December 22, 2011
Salam Al-Marayati is the president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
Yes, religious freedom for the Muslim American is under threat. Fear-mongering toward America’s Muslims and their faith is very clear. The Center for American Progress issued a report this year concluding that anti-Islam groups are financed by a $43 million industry. This garrison of Muslim-haters views Islam as either a theological or political threat in the United States, and their work is reminiscent of the pre-Nazi propaganda produced by Wilhelm Marr that regarded Judaism as a threat to Germany.
Today’s anti-Muslim rhetoric is eerily similar to the pre-Nazi rhetoric against Jews.
Recently, a reality TV show called “All-American Muslim” was aired on TLC, and it became a controversy because it did not include a terrorist. Advertisers are being pressured to pull their support because the show was “offensive.” In other words, Islam cannot be defined by the mainstream in America. It must be defined through the lens of extremism. Popular books about Islam in bookstores are “The Trouble With Islam Today” and “Why I Am Not a Muslim.” Law enforcement officials are being trained by anti-Muslim bigots so that profiling of Muslims is the norm. Hate against Muslim children in elementary and secondary schools is on the rise.
There is an inquisition mentality toward America’s Muslims. Muslims have to prove their patriotism to the United States, a very unpatriotic approach. Republican debates have included questions about candidates’ views toward Islam, and many of them indicated they would not consider a Muslim for any appointment. Only Mitt Romney stated that Muslims are God-loving and America-loving people, perhaps because his Mormon background gave him a clear understanding of religious persecution.
I love my faith and I love my country. The fact that some readers still question which country I am referring to indicates a serious level of distrust toward Muslim Americans.