A specter is haunting the Western world – the specter of Islamophobia.
Just ask the folks at the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding (ISPU). What is the ISPU, you ask? Why, it's an organization that is, in its own words, dedicated to creating "a vibrant and truly pluralistic America, where Muslims are strong and equal participants." To this end, the ISPU "conducts objective, solution-seeking research that empowers American Muslims to develop their community and fully contribute to democracy and pluralism in the United States." Founded in 2002 – note the date – it has become "a trusted source for information for and about American Muslims." When I glanced through the names of its directors and advisors, the name that jumped out at me was that of the not-exactly-trustworthy John Esposito, perhaps America's most infamous apologist for Islam. In his 1999 book The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? – again, note the date – he assured readers that they had nothing to fear from the Religion of Peace. Since 9/11, he has continued to whitewash everybody's favorite faith in such books as What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam (2002) and The Future of Islam (2010).