“F*ck u rag head.”
“Mohamad is a liar & a fagit.”
This graffiti is scrawled across the tomb of a Palestinian-American’s father’s grave in Chicago’s Evergreen Park cemetery.
It’s one of many such Islamophobic acts being carried out by groups of Americans – including attacks on seven mosques across the U.S. in the past two weeks alone.
“I think there are a few people who don’t like anybody,” says Iftikhar Ali, president of a Joplin, Missouri mosque which was attacked and burned to the ground last week. “They don’t like a different color than their color, or different religions.”
Ali, along with countless American Muslims, are being pushed by violent hate crimes to steer clear of mosques, worshipping instead in convention centers guarded by law enforcement officers.
“So, what?” a portion of Americans may think. “Small price to pay, compared to 9-11!”
Should we accommodate their justifiable resentment? Roll over and play bad guy to erroneous persecution of us all, based on the actions of our government and rogue elements?
IIbrahim Hooper, Spokesman for the civil rights and advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations, told CNN this week that the escalation in attacks on Muslims in the U.S. “is unprecedented in its scale and scope. Anti-Muslim rhetoric has been building for years, especially from groups formed specifically to fight against Islam in the United States.”
And, adds Hooper, “There’s an Islamophobia machine working out there.” He cites an example in the recent comment Republican Representative Joe Walsh made to to a packed town hall event in Chicago.
“I’m not sure of a lot of things,” said Walsh. “But one thing I am sure of is that there are people in this country, there is a radical strain of Islam in this country…trying to kill Americans every week.“
Ahmed Rehab, of Chicago’s Council on American-Islamic Relations, told Al Jazeera that “while politicians such as Walsh and others weren’t telling people to go out and wage attacks against Muslims, the things they’re saying are clearly having an effect…we are seeing a correlation between the rise in Islamophobic rhetoric and the violent crime on houses of worship, schools and other Muslim targets.”
As reported by CBS, representatives from several religious groups gathered to denounce Congressman Walsh’s comments. Says Rabbi Brant Rosen of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, “There is no place for hatred, intolerance, divisive rhetoric, nor Islamophobia in our community.”
And Michael Mann, of the United Methodist Church, pleads with Americans to “Stop the fear. Stop the hate. Stop it.”
What do you think about Republican Representative Joe Walsh’s statement?