By MOHAMED HAMALUDIN
A trio of tweets posted by one Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the racist British group Britain First, showed a group of Muslims pushing a boy off a roof, a Muslim destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary and a Muslim immigrant hitting a Dutch boy on crutches.
Jansen was charged earlier this year with religiously aggravated harassment through leaflets and videos and also for using “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior.” Last year, she was convicted of religiously aggravated harassment and fined after she shouted insults at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, the Muslim women’s head covering.
Despite the discredited source of the videos, President Donald Trump tweeted to his 43.6 million followers, “VIDEO: Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!”; “VIDEO: Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!”; and, “VIDEO: Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!”
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office denounced Fransen’s organization for using “hateful narratives which peddle lies and stokes tensions.” Her spokesman chided Trump, saying it was “wrong for the president to have done this.”
The Dutch embassy in the U.S. tweeted that the attacker of the boy on crutches was “born and raised in the Netherlands.”
Trump could have quickly checked out the source of the videos but that’s not how he operates. After his tweets, his spokeswoman commented, “Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real and that is what the president is talking about.”
Therein lies the problem. There is a regular dose of news about the Islamic State’s violence and this is taken to mean all Muslims are terrorists. But there are 1.8 billion Muslims and they are the majority in 57 countries. The Islamic State, at its peak, had around 200,000 fighters. Al Qaida had around 30,000 at one point. To deem nearly two billion human beings as being prone to violence because of the actions of a minuscule few is much worse than saying that all white people are violent because of the actions of Dylan Roof and Timothy McVeigh.
In fact, Muslims suffer the most from the conflicts taking place for whatever reason.
* The Syrian civil war has caused an estimated 400,000 deaths and tens of thousand have fled to Europe.
* Around 10,000 people have been killed in the Yemini civil war.
* The recent successful battle led by Iraqi forces to recapture the major city of Mosul from the Islamic State led to the deaths of more than 40,000 civilians, according to a report by British newspaper The Independent.
* Thousands have been killed in the Libyan civil war.
* The Islamic State overwhelmed Iraq’s Sinjar Province, traditional home of the Yazidis, killed thousands of men and forced thousands of women into sexual slavery.
* In November, 305 people were killed in Egypt’s North Sinai region from a bomb and shooting attack.
* A huge truck bomb explosion in Somalis in May killed 512 people.
Non-Muslims have also been the perpetrators. Mainly Buddhist Myanmar is locked in a struggle with its Rohingya population that has forced 620 of them to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, where they live in abject squalor.
In the more recent past, Serbian forces killed an estimated 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Bosnia’s Srebrenica province. The use of American military force by then President Bill Clinton to subdue the Serbs was the only decisive action by any country to put an end to the atrocities being visited upon Muslims in many parts of the world, until the push that caused the collapse of the Islamic State.
America should be using all its resources to stabilize the countries where this slaughter is taking place, not exacerbate it and even give comfort to the perpetrators or imposing travel bans against Muslim-majority nations.
Americans should be encouraged to learn about Islam and Muslims but the topic has been surrendered to a handful of racists with big presences on social media and loud microphones. As a result, Sikhs are mistaken for Muslims and killed.
And, in Portland, Oregon, in May, a man fatally stabbed two others who tried to intervene when the attacker shouted slurs at two seemingly Muslim women. AntiMuslim hate groups, in fact, have shot up from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year, according to the Sothern Poverty Law Center.
It is a far cry from the time when, days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, then President George W. Bush, stated, “America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads. And they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.”
Some 3.3 million Muslims live in America or one percent of the population. Many have been cowed by the brazen physical and verbal attacks they face but some have been speaking out for their rights as Americans, though, surprisingly, not African American Muslims. A Wikipedia entry puts their number at 20 percent or one in five Muslim Americans, and their voices, if raised in indignation, will have an impact, as would the voices of African Americans generally.
It is not far-fetched to think that after the racists in power finish with the immigrants and the Muslims, they will come for others next. The end game, which is openly spoken of now, is for the creation of an “ethnostate,” which translates roughly into “Make America White Again,” though it was never ever all-white.