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13 Sep, 2011 22:06

Fear of Islam going strong 10 years after 9/11

Ten years ago, a Muslim named Osama bin Laden was named as the suspect behind the 9/11 attacks. But the fear of this one man has morphed into the rise and spread of islamophobia throughout US society.

From Pete King's hearings on the radicalization of Muslims in America that many compared to McCarthyism, to the bitter and often hate-filled campaign against building a mosque near Ground Zero, to the FBI and NYPD infiltration of mosques and systematic entrapment of "Muslim terrorists," from Glenn Beck with his "10 percent of Muslims are terrorists,"to the media hyping each whiff of a foiled Islamic plot – everyone revels in the Muslim bogeyman.Anti-Muslim sentiment in the US reflects phobia and suspicion at a peak. A decade after bin Laden became the poster child of evil as the man behind 9/11, and even after his death, hate towards the concept of Islam has grown increasingly wide-spread. This is being boosted by the media and politicians like Congressman Peter King, who initiated a special hearing on the threat of homegrown Muslim terrorists. Proof of anti-Muslim bias is aplenty. Starting with FBI entrapment, when Muslims are lured into considering crimes they otherwise would not.“With police provocateurs organizing every single aspect and then taping it, this really has really destroyed the lives of young people and their families,” said the co-director of the International Action Center, Sara Flounders.“In New York, you have eleven hundred detectives in the intelligence unit division. They need to justify their funding just as the Department of Homeland Security needs to justify its defending,” said attorney and activist Lamis Deek. Straightforward ethnic profiling has also become a lot more widespread. “Pew and Gallup research reflects that 48 percent of Muslims have had experience of personal harassment, personal discrimination in the last year-year and a half,” said the executive director of the Islamic Leadership Council of New York Zaheer Uddin. Frenzies are being stirred surrounding mosque-building plans near Ground Zero or even in Tennessee.“Ironically, if you go to Ground Zero, and you look around, it’s all surrounded by halal food trucks, which are all Muslims that are there, selling souvenirs and the like,” said filmmaker and blogger Danny Schechter. To the peddling of myths that Sharia laws – the legal code of Islam – are about to be adopted in the US.This has led to a spread of worry among the Muslim community of America. “About 23 states are considering anti-Sharia bills, which is going to affect our human rights. This goes against the fabric of American values,” said Zaheer Uddin. Roughly 7 million Muslims live in the US, yet many Americans have never had any real encounters with the community.  “I grew up in the Northern Midwest, and anybody who tried to say that Mexicans are going to take our jobs would have to confront the fact that really there were no Mexicans living where we lived. And that’s kind of the same thing here,” said editorial columnist and author Ted Rall. Regardless of this argument, the anti-Muslim feelings remain. "It’s escalated to a point, where I think in many ways it’s good because it allows people to see how raw the bigotry really is,” said founder and chair emerita of Women in Islam Inc., Aisha Al-Adawiya. The fear has also helped distract attention from frightening issues at home.“There is a very serious economic crisis and we think that this anti-Muslim sentiment is really scapegoating," said International Action Center activist Tony Murphy. And provided the US with public support for wars throughout the Muslim world.“We’ve been attacking Muslim countries like they are going out of style. The United States has really positioned itself  with all of its involvement in Afghanistan, in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, for blowback,” added Rall.  Post-9/11 islamophobia in the US is similar to anti-Japanese sentiment after the attack on Pearl Harbor. While there are no internment camps today, the Muslim community feels that it's under siege. With even a prayer at the mosque likely under someone’s watchful eye.Speaking to RT, Imam Abdul Ali Musa of the Masjid al-Islam mosque said islamophobia is worse than most are led to believe. "It's worse than McCarthyism. More like Nazism," he said. "There is a state of fear that exists in the muslim community today," added the imam.