Islamophobes, or those who project Islamophobia, are not a particular race, group or religion. Islamophobia is a money making scam that is being perpetrated by individuals of all faiths who seek to profit from the fears of Americans at the expense of innocent Muslim children, women and men.
The current toxic climate has propelled Islamophobia into a business that also offers the potent experience of making quick and easy money, while gaining fame and notoriety. This combination lures unknown riffraff to its ranks. Not caring about truth or facts, they rely on unproven allegations and outright lies to bolster their position. In some cases, the newcomers form alliances with Islamophobes who have already established a name. The benefit of the relationship is twofold: it provides credibility to the new “Islamophobe on the block” and fresh platforms to project Islamophobia to susceptible individuals, while also allowing the “mentor” to take advantage of free publicity promoting brand and name recognition while remaining relevant.
In 2016, the Council on Islamic American Relations (CAIR) and the Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley published the report “Confronting Fear”, which confirmed what had become an obvious truth – Islamophobia pays. According to the report, 33 groups representing the core of the Islamophobia network had access to a minimum $203 million in revenue, which did not include revenue accrued by the remaining 36 groups identified as part of the Islamophobia connection.
Pamela Geller, a flagrant Islamophobe, is president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI). AFDI’s 2013 tax returns reported revenue of $958,800 and paid Geller a salary of $192,500, plus $18,750 in other income for her officer position, which averages 10 hours of work per week. Martin Mawyer is President of the Christian Action Network (CAN). CAN’s 2015 Form 990 reported gross receipts of $943,142 and designated Mawyer as a highly compensated employee who received $135,781 for an average 40 hour workweek. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) included both AFDI and CAN on its 2015 list of active hate groups.
However, there is a fringe element of Islamophobes that identify themselves as “ex-Muslim” or “the moderate Muslim” like Ayan Hirsi Ali and Zuhdi Jasser. These individuals know that they are spewing lies and use their ‘Muslim Connection’ to validate the disinformation in their attempt to divide Christians and Muslims. Like all Islamophobes, Ali and Jasser recognize one truth – Islamophobia is a lucrative business.
Moneymaking options for projecting Islamophobia also include funneling money into the industry through anonymous donations, creating blogs, writing books and producing videos promoting fabricated content; billing oneself as an expert on ‘radical Islam’ competent to make frequent media appearances on Islamophobia friendly networks such as Fox News. Their so-called experts become a sought after ‘speakers’ bureau’ that use shady expert credentials to offer errant law enforcement counterterrorism training.
According to a Pew Research Center 2015 estimate, approximately one quarter of the world’s population is Muslim. Another Pew study found that Islam is the fastest growing major religion in the world. Western fear of these facts gives rise to the cause Islamophobia. It is not surprising that this tactic has proved successful within the U.S., where a recent study showed that 60% of Americans have never met a Muslim and know little to nothing about Islam. This is what makes Islamophobia such a lucrative enterprise. Truth is not a necessary factor for its profitability. The 2015 Pew study also reported that Muslims are viewed as one of the least favorable religious groups in the U.S.
The marketing of Islamophobia, hate and fear mongering feeds an unending domino effect that inspires terrorism against Muslims. A May 2015 FBI Counterterrorism Division Intelligence Bulletin directly linked the promotion of disinformation by unreliable Islamophobic sources to the subsequent increased targeting of Muslims by right wing militia groups in the U.S.
The human danger inherent in the Islamophobia campaign has already produced perilous results worldwide. The FBI also reported a 67% increase in hate crimes against Muslims. The truth is that Islamophobia has taken a human toll resulting in loss of income, extreme mental distress, bodily injury and loss of life. Less than two months before the intelligence bulletin was released, the FBI intercepted a terrorist plot masterminded by Robert R. Doggart of Signal Mountain, TN against the residents of Islamberg, NY, headquarters of The Muslims of America, Inc. (TMOA), and home to dozens of American Muslim families.
Doggart was arrested for soliciting others, namely members of various right wing militia groups, to burn down buildings in Islamberg and kill all children, women and men who got in their way. Doggart subsequently was sentenced to 20 years. Doggart admitted being influenced by Wayne Simmons and Ryan Mauro. Simmons was convicted of fraud for passing himself off as a retired CIA agent. Ryan Mauro was frequently mentioned as a source for Islamophobic content in the FBI Bulletin.
The residents of Islamberg were again targeted when the American Bikers United Against Jihad, (ABUAJ) led by Rami Lubranicki organized the “1st Annual Ride for National Security” by staging a bikers’ “ride” past Islamberg to promote patriotic concern for national security. Although the rally fizzled (a total of 5 bikers were present, in stark contrast to TMOA’s counter ‘peace rally’ attended by nearly 400 Islamberg community members and their allies from across the U.S.) Lubranicki, who has close ties with Pamela Geller, inspired Joseph Glasgow to organize the July 15, 2017, 2nd Annual Ride for National Security. This time, approximately 7 bikers and 30 vehicles participated in the harassment that included other militia members from the Proud Boys, Alt Knights, Oath Keepers and 3 Percenters.
America is made up of many ethnic groups from different cultures and religions, seeking fellowship and solidarity. But, unfortunately, sowing divisiveness pays. Islamophobia is built on many of the same principles as racism, and Islamophobes spring from the same basket where President Trump gets his “base”; they thrive by creating conflicts and pitting Americans against one another.
Jesus, Son of Mary (Peace be Upon Him) is the second to the last messenger of the Almighty Creator and Christians and Muslims alike believe in him. There should be no room to propagate Islamophobia and hatred by those who claim to follow his teachings and revere him.