OPINION / VIEWPOINT
When Uncle SAM became utterly Islamophobic
Published: Jul 23, 2021 08:54 PM
Palestinian firefighters search urgently for survivors and bodies under the rubble after an intensive civilian bombardment of Gaza City on Sunday. Israel pummelled the Gaza Strip with air strikes, killing 10 members of an extended family and demolishing a building housing international media outlets, as Palestinian militants fired back barrages of rockets.

Palestinian firefighters search urgently for survivors and bodies under the rubble after an intensive civilian bombardment of Gaza City on Sunday. Israel pummelled the Gaza Strip with air strikes, killing 10 members of an extended family and demolishing a building housing international media outlets, as Palestinian militants fired back barrages of rockets.

11 years before drafting the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, a 22-year-old law student then and one of the Founding Fathers, bought a book of Qur'an. Mr. Jefferson later affirmed that "our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions" in his Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom, whose thoughts on religious inclusiveness were reflected in the Constitution and First Amendment, according to American historian Denise Spellberg.

However, if Mr. Jefferson were alive today, it would be devastating to see his legacy destroyed by continuous anti-Muslim schemes promoted by his modern successors in the White House. Sharply contrary to what Mr. Jefferson once expected, Muslims, who first came to North America in the early 14th century, are still submerged in Islamophobic waves promoted by Uncle Sam, as malicious warfare outside and vicious discrimination inside the country targeting Muslims have become non-stop, after September 2001 in particular. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once famously noted that "Islamophobia is spreading in the West like cancer cells." He's not wrong. Despite all the US propagandist cliches of its religious equality, the truth is, Uncle SAM is actually the most Islamophobic country.

As Evil as Cancer

Much of the Muslim history in the US has been intertwined with slave trade. But such a tragedy for Muslims, who were estimated to account for 20 percent of enslaved Africans, is largely buried under the ash of history. Peter Manseau, author of One Nation, Under Gods, argued that "[Muslims in the US history] have been largely overlooked because they were not free to practice their faith and leave records of their belief. Islam in America is among the most suppressed in the nation's history." A doctrine in Virginia in 1682 lawfully justified the enslavement of Muslims.

Despite their early entrance into the land and the estimation that they are to be America's second largest religious group by 2040, the interests of Muslims are disproportionately represented throughout American history. It was not until 2006 that the country witnessed its first congressman who sworn in with his hands on the Qur'an instead of the Bible. Exclusion and discrimination against Muslims are indeed a "time-honored" tradition in the US. 

As Contagious as Cancer

Certainly, terrorists should go to hell, but the ones actually forced to the Duozakh are the Muslims. Some US politicians are busy hyping up the connection between Muslims and terrorists while implementing their Islamophobic agenda in legislative bodies and election processes. 

Between 2013 and 2015, at least 10 states in the US passed laws that contain potential anti-Islam contents. Former president Donald Trump has been a real trump at playing the Islamophobia card to appeal to his White Evangelical constituency by publicly asserting that "I think Islam hates us." After seizing power, he announced the notorious Muslim Ban, which gave a firm NO to the entrance into the US of people from several Muslim countries on baseless terrorist accusations. Authorities including the US Customs and Border Protection have been engaged in purchasing private data of Muslims around the world from multiple Apps. 

Consequently, Muslims in the US are living in antagonization and discrimination, which is honestly reflected in polls. In 2001, hate crimes against Muslims increased by 1600 percent; from 2017 to 2018, only 27 percent of American Muslims found themselves satisfactory with the country; in 2019, 82 percent of adults in the US admitted that Muslims in the US are subjective to discrimination. Congressman Andre Carson from Indiana, the second Muslim congressman in US history, was even asked to publicly denounce Islam doctrines to prove his loyalty to the country. 

As Deadly as Cancer

The most absurd part about the Islamophobia cancer is that it is the non-Muslims that are infected, and it is Muslims' lives that are perishing amid warfare unilaterally triggered by Uncle Sam. Since 2001, the US has launched military operations or even wars in around 80 countries using the excuse of countering terrorism, blatantly taking away over 800,000 lives, 330,000 of whom are unarmed civilians, and displacing tens of millions. 

Words could not describe the bleeding wounds and traumatic memories when US troops set the historic city of Baghdad on fire, US soldiers commencing assaults against civilians in Afghanistan, US air forces targeting at the burning houses in Libya, US tanks storming on the fragmented land in Syria. But the secret to what keeps Uncle Sam's hands dirty yet mind "innocent" lies in his disguise and hypocrisy. 

To find a noble excuse to launch its aggression and finish its "revenge" on the Muslim, the US keeps hiding behind the shield of "countering terrorism" without allowing the international community to question its conscience. As a result, what keep enraging us are fabricated evidences of the existence of weapons of mass destruction, self-made video clips of the existence of chemical weapons, saliva dropped on the Libyan oil reserve when plotting raiding schemes with NATO, the lack of responsibility on Palestinian issues, and most shocking and problematic of all, the lack of courage to admit its wrongdoings and clean up the mess it left, to domestic and foreign Muslims alike.  

GOAT boxer and civil rights activist Muhammad Ali, perhaps the most respected American Muslim ever, once claimed that "the best way to make your dream come true is to wake up." Spending his life fighting against biases as an African American and converted Muslim, he might be expecting the same dream to come true as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was.

Unluckily, judging from the reality, Uncle Sam is an addict to many things, including overdoses of carcinogen, placebo and, certainly, sleeping pills.  

The author is a commentator on international affairs, writing regularly for Global Times, China Daily etc.. He can be reached at xinping604@gmail.com
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