News Release

Trump’s Islamophobia is Tip of Iceberg

ARUN KUNDNANI, arun at kundnani.org, @ArunKundnani
Today, the Institute for Public Accuracy releases “Calls to Suspend Syrian Refugees and Other Recent Anti-Muslim Statements by Government Officials,” a compilation of statements.

Available for a limited number of interviews, Kundnani is the author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror and a lecturer at New York University. His articles include “The belief system of the Islamophobes.”

He said today: “While it’s very easy to denounce Trump’s recent repugnant, bullying statements — and much of the political class has — it’s important to keep several things in mind:

“First, as the compilation of statements by elected officials makes clear, he made these statements after many officials from across the country made scores of statements playing on unfounded fears against Syrian refugees and other Muslims.

“More deeply, people have been lied to. For more than a decade now, they’ve been told the main thing that we need to be scared about is crazy Muslims coming to kill us. The statistics tell a very different story. Some conservatives hate me for saying it, but the truth is, since 9/11, more people have been killed by right-wing terrorists than by Muslim terrorists in the U.S. Including the San Bernardino attack, 45 people have been killed by Muslim terrorists; yet right-wing terrorists have killed 48. … Around 400,000 have been killed in gun crimes.”

Kundnani also recently wrote: “The promise of the ‘war on terror’ was that we would kill them ‘over there’ so they would not kill us ‘over here.’ Hence mass violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Yemen, and Somalia – in the name of peace in the West. The ‘Authorization to Use Military Force’ that the U.S. Congress passed in the days after 9/11 already defined the whole world as a battlefield in the ‘war on terror’. President Obama continues to rely on the authorization to give his drone-killing program a veneer of legality. This is the old colonial formula of liberal values at home sustained by a hidden illiberalism in the periphery — where routine extra-judicial killing is normalized.”

See by Glenn Greenwald: “When the State Department Tries to Choose Muslim Thought Leaders to Win ‘Hearts and Minds,'” and “Threats and Violent Attacks Against Muslims in the U.S., Just From This Week.”

KHALED BEYDOUN, kbeydoun at gmail.com, @KhaledBeydoun
Beydoun is an assistant professor at the Barry School of Law and an affiliated professor of the University of California-Berkeley Islamophobia Project. He recently wrote the piece, “Islamophobia has a long history in the U.S.,” which notes: “From 1790 until 1952 whiteness was a legal prerequisite for naturalised American citizenship. And Islam was viewed as irreconcilable with whiteness.

“In a 1913 decision called Ex Parte Mohreiz, the court denied a Lebanese Christian immigrant citizenship because they associated his ‘dark walnut skin’ with ‘Mohammedanism.’

“And in 1942, a Muslim immigrant from Yemen was denied citizenship because, writing about ‘Arabs’ the court noted: ‘it cannot be expected that as a class they would readily intermarry with our population and be assimilated into our civilization.'” See Beydoun’s recent appearance on the PBS NewsHour.