NYC Mosque, II: As Ivy Leaguers teach Americans to hate Islam, U.S. Muslim leaders must at last be candid

The politicians and media continue to spew and sputter about the NYC mosque, with much of their commentary now turning to ask: “Why are Americans so fearful of and hateful toward Islam and Muslims?” The obvious answer is that Americans are so fearful of and hateful toward Islam and Muslims because their leading politicians and the media have taught them to be.

Since the Cold War’s end, the administrations of Ivy League-educated presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama have told Americans that Muslims hate them because they have freedom, personal liberty, gender equality, erotic moves, and beer. Moreover, the argument has continued, Muslims want to take all of these things from Americans and impose Sharia law on them. This last is a bit of an inconsistency from the politicians as they also claim the Islamists attacking America have absolutely nothing to do with Islam.

The media — left and right — have inculcated the same belief in their readers, listeners, and viewers. From Sean Hannity to Keith Olberman, from CNN to CBS to NPR, and from the Washington Times to the New York Times the message is the same: They [Muslims] hate Americans for who we are and how we think, not for what the U.S. government does. The media, too, chant that al-Qaeda and its allies are criminals and have nothing to do with Islam.

The two foregoing paragraphs encapsulate a knowing and utterly destructive lie that is being foisted on Americans by their political leaders and the media. There is precisely no evidence to show we are at war with the Islamists because they intend to impose Sharia in the United States, intend to make my granddaughters wear burqas to grammar school, or yearn to re-establish prohibition. When the Islamists win in Iraq, Somalia, Jordan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere they will surely not install alcohol, gender equality, or a Western-style rule of law, but neither do they give a hoot about whether we indulge in North America in what they regard to one degree or another as the devil’s handiwork.

The Muslim enemy described by U.S. politicians and the media, then, is a deliberate lie, but a useful one to them in three senses. First, it presents a looming and monolithic enemy that is easily described, sure to appear predatory to Americans, and easy to motivate Americans to hate. Second, it portrays the causes of the current war as items that are non-negotiable, as in “My granddaughters will never go to school wearing burqas!” Third, it allows the politicians and media to hide the vital role Islam plays in the war by assuring Americans that the Muslims Americans they need to fear are limited in number and, as noted, have nothing to do with the Islamic religion. In fact, the Islamists have hijacked the faith and are no more than criminals. How the few criminals the politicians define as America’s enemies could possibly high-jack, redefine, and control the faith of 1.4 billion Muslims is never really explained.

The negative reaction of many ordinary Americans to the NYC mosque, then, is the product of the education about Islam they have received at the hands of extraordinarily well-educated presidents, politicians, and journalists. And, today, these elite teachers are now criticizing and often damning ordinary Americans for believing what presidents, politicians, and journalists have for 20 years told them is the truth. It is all a bit dizzying.

What is the answer? Well maybe we should try the truth:

  1. Most Muslims, in the United States and overseas, do not hate Americans because of their freedom, liberty, beer, and gender equality. We have yet to see an Islamist fighter blow himself up because Americans look forward to Miller Time or because there are women in America’s workplaces. That said, the West — at the bidding of its crazed Amazons who lust to kill all male Muslims opposed to womens’ rights — has killed many thousands of Muslims who believe their faith mandates that they defend the separation of the sexes.
  2. Most Muslims, in the United States and overseas, perceive U.S. foreign policy in the Islamic world and its impact as aimed at undermining or destroying Islam, and as being dictated by Israel. This empirical reality is so obvious and quantifiable that even U.S. politicians and journalists cannot be unaware of it. Their failure to acknowledge it, therefore, must be attributed to their decision that they cannot possibly retain their posts or audiences if they told Americans two fundamental and irrefutable truths:
    1. Our lack of energy self-sufficiency, and our longtime acceptance of this cowardly and demeaning status quo, makes the U.S. federal government — under both parties — the single largest supporter of tyranny in the contemporary world. Because Washington refuses to do anything constructive about energy policy, we are the main supporters and protectors of the fascist police states that rule and oppress Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Algeria, and Egypt. (NB: Egypt gets billions in U.S. support not because it has oil but because Washington needs to bribe Mubarak to pretend he and his countrymen do not passionately and eternally hate Israel.) As can be imagined, this policy wins America few friends in the Muslim masses and makes our advocacy of freedom and democracy ring a bit hollow. And as to why the media and the politicians deliberately lie? One would suppose that while a publicity slogan akin to “Vote for or watch us because we make the world safe for tyranny!” would be truthful, it might not rally the nation’s support.
    2. Our unquestioning and vastly expensive support for Israel makes us the enemy of the entire Muslim world, Sunni and Shia. The question to ask is not whether we should provide such support, but, rather, what do we get for providing it? The answer to the second and completely appropriate question is twofold: (a) We get absolutely nothing from our relationship with Israel that America could not easily live without; and (b) We get an endless war with 1.4 billion Muslims that will soon see fronts opening in the United States. The right follow-up question would be to ask: What we would get from letting Israel sink or swim on its own? Answer: (a) A reduced level but not an end to warfare with Islam, and (b) The well-deserved destruction and legal prosecution of the criminal gang of U.S.-citizen Israel supporters that corrupts the U.S. political system and buys either the silence or support of the U.S. media.

Energy dependence, pro-tyranny policies, and support for Israel — those are the three most basic answers to the question “Why are Muslims attacking us?” There are others: the U.S. presence on the Arabian Peninsula; the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen; and Washington’s support for Russia in the North Caucasus and China’s Tibet-like, genocide-by-inundation-of-Han-Chinese in its Muslim Xinjiang province. But the core of Muslim motivation to attack America coalesces around the points sketched above.

Now, there is no reason to change U.S. policy simply because Muslims do not like it. If Americans decide current policies in the Muslim world are essential to U.S. security, then they must be kept. But to so decide, Americans first must be able debate the issue an a factual basis, and not on the basis of the insane “Muslims hate us because of our freedoms” mantra endless chanted by our politicians and the media. Let it be said precisely: Those Muslims who hate and attack the United States do so because of what the U.S. government intervenes to do in the Islamic world, and not because of how Americans think and live in North America.

Fortunately, this realization also underscores that fact that America’s problem with the Islamic world is eminently solvable in one of two ways; either we maintain the policy status quo — and prepare for an endless and massively bloody war with Islam at home and abroad — or we dump policies that involve us in other peoples’ religious wars and thereby redirect the violence to where it belongs, with Israelis and Muslims fighting and killing each other to their hatred-filled hearts are content.

Finally, the lies of the politicians and the media are susceptible to a quick but painful cure if U.S. Muslim leaders at long last step forward and tell the truth. U.S.-citizen Muslims know better than anyone else that Muslims do not hate America’s freedoms and liberties; if that was true, these men and women surely would not have come to America to raise their families and make their future.

U.S. Muslim leaders know that Osama bin Laden, his allies, and tens of millions of other Muslims are motivated to wage jihad by the impact of U.S. foreign policy in the Islamic world. They also know that Muslims who are fighting the United States believe — and rightly so in terms of theology — that they are resisting infidel invasions of Islamic lands and the infidel-supported maintenance or imposition of rule by tyrannical apostate regimes. Indeed, the main reason U.S. Muslim leaders are not as damning of bin Laden and his ilk as U.S. politicians and media want them to be is because they know that fully siding with Washington would be to support Arab tyrannies and Israel’s behavior and territorial expansion at the cost of their credibility with other U.S. Muslims and their brethren overseas.

Although small in number, U.S. Muslim leaders now have an opportunity to be responsible U.S. citizens by frankly squaring with their fellow citizens and defeating the lies of the politicians and the media, both of which are abetted, scripted, and largely paid for by U.S.-citizen Israel Firsters. Only U.S. Muslim leaders have the ability to speak the truth directly to their adopted country and to begin to end the fantasy that Islamists are attacking America because of its freedoms, liberties, and lifestyle. U.S. Muslim leaders must tell their fellow citizens that this is a much bigger and more dangerous war than has been described by their recent quartet of Ivy League presidents.

With the moral courage to speak frankly and then defy the vilification they will get from Neoconservatives and Israel-First-influenced websites, newspapers, magazines, and politicians, U.S. Muslim leaders can help Americans see that they are not fighting an insignificant number of unIslamic criminals, but rather are at war with growing numbers of Muslims who are inspired by U.S. interventionism and a legitimate interpretation of their faith. Such frankness would allow U.S. Muslim leaders to warn Americans that Washington’s interventionism is pushing the United States ever deeper into a religious war with much of the Islamic world. Their words would give all Americans the facts with which to force a debate with the lairs who flog the self-defeating “they hate us for our freedoms” doctrine.

And, rather poignantly, U.S. Muslim leaders who decide to speak with stark honesty on this issue will be serving themselves as parents, for they know best that an increasing number of their U.S.-born sons are becoming jihadis here at home and overseas because they hate U.S. foreign policy and not because of the liberties they and all Americans share.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.