Panelists discuss "structural Islamophobia" in Washington, DC, on June 26.
"Take a deep breath...This topic is heavy," stated Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC) cofounder Namira Islam on June 26 at New York University's (NYU) Washington, DC, center. Speaking on the anniversary of the Supreme Court's upholding of President Donald Trump's temporary travel restriction, Islam's panel presented "Islamophobia" as exemplary of an nonredeemable, bigoted America.
Alongside Vanessa Taylor, whose views I have previously discussed, Namira Islam, during the event "Beyond the Ban: Resisting Structural Islamophobia," claimed that the Supreme Court's 2018 decision "reflected a longer history of structural systems of oppression." Considering "immoral policies" such as Trump's falsely described "Muslim ban" prompted her to call upon the auditorium audience of about 40 to perform deep breathing relaxation exercises. These listeners included like-minded leftists including Institute for Policy Studies Michael Ratner Middle East Fellow Khury Petersen-Smith and National Religious Campaign against Torture Executive Director Ron Stief.
Islam's jargon references to "undocumented [i.e. illegal alien] Muslims" and how in America "certain communities become white over time" reflected both the panel's and MuslimARC's sectarian ideologies. MuslimARC's "Anti-Racism Guide for White Muslims" screams strident racial shibboleths with statements concerning how Americans "live in a society where all people are racialized from the time we are born." White Americans "have been socialized as white people, with messages from our families, teachers, media and society about whiteness under an umbrella of white supremacy, both subtle and overt."
According to the guide, this socialization "results in not being able to fully recognize or understand how racism is perpetuated in society" and an "inability to see our own racism as well as being complicit in racism by our silence." Astonishingly, Americans actually "perpetuate racism when we take a 'color blind' approach" and "anti-white racism does not exist, because racism by default is a system that benefits white people and harms People of Color." People should not even cite the "fact that you are married to a person of color, or have children of color, as proof that you are 'not racist.'"
Reflecting on the Supreme Court decision, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) Legal and Policy Director Abed Ayoub gloomily foresaw a foreboding future. Trump's continuing conservative judicial appointments meant that the "Supreme Court is going to be a rubber stamp for upholding structural racism, structural Islamophobia and basically like a white supremacist agenda." Meanwhile, Ayoub reiterated the outrageous Holocaust-trivializing slander that American border detention centers are "concentration camps."
For all of Ayoub's premonitions of impending doom, he ironically noted the mundane nature of Trump's exercise of executive power restricting entry into the United States from several terrorism hotbed countries. "The structures and mechanisms in place to allow something for the Muslim ban have existed for decades, if not since the founding of this country," Ayoub noted. "The president has authority to determine who can come in and out of this country" and "prior presidents have used similar tactics," as when Jimmy Carter temporarily excluded Iranians or George H.W Bush Iraqis.
By contrast, Ayoub and ADC have radical views, such as their past whitewashing of convicted terrorism supporters. He has praised and supported anti-Semitic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib and derided the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as an Israeli foreign agent. Both he and ADC signed a petition calling for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, defamed by him as an "apartheid" and "ethnic cleansing" state. He opposed the pro-Israeli Kenneth Marcus for a Department of Education civil rights post because, among other things, "Marcus has long opposed affirmative action."
Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) Director of Research Dalia Mogahed continued her past statistical and sophistic sleights of hand in attempting to explicate undefined charges of an "irrational fear of Islam" or "Islamophobia." The statement "Knowing a Muslim, knowledge of Islam...is linked to lower Islamophobia," assertively appeared on one of her slides. Yet she never specified what this "knowledge" is (her sharia apologetics?) or which Muslims people should know (the panel's radicals?).
Mogahed undermined her own arguments when she noted that a person's education level, along with other factors including age, sex, religiosity, native-born or immigrant status, did not affect "Islamophobia." Apparently multifarious people worldwide are deviating from her Islamic intellectual conformity, but she associated critical thought diversity concerning her faith ideas with prejudice against individuals. "By bashing Islam all day and believing that is exceptionally evil, you are then demonizing the group that believes in it," she ominously intoned.
Contrastingly, Mogahed asserted that "Islamophobia is one branch on a larger tree of bigotry," as attitudes towards blacks, Jews, and LGBT-identifying individuals supposedly correlated with greater "Islamophobia." These claims reflected ISPU's previous propaganda that grouped Muslims in an intersectional rainbow coalition of oppressed minorities. Meanwhile, Muslim antipathies towards any of these groups, such as Jews or lesbians like Taylor, remained unstated.
DC Justice for Muslims Collective (DCJMC) Maha Hilal member provided no more enlightenment with her leftist cant-laced "Islamophobia" definition. This is a "contrived hate and fear that is built into structures of the state and society for the pursuit of power and the justification of war and repression" and "is maintained and perpetrated by white supremacy." Similarly obtuse, MuslimARC's online glossary listed "Bigot: Someone who has strong prejudices towards a group or idea," without explaining how beliefs could suffer from bigotry.
DCJMC online materials likewise equal MuslimARC in absurdity. DCJMC's Guiding Principles stated
that all these forms of violence, such as capitalism, colonialism, poverty, racism, patriarchy, ableism, caste-based violence, Islamophobia, homophobia, and transphobia, create a world where the status-quo dehumanizes us as Muslims.
DCJMC also makes superficial pop-Marxist claims that discriminatory immigration policies throughout American history have had the
express purpose...to concentrate wealth and power among elites at the very top, through cultivating an entrenched system of white supremacy, buttressed by capitalism and sexism, and shaped by ableism.
Unsurprisingly, Hilal lamented Muslims as innocent victims of policies that are "symptomatic of a larger narrative that the U.S. national security apparatus is rooted in," in which the "U.S. is always the victim of other people's actions." Trump's policy is "banning people from the countries that we have destroyed from entering this country," she declared. She failed to explain how America was responsible for turmoil in the travel ban countries of Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen, or why their inhabitants had a "right to come to this country."
Such statements reflected Hilal's open border fantasies. She correspondingly appealed to Department of Homeland Security, Immigration, and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials to abandon their careers in protest. "You are standing on the side of oppression."
Hilal's anarchic condemnations of national security and law enforcement included American jurisdictions as well. "Rampart use of informants in the Muslim community...serves a specific purpose...to destroy the Muslim community...to break bonds," she declared. She has counterfactually previously written of captured jihadists at the American Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center that the "vast majority of prisoners are innocent of any crimes."
Contrastingly, Israel looms large as a danger for Hilal, like the other panelists. She has signed the same pro-BDS petition as Ayoub and ADC, and has written that Israel promotes "Jewish supremacy." Islam's MuslimARC similarly recommends the Israel-hating, Hamas-derived Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
After honoring the anti-Semitic Muslim radical Linda Sarsour, NYU with this panel has demonstrated once again the illiberal dry rot afflicting prestigious academic and policymaking institutions. Such anti-Western, anti-bourgeois gobbledygook, now conjoined with the cause de jour of Islam, has long outlived any pretensions of radical chic, and is simply an offense against common sense. Such philosophical frivolity would be funny were the times not so serious.
Andrew Harrod is a fellow at Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, and a fellow with the Lawfare Project. Follow him on Twitter at @AEHarrod.