Article Op-Ed

How the GOP’s Modern Islamophobia Mirrors Ancient Anti-Semitism

How the GOP’s Modern Islamophobia Mirrors Ancient Anti-Semitism

Author Edward Ahmed Mitchell by

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National Law Journal

Just when you thought it was safe to turn on C-SPAN, Ted Cruz has returned to Capitol Hill.

The Texas senator—turned presidential candidate—turned Texas senator held a congressional hearing last week about the American government’s supposed indifference to the threat of "Radical Islam," a phrase Cruz loves to repeat more than "God bless America."

As you might expect, several of Cruz’s expert witnesses were actually expert bigots who make a living off stoking anti-Muslim paranoia. They did not disappoint, using the hearing to accuse mainstream American Muslims of everything from treason to radicalism.

Cruz also managed to find the one Muslim who is always happy to validate anti-Muslim paranoia: Zuhdi Jasser, a rightwing activist who often criticizes, maligns and otherwise trolls his fellow American Muslims. Jasser even criticized Muhammad Ali while the boxer was on his deathbed.

If you missed the opportunity to watch Senator Cruz and his witnesses frolic in the alternate reality they call home, never fear. I can summarize their main message:

My fellow patriots!

I need your help to stop an existential threat facing our nation: the Muslim Brotherhood, a diabolical organization whose tentacles reach across the globe.

Think SPECTRE, but for Muslims.

Now, I know what you're thinking: the Muslim Brotherhood is a peaceful organization that could barely control Egypt's government for one year. How could it possibly control the world's 1.5 billion Muslims?

Don’t ask questions. Just trust me.

These radical Muslims have infiltrated our nation’s highest levels of power, from the White House to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to the Republican Party to the Department of Homeland security. The media, too.

You heard me right.

Barack Hussein Obama, Huma Abedin, Grover Norquist, Fareed Zakaria? They're all pawns or players in a grand conspiracy to overthrow America.

So are most of the so-called “American Muslim” organizations across the country.

Which ones? Pretty much every single Muslim organization that isn't led by Dr. Zuhdi Jasser.

Dead giveaway: if the group has “Islam, "Arab" or "Muslim" anywhere in the title, it's definitely part of the Muslim Brotherhood/Al-Qaeda/ISIS/Hezbollah/Hamas conspiracy.

Wait a minute, you might say. Don't those groups absolutely hate each other? No, no, no. That's just what they want you to think.

After all, these stealth terrorists are clever. They even coined the phrase "Islamophobia" to silence patriotic Americans like yours truly. Ever seen those news reports about "hate crimes" against Muslims in America?

False flags attacks. The Muslims are vandalizing their own mosques and shooting themselves in the back for sympathy. It's all part of the plan.

Indeed, every one of these Sharia-compliant radicals is waging civilizational jihad against us, from Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (athletic jihadists!) to congressmen Keith Ellison and Andre Carson (political jihadists!) to Dave Chappelle and Aziz Ansari (comedic jihadists!).

We've got to stop them.

That's where you come in, Loyal Patriots. If you truly love America, you'll send a generous donation to my group, Save America from Sharia. Check or money order will do. We also take cash. No bills smaller than $100, please.

Hurry before it's too late. I've got a vacation house to pay off...

For American Muslims, this faux Islamophobic diatribe should sound uncomfortably familiar and only slightly exaggerated.

But anti-Muslim hysteria should also sound familiar to students of history, particularly those who study Jewish history in Europe.

Indeed, if you edited video footage of the Cruz hearings by replacing every instance of "Muslim" with "Jew," "sharia" with "halacha," and the "Muslim Brotherhood" with the "Elders of Zion," the result would sound like boilerplate anti-Semitism of yesteryear.

Europeans often accused their Jewish citizens of secretly plotting all manner of mayhem, from kidnapping Christian children to plotting world domination. In the lead-up to the Holocaust, anti-Semites even used the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a hoax, as proof of a Jewish conspiracy against Christianity.

Looking back, we can shake our heads at how hilariously ridiculous it all sounded. But those anti-Semitic lies weren't funny. They had consequences. Europe terrorized its Jewish citizens for centuries because of such hate speech (ironically, many Jews escaped persecution by fleeing to Muslim lands).

Although Ted Cruz and the Islamophobes of modern America do not have the strength or the support needed to similarly oppress American Muslims, many of us fear that their rhetoric has sparked hate crimes across the country.

Over the past week alone, American Muslims have been beaten, shot and stabbed outside mosques in Minnesota, New York and Florida.

Anti-Muslim hysteria has also inspired dangerously dumb policies.

Several states have tried to pass anti-Sharia laws, which are as unnecessary as they are unconstitutional. Donald Trump has proposed closing down mosques and banning Muslim immigrants. So much for the First Amendment.

Ted Cruz and House Republicans have even introduced legislation that would declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization (ironic, given that real terrorists loathe the Brotherhood because the organization condemns terrorism and peacefully advocates for representative government in the Middle East).

Bottom line: American Muslims cannot afford to simply laugh off Islamophobic conspiracy theories, nor can our government afford to hold public hearings based on such nonsense.

Hate speech might sound hilariously stupid, but it has consequences.

Just ask our Jewish neighbors.


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