Oval Office Obama has become the Anti-Christ of the Islamophobes.
 
Once in power, he broke with Bush administration policies toward the Islamic world on a few points. He did indeed push ahead with his plan to remove combat troops from Iraq (with some important exceptions). He has attempted to pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to stop expanding settlements in occupied Palestinian lands and to negotiate in good faith (though he has done so without resorting to the kind of pressure that might be meaningful, like a cutback of or even cessation of U.S. arms exports to Israel). In a highly publicized speech in Cairo in June 2009, he also reached out rhetorically to the Islamic world at a time when he was also eliminating the name “Global War on Terror” from the government’s vocabulary.
 
For Muslims worldwide, however, GWOT itself continues. The United States has orchestrated a surge in Afghanistan. The CIA’s drone war in the Pakistani borderlands has escalated rapidly. U.S. Special Forces now operate in 75 countries, at least 15 more than during the Bush years. Meanwhile, Guantanamo remains open, the United States still practices extraordinary rendition, and assassination remains an active part of Washington’s toolbox.
 
The civilians killed in these overseas contingency operations are predominantly Muslim. The people seized and interrogated are mostly Muslim. The buildings destroyed are largely Muslim-owned. As a result, the rhetoric of “crusaders and imperialists” used by al-Qaeda falls on receptive ears. Despite his Cairo speech, the favorability rating of the United States in the Muslim world, already grim enough, has slid even further since Obama took office — in Egypt, from 41% in 2009 to 31% percent now; in Turkey, from 33% to 23%; and in Pakistan, from 13% to 8%.
 
The U.S. wars, occupations, raids, and repeated air strikes have produced much of this disaffection and, as political scientist Robert Pape has consistently argued, most of the suicide bombings and other attacks against Western troops and targets as well. This is revenge, not religion, talking — just as it was for Americans after September 11, 2001. As commentator M. Junaid Levesque-Alam astutely pointed out, “When three planes hurtled into national icons, did anger and hatred rise in American hearts only after consultation of Biblical verses?”
 
And yet those dismal polling figures do not actually reflect a rejection of Western values (despite Islamophobe assurances that they mean exactly that). “Numerous polls that we have conducted,” writes pollster Stephen Kull, “as well as others by the World Values Survey and Arab Barometer, show strong support in the Muslim world for democracy, for human rights, and for an international order based on international law and a strong United Nations.”
 
In other words, nine years after September 11th a second spike in Islamophobia and in home-grown terrorist attacks like that of the would-be Times Square bomber has been born of two intersecting pressures: American critics of Obama’s foreign policy believe that he has backed away from the major civilizational struggle of our time, even as many in the Muslim world see Obama-era foreign policy as a continuation, even an escalation, of Bush-era policies of war and occupation.
Here is the irony: alongside the indisputable rise of fundamentalism over the last two decades, only some of it oriented towards violence, the Islamic world has undergone a shift which deep-sixes the cliché that Islam has held countries back from political and economic development. “Since the early 1990s, 23 Muslim countries have developed more democratic institutions, with fairly run elections, energized and competitive political parties, greater civil liberties, or better legal protections for journalists,” writes Philip Howard in The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. Turkey has emerged as a vibrant democracy and a major foreign policy player. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, is now the largest economy in Southeast Asia and the eighteenth largest economy in the world.
 
Are Islamophobes missing this story of mainstream Islam’s accommodation with democracy and economic growth? Or is it this story (not Islamo-fascism starring al-Qaeda) that is their real concern?
 
The recent preoccupations of Islamophobes are telling in this regard. Pamela Geller, after all, was typical in the way she went after not a radical mosque, but an Islamic center about two blocks from Ground Zero proposed by a proponent of interfaith dialogue. As journalist Stephen Salisbury writes, “The mosque controversy is not really about a mosque at all; it’s about the presence of Muslims in America, and the free-floating anxiety and fear that now dominate the nation’s psyche.” For her latest venture, Geller is pushing a boycott of Campbell’s Soup because it accepts halal certification — the Islamic version of kosher certification by a rabbi — from the Islamic Society of North America, a group which, by the way, has gone out of its way to denounce religious extremism.
 
Paul Berman, meanwhile, has devoted his latest book, The Flight of the Intellectuals, to deconstructing the arguments not of Osama bin-Laden or his ilk, but of Tariq Ramadan, the foremost mainstream Islamic theologian. Ramadan is a man firmly committed to breaking down the old distinctions between “us” and “them.” Critical of the West for colonialism, racism, and other ills, he also challenges the injustices of the Islamic world. He is far from a fundamentalist.
 
And what country, by the way, has exercised European Islamophobes more than any other? Pakistan? Saudi Arabia? Taliban Afghanistan?  No, the answer is: Turkey. “The Turks are conquering Germany in the same way the Kosovars conquered Kosovo: by using higher birth-rates,” argues Germany’s Islamophobe du jour, Thilo Sarrazin, a member of Germany’s Social Democratic Party. The far right has even united around a Europe-wide referendum to keep Turkey out of the European Union.
 
Despite his many defects, George W. Bush at least knew enough to distinguish Islam from Islamism. By targeting a perfectly normal Islamic center, a perfectly normal Islamic scholar, and a perfectly normal Islamic country — all firmly in the mainstream of that religion — the Islamophobes have actually declared war on normalcy, not extremism.
 
The victories of the tea party movement and the increased power of Republican militants in Congress, not to mention the renaissance of the far right in Europe, suggest that we will be living with this Islamophobia and the three unfinished wars of the West against the Rest for some time. The Crusades lasted hundreds of years. Let’s hope that Crusade 2.0, and the dark age that we find ourselves in, has a far shorter lifespan.

  1. #1 by Sean on November 22, 2010 - 6:32 am

    When the British entered Basra back in 03 they displayed the “Cross of St George” on their vehicles and not the Union Jack. It smacked of the “Crusade” to me then and still does. With every generation in the Western culture steeped in the Christian traditions and taught the propagandised version of the “Crusades” is it any wonder. The people behind the continuance of an ancient war are clearly and collectively insane and a glaring example of that insanity is Israel and American manipulating the world based on pathetically stupid biblical stories demanding the rebirth of Zion and the return of the Jews to their promised land. Jews are a modern invention and back in the time of the “old testament” Judea and Israel were at war. Back then, according to the scholars, there were no Jews. There were Judeans there were Hebrews there were Israelites and a variety of other tribal factions but no Jews. History is made up of 80% lies. The dates and the characters that peopled history are about the only real thing about most historical accounts that are invariably written to suit the politics of the day.
    Bullshit is what bullshit does. Good article.

  2. #2 by Greg Bacon on November 22, 2010 - 12:05 pm

    Only later, as kings and popes and knights prepared to do battle in the First Crusade, did an anonymous bard repurpose the text to serve the needs of an emerging cross-against-crescent holy war.

    Probably an ancestor of ‘Sir’ Rupert.

    Israel, for YOUR 9/11 FALSE FLAG, This is for You

    For using your Zionist owned and controlled MSM to spread fear, lies, distortions, and portraying all Muslims as being some type of demonic throat-slitters, who love death more than life.

    Numerous Arab/Muslim countries destroyed (And Persia in your sights); millions murdered (all non-Jews, of course); millions more homeless. Millions of children, orphans of the streets, since your devious, underhanded, back-stabbing 9/11 FALSE FLAG scared the USA into fighting countries you hate, like Iraq and letting the Pentagon turn those beautiful children into orphans.

    Like Lebanon, whose River Litani’s water you so greedily desire.

    The once prosperous nation of Iraq, wrecked beyond recognition thanks to your Congressional lap-dogs wagging their tails and telling the Pentagon to ‘Shock and Awe” the hell out of that once beautiful country.

    For stealing the land of the indigenous Palestinains of the West Bank thru terror; burning of the farmer’s olive groves and bulldozing their homes, so your greedy Orthodox Hasidic crazies can steal to their cold, blackened heart’s content.

    But most of all, for the trapped peace-loving people caged inside of the world’s largest open air prison/ CONCENTRATION CAMP, the wonderful Palestinians of Gaza.

    And to all those people you helped MURDER on 9/11 to trick the USA into becoming a carbon-copy of you mean, sadistic, hate-filled things–can’t call you human, you don’t fit the definition.

    For all that and more, Israel, this is for YOU.

    Dedicated to some of the major 9/11 FALSE FLAG architects, Israeli CRIME MINISTER ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu and Israel’s Minister of War, Ehud Barak

    FOX Zionist Stooge Hannity vs. Ted Rall

    A quote on the ‘Youtube’ page that pretty well says it all about Hannity:

    “To call Hannity a douchebag is an insult to douchebags!”

    http://careandwashingofthebrain.blogspot.com/2010/11/israel-for-your-911-false-flag-this-is.html

  3. #3 by Mahmoud El-Yousseph on November 22, 2010 - 12:25 pm

    Thanks for the history lesson and for your perspective. I have learned something new.
    I totally agree with your last last paragraph, as it sums it all up.

  4. #4 by B.A.Frémaux-Soormally on November 22, 2010 - 12:30 pm

    John Feffer / TomDispatch
    “Similar mythmaking continues today.”

    VERY INFORMATIVE ARTICLE. THANKS.

    The White House employs the POPE OF MYTHMAKING, one Philip Zelikow (always one of those damned Huns!) and the Americans never studied history and think that MYTHS are to be found only in Hindu or Greek literature!

    So, those fools buy all the myths their government feeds them with.

    Another French Myth was that the “Arabs” were stopped (or defeated) by Charles Martel at Poitiers. The fact was the the Muslims with their entire families LEFT France maybe because they saw nothing worth staying for or mayby nobody worthwhile to Bring CIVILISATION.

    When Charles Martel arrived on site, THE MUSLIMS HAD ALREADY LEFT!

    BAFS

  5. #5 by beebok on November 22, 2010 - 5:41 pm

    I am a Muslim living in the USA. I believe that part of the reason that the USA has had a fear of things like communism or Islam is because “fear sells.” For example, television news can get higher ratings by declaring that it is reporting on something dangerous to people such as some disease, and then exaggerating the dangers. Politicians can acquire greater popularity by claiming that they are protecting people from some danger, and so the politicians are tempted to exaggerate those dangers. I recall Ronald Reagan claiming that Nicaragua was dangerous and only a few hours drive away from US borders. I remember near panic from a relatively mild strain of influenza. Sensationalism from politicians and the media is part of it. A lack of emphasis on intellectualism in the culture is part of it. A desire for the excitement of fear to offset a blase materialism is also part of it, though not often mentioned. Having an enemy and the “other” creates a sense of “us,” of commonality and community for lonely and estranged Americans.
    Political rhetoric and media sensationalism are frequently sited reasons for the fearfulness amongst Americans. Other reasons which should be mentioned also include a lack of value for individual scholarship, a desire for excitement out of a dull life of empty materialism, and the sense of togetherness that comes with having an imagined enemy appeals to the loneliness perpetuated by capitalist individualism.

  6. #6 by B.A.Frémaux-Soormally on November 23, 2010 - 12:17 am

    Greg Bacon says:
    November 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    “Israel, for YOUR 9/11 FALSE FLAG, This is for You”

    APPALLINGLY EXACT!

    BAFS

  7. #7 by avenzaor on November 23, 2010 - 2:01 am

    I thank John Feffer for excellent article which mentions many events in passing. In order to give proper context to three of these events, I have added my notes below.

    John Feffer says: “… In the popular version of those Crusades, the Muslim adversary has, in fact, replaced a remarkable range of peoples the Crusaders dealt with as enemies, including Jews killed in pogroms on the way to the Holy Land, rival Catholics slaughtered in the Balkans and in Constantinople, and Christian heretics hunted down in southern France.”

    The “Christian heretics” hunted down in southern France is a reference to the ‘Poor Men of Lyons’ and Paulician Catharii. As mentioned in http://www.cyberistan.org/islamic/crusades1.htm,

    “the ‘Poor Men of Lyons’, who wore robes and sandals, emulating Jesus, soon met with opposition from the Official (Catholic) Church, for they refused to worship Jesus as God….In about 1190, they joined with the Paulician Catharii. Their numbers were now so large that the Catholic Church was in danger of being superseded and replaced by them. They rejected the whole structure of the priesthood of the Official Church as an innovation, for they knew that every human being has direct access to God. They had their own gospels, written in Romance. These were accessible to all who wished to read them, which was very popular with the people who, under the rule of the Catholic Church, had very little access even to the official gospels.

    “Thus for instance Fra. Fulgentio was reprimanded by the Pope in a letter saying, ‘Preaching of the Scriptures is a suspicious thing. He who keeps close to the Scripture will ruin the Catholic faith.’ In his next letter he was more explicit, warning against too much insistence on the scriptures ‘which is a book if anyone keeps close to, he will quite destroy the Catholic Church.'”

    “The leaders of the Vatican must have seen the marked similarity between Islam and Unitarianism as preached by Arius. Both believed in One God. Both accepted Jesus as a prophet who nevertheless was still a man. Both believed in the Virgin Mary and in the immaculate conception of Jesus, and both accepted the Holy Spirit but rejected the divinity which had been attributed to him. So the hatred for the Arians was transferred to the Muslims. Looking at the Crusades with this perspective they cease to be an isolated phenomenon of Church history, but become an extension of the massacre of the Arians by the Pauline church.”

    John Feffer says: “… Four hundred years earlier, by contrast, Caliph ‘Umar put no one to the sword when he took over Jerusalem, signing a pact with the Christian patriarch Sophronius that pledged “no compulsion in religion.””

    This occurred in 637 CE, five years after the death of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Caliph ‘Umar was the second caliph (634-644 CE) after the Prophet and was among the Prophet’s closest associates.

    John Feffer says: “… Even that early believer in soft power, Francis of Assisi, sat down with Sultan al-Kamil during the Fifth Crusade with the aim of eliminating Islam through conversion.”

    This refers to the year 1217 when Crusaders invaded Egypt to soften their battle front for capture of Jerusalem. Sultan Kamil (of Ayyubid Dynasty) ruled Egypt, Syria and Palestine between 1218-1237, and he was the third successor (a family relative) to Sultan Salah-ud-din (Saladin) who recovered Jerusalem to Muslim rule in 1187. I have not read anywhere in Muslim chronicles about the efforts to convert Sultan Kamil to Christianity. No doubt there were embassies exchanged between Ayyubids and the Crusaders who after their defeat in 1187 were allowed by Saladin to settle in Tyre and other existing Christian settlelemnts in what is present Lebanon and northern Israel.

    After the defeat of the Crusaders in the Third Crusades (1187), Robert of St. Albans, an English Knights Templar, embraced Islam and eventually married a granddaughter of Sultan Salah-ud-Din. Several other senior Knight Templars also accepted Islam with him. Some Muslim historians think that this event of some Templars accepting Islam led to continued suspicion of Templars as a whole and which led to their elimination from France. What is not commonly known is that Sultan Kamil delivered Jerusalem to Fredrick II of Hohenstaufen, in return for protection from the intrigues of rival princes in his kingdom. There was actually no fight between Muslims and Crusaders in the Sixth Crusade. Jerusalem was finally liberated in 1244 after the defeat of the Crusaders by Ayyubid ruler Al-Salih..

  8. #8 by B.A.Frémaux-Soormally on November 23, 2010 - 4:42 am

    beebok says:
    November 22, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    “I am a Muslim living in the USA…”

    True Muslims do not hide their real identity unless their lives are threatened!

    Basheer Ahmad Frémaux-Soormally
    Greater Israel of the United Kingdom

  9. #9 by B.A.Frémaux-Soormally on November 23, 2010 - 9:19 am

    avenzaor says:
    November 23, 2010 at 2:01 am

    “…the massacre of the Arians by the Pauline church…”

    Isn’t it sad that modern Christians almost never mention the MILLIONS of Unitarian Christians the Roman Catholic Church had murdered in early Christian History!

    The Vatican is complicit in the massacre of Palestinians and Muslims around the world and also helped in demonising Islam!

    There are many dangerous Sects working for the Jews and the Western Fascists and mass murderers, and are helping them fighting mainstream Muslims.

    1. The Ismaili Sect (The Agha Khan Old Sect of the “Assassins” who murdered so many Muslim personalities in the past)

    2. The Bahai Sect (Bahaullah) created by the British to undermine Islam and represented at the UN and established in Apartheid Israel

    3. The Indian Ahmadi Sect. “The Times”, June 2008, is quoted by one of the worse enemies of Muslims and Islam, the London “Ahmadiyya” Association as saying:
    “The Khalifa’s emphasis and tolerance stands in striking contrast to the firebrand radicals that make the news pages.”

    So, the Muslim haters who orchestrated the dismantling of the Ottoman Khilaafah (1924) are ecstatic having been able to replace it with that monstrous Ahmadi Fifth Column operating in all countries where there are Muslim minorities and even in Pakistan under the guise of a religion of “LoveForAllHatredForNone”!

    According to the same Ahmadi source, the Head of the “Ahmadiyya” Community, one Mirza Masroor Ahmad, is quoted to have addressed the House of Commons in October 2008 as saying:

    “…I must say that every Ahmadi who lives in Great Britain is an extremely loyal citizen of the country and loves it; and this is because of the teachings of our Prophet [Muhammad] (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who instructed us that love of one’s country is an integral part of one’s faith.”

    But, Ahmadis are not Muslims but one of their worst enemies. This is the reason why they are so “extremely loyal” to the system of Kufr (anti-GOD), and they “love it”, of course. The Ahmadi leader was a Punjabi Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (hence the name Ahmadi), a drug addict, a bi-sexual and traitor who collaborated with the British Imperialists and fought the Muslims in occupied Hindustan. The Ahmadis rejoiced at the dismantling of the Ottoman Khilaafah, and established their own Ahmadi “Khalifa” in the Punjab with British support. Mirza himself was employed as a petty peon messenger, a kind of lowly paid civil servant by the British illegal occupiers of Hindustan.

    To please the British, those Ahmadi traitors and apostates abolished “Jihaad”! They never participated in any Muslim or Islamic Resistance against the oppressors or in any public demonstrations against any western tyrannical government, but will always demonstrate against any Muslim “tyrannical” government! They have their headquarters in both the UK and Apartheid Israel like the other Jewish Freemasonic manufactured Sects called the Bahaïs and the “Jehovah Witnesses”.

    The Punjabi leader of Muslim apostates, blasphemers and degenerates claimed to be the “Promised Messiah and the Imam Mahdi”, Jesus and Mary, the Sun and the Moon all in one. I believe opium to which he was addicted does cause those psychedelic effects to the point that Mirza even claimed to feel the pain of menstruation, and of child birth when he gave birth to Jesus! The letters he wrote and sent by recorded delivery to the Viceroy are evidence of his treachery and lunacy, including one he sent to his own brother telling him that it was GOD’s will (GOD spoke to him in a dream!) that he married his daughter. Of course, this never happened because his brother knew he was a pervert, a liar and a drug addict.

    If you want to have further evidence about the Ahmadi treachery, just ask them who murdered JFK and RFK, who bombed the USS Liberty, whether Israel has the right to exist on Palestinian land, and who carried out the Oklahoma, 9/11, 7/7, Madrid bombings, and what they think of Brother Malcom X, Sheikh Usama Bin Ladin or the Jewish Holocaust!

    The Ahmadis in Britain have started lately knocking at our doors to give us their leaflets in an attempt to make us join their Sect. The New Statesman, August 2006 call the Ahmadis:

    “…the most educated, organised and disciplined of all Muslim communities in Britain.”

    BUT AHMADIS ARE NOT MUSLIMS ALTHOUGH MANY OF THEM DO NOT REALISE THIS!

    4. The Freemasonic Sect of the “Jehovah Witnesses”.

    5. Zionists Christians, Evangelicals and Pentecostals contribute a lot in the demonisation of Muslims and Islam and even finance wars to exterminate Arabs and Muslims.

    BAFS

  10. #10 by Avenzoar on December 1, 2010 - 6:48 pm

    Relevant to this article, I quote a few lines from Marmaduke Pickthall’s 1927 lecture on Tolerance in Islam, one of a series of Madras Lectures:

    “If Europe had known as much of Islam, as Muslims knew of Christendom, in those days, those mad, adventurous, occasionally chivalrous and heroic, but utterly fanatical outbreak known as the Crusades could not have taken place, for they were based on a complete misapprehension.

    “Innumerable monasteries, with a wealth of treasure of which the worth has been calculated at not less than a hundred millions sterling, enjoyed the benefit of the Holy Prophet’s (Muhammad’s) Charter to the monks of Sinai and were religiously respected by the Muslims. The various sects of Christians were represented in the Council of the Empire (Caliphate) by their patriarchs, on the provincial and district council by their bishops, in the village council by their priests, whose word was always taken without question on things which were the sole concern of their community.”

    Read a condensed version of the lecture at:

    http://www.cyberistan.org/islamic/toleran1.html

    In 1927 Pickthall gave eight lectures on several aspects of Islamic civilization at the invitation of The Committee of “Madras Lectures on Islam” in Madras, India. These lectures were published in 1961 in the book The Cultural Side of Islam.

  11. #11 by Jack Hamilton on April 25, 2014 - 5:40 pm

    The US, at Israel’s behest, invented the Islam “bogyman” to further justify a growing military domination based on the never-ending US/Israel lies which continue the genocide and war mongering of the US who is a nation on the brink of economic collapse and yet, the US gives billions to Israel and in turn, Israel attacks Americans, spies on us and steals anything not nailed down! Millions of innocent civilians have died and been maimed in the countries of the Middle East as a result of not bowing to the FAKE JEWS or by not submitting to the Central Banks! Once Americans figure out that Israel is NOT a US ally but, rather, a rogue, terrorist state bent on controlling America, the world and culpable in the events of 9-11 and many other false flags, a mushroom cloud will likely hang over the filthy, immoral state of Israel! Long overdue at that!

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