Sunday, 28 August 2011


In the past two decades or so, there has been a general process in Western nations that have led to the marketing, funding and politicizing 'Islamophobia'. Although this started with the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and it was a peripheral issue,  by the time that the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, Islamophobia is now an integral part of the political, military, intelligence, economic and cultural mainstream as much in the US as in Western Europe, both claiming a commitment to multiculturalism and tolerance in theory, but in practice falling far short of hollow 'democratic' rhetoric.

A great deal changed in media approach on issues regarding Islam and Muslims after 9/11. The US and by extension its NATO allies redirected their Cold War institutions to serve the manufactured crisis of 'global terrorism' behind which was Islam. This campaign unleashed a wave of think tanks, academics, journalists, politicians, and others with a right-wing racist agenda to use Islamophobia as a pretext to mobilize popular support behind this new global enemy of the West that replaced Communism. Cold War institutions became "Islamophobe" institutions under the guise of the war on terror.
The situation is as bad for the 20 million Muslims who live in Europe and feel increased discrimination in every respect, from political to cultural, as it is for American Muslims. In the past decade, surveys and analytical studies that been conducted in Europe and US indicate systematic discrimination against Muslims in the workplace, in neighborhoods, in cultural and political settings. This trend is rising and it filters down through all aspects of society. Parallel to the rise of Islamophobia is the rise of extreme right wing political groups whose agenda is based on racist discrimination invariably funded by everyone from ordinary fanatic citizens to millionaires.

That half of Americans and about as many Europeans see Muslims in a negative light is not an accident, but the result of systematic Islamophobia behind which rests political, media and financial muscle. Money flows to individuals who propagate against Islam and Muslims as a threat to Western Judeo-Christian civilization. Conservative foundations pour money into what are otherwise 'respectable' political, social, and cultural analysts whose job is to castigate Islam and Muslims as the evil behind all which ails Western Civilization. These same foundations and same critics would have been devoting their money and time to castigating the Communist bloc during the Cold War, but now the new 'industry' of hatred focuses on Islam; a cause that also serves not only the 'war on terror' that has drained the US treasury in the last decade, but it also serves Israel's interests that the US and to a lesser EU embraces as its own.

Government agencies and independent entities like foundations, think tanks, various media outlets, and independent contractors see very clearly that marketing, funding, and politicizing Islamophobia has gained legitimacy and moved into the mainstream of Western Civilization, as it is now a deeply ingrained part of the mass psychology.

Why does half of the US and EU population have negative stereotype views of Muslims? Is it only the mass marketing, funding and politicizing of the issue, or is it also the deep economic crisis that has resulted in downward social mobility for the middle class feeling alienated and looking for enemy to blame; seeing that enemy in the well-publicized face of a Muslim? After all, if Muslims were not at fault for all calamities, why are their countries in shambles and many undergoing socio-political uprisings; a legitimate question that the masses ask because the media and governments in the West guide them in that direction.

Does the mass marketing, funding and politicizing of Islamophobia mean that we will witness more ultra-right-wing incidents which mainstream politicians and media will dismiss as 'isolated acts of paranoid' individuals, and not a manifestation of rising racism (Islamophobia) in the West? Is Islamophobia so far out of the mainstream, or is it so far into the core of society that it makes sense for politicians to tolerate rising Islamophobia with their policies, while condemning it with hollow rhetoric about 'commitment of integration, multiculturalism, and equality for all'?

The danger of Western Civilization is that it is experiencing a crisis not only of its decadent economic system that leaves more people less well off as capital is increasingly concentrated, but that the moral decline associated with a political regime unable to sustain public confidence, so that it has to rely on subtle and at times overt racism. The 'clash of civilizations' is real, but only because it is so marketed, funded and politicized; the result of a clash that is deeper and more within Western Civilization that seeks enemies to justify its global hegemony. If Islam never existed, would there be a need to create another enemy?  Western Civilization has abandoned its values of tolerance, multiculturalism, freedom and 'democracy' in exchange for fear and hate-based values that are reminiscent of the Cold War, if not the crusades. The result of this will be even more rapid decline from within as the corpse slowly rots from within.

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