Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Islamaphobia Or Genuine Fear

I've been reading Robert Spencer's JihadWatch.org off and on since it started. Recently, Spencer's been part of a movement that, rightly, opposes the Islamic center/mosque being built near Ground Zero in New York. For his efforts, Spencer has been branded an "Islamaphobe" and a bigot by his opponents, even though his targets are Islamists, jihadists, and other extremists who incite violence, not law-abiding Muslims.

The charge of "Islamophobia" is a canard used by critics to claim that the United States intrinsically hates Islam and Muslims. This is patently untrue. Americans have been very accommodating of Muslims well before and well after 9/11. Anti-Muslim sentiment is a recent phenomenon and its root lie not in Americans themselves, but the actions of certain Muslims. As Robert Spencer writes:
It is not at all established that "Islamophobia" really is growing. In fact, the FBI has recently released data establishing that hate crimes against Muslims are comparatively rare. But if there is any actual suspicion of or negative feelings toward Muslims in the United States, it is solely and wholly the responsibility of Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood jihadist; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas underwear jihadist; Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, who killed one soldier and murdered another in a jihad shooting outside a military recruiting station in Little Rock, Ark.; Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square jihadist; Khaled Sheikh Mohammed and Osama bin Laden on 9/11; the London jihad bombers of July 7, 2005; and so many others.
These attacks were not committed on foreign soil but right here in the United States, some by United States citizens. So it's only natural many American feel ill at ease about Muslims in their midst, but, please, don't call it "Islamaphobia."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pakistan Attacks Critical Journalists

According to this New York Times article, Pakistan's military and intelligence agencies routinely threaten, arrest and torture journalists who displease them.
An investigative reporter for a major Pakistani newspaper was on his way home from dinner here on a recent night when men in black commando garb stopped his car, blindfolded him and drove him to a house on the outskirts of town.

There, he says, he was beaten and stripped naked. His head and eyebrows were shaved, and he was videotaped in humiliating positions by assailants who he and other journalists believe were affiliated with the country’s powerful spy agency.

At one point, while he lay face down on the floor with his hands cuffed behind him, his captors made clear why he had been singled out for punishment: for writing against the government. “If you can’t avoid rape,” one taunted him, “enjoy it.”
If you think about it, it's not all that surprising. Rarely does the Pakistan press carry articles that put the military or the intelligence agencies (mostly the I.S.I) in a bad light. In fact, the opposite is true, there are way too many articles that praise the military to the sky: they can do no wrong, the only worthwhile institution Pakistan has, give it all the money it needs, etc. Why?
One reason for the deference, according to a Pakistani intelligence official who has worked with the media cell of the ISI, is that the agency keeps many journalists on its payroll.
Again, not surprising. Some journalists took the money willingly. Some, I'm sure, were forced to take it after being threatened, knowing full well they could be blackmailed later on.