Islamophobia – Rise of an Industry
Rise of an Industry
The fear of Muslims was not simply a spontaneous response to the events of 9/11. From early reservations to Muslims’ lifestyles and religio-cultural habits, the present climate of fear and hate of the Muslim community was purposefully orchestrated. Islamophobia has today morphed into an industry that actively manufactures and promotes an attitude of suspicion and intolerance of Muslims based on a falsified frame of reference.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that as of 2016, there was 101 organization dedicated to disseminating false information on Islam and Muslims. These include the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE) established by David Yerushalmi, ACT! For America fouStatesby Brigitte Gabriel and Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), led by Pamella Gellar who was instrumental in sponsoring anti-Islam ads on buses in New York.
Then there are alt-right media outlets devoted to the task of vilifying Muslims, such as Breitbart, the Rush Limbaugh Show, Washington Times and others. These organizations are often associated with academics and intellectuals to lend credibility while being funded with millions of dollars by anti-Muslim foundations. A team of researchers that studied the roots of Islamophobia in the United States following 9/11, published as “Fear Inc.” identified seven charitable groups that provided $42.6 million to Islamophobic think tanks between 2001 and 2009.
Images of Muslims in films and TV shows have generally been stereotypical and negative, such as terrorists, women beaters, subservient women, etc. Prof. Jack Sheehan’s “Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People” examines a 1000 films on Arabs and Muslims, critically exposing Hollywood’s continuing portrayal of Muslim Arabs as “brutal, uncivilized and Public Enemy # 1” bent on terrorizing civilized Westerners.”
In the last couple of decades, there have been a number of “best-selling” books disparaging Islam and Muslims by authors such as former Muslims, Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, both of whom have received widespread acclaim and awards for their work, ill-deserved as it may be on purely literary grounds.
The worldwide Islamophobia network has also spawned several websites devoted to the spread of misinformation of Islam and Muslims, such as Daniel Pipes’ Islamic Watch and Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch.