Thursday, January 7, 2010

For Some, Every Muslim is a Guilty Muslim

Islamic terrorist has become a catch phrase to justify the loss of rights and freedoms while engaging in racism.   I remember thinking just after 9/11 that this event would trigger  attacks against Muslims of color because of their visibility.  History has certainly proven me to be correct on this point.  Mosques have been fire bombed and now people are openly advocating for racial profiling of Muslims.  Some are more than willing to forget that Muslims have lived peacefully beside us, as a part of our society for a long time.

Muslim women are particularly vulnerable because their bodies reveal an intersection between religion and Islamophobia.  Those who may avoid openly attacking or being hostile to a Muslim male, may have no problem attacking a woman because sexism has become an ingrained aspect of our society.

Amal Abusumayah was grocery shopping when Valerie Kenney began to loudly complain  “about the Muslim  Army major who allegedly killed 13 people and injured 29 others during a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, two days earlier”.  According to the Chicago Breaking News Center,  Kenney then approached Abusmayah and pulled her headscarf.  She has since plead guilty to a misdemeanour and has apologized to Abusumayah.

Some will read this post and dismiss it as an isolated incident but in truth, violence against Muslims is on the rise.  We are far to ready to convict all for the actions of a few, forgetting that in each group of people there are good and bad.  We are far to ready to perceive a threat, forgetting that the actions of western governments played a large role in creating the McWorld vs Jihad situation that we are currently in.

There can be no doubt that the terrorist actions engaged in by some Muslims is certainly wrong but we have not even in our supposed fear, really listened to what is behind the violence in the first place.   We seek to meet violence with violence, convincing ourselves that we are acting out of some moral imperative, when our own governments have committed atrocities in our name.

We lay hands upon those we do not respect.  Valerie Kenney committed a hate crime when she assaulted Amal Abusumayah because she is Muslim.  The fact that she only got probation and was forced to issue an apology, reveals that even our institutions are dedicated to protecting the rights of the oppressor.  Can you even imagine for one moment a Muslim woman slapping or otherwise assaulting a White woman or man and receiving such a mild penalty?

Amal Abusumayah did not receive justice and Valerie Kenney learned that there will be very little punishment for acting in ways in which we find socially acceptable, even if they are morally reprehensible. Each and every time we do not abide by our stated laws to support an ism, we reveal that the true objective is not peace, or democracy but the right to oppress at will.  This verdict will send this very message to the Muslim world.  Our institutions may be secular but they are not without many of the same issues that we regularly attack other  countries for.