Islamophobia — on The Daily Show

It looks like Jon Stewart has discovered his Islamophobe-within as he drums up laughs and fear among those Americans who’ve decided that Libya is the new Afghanistan and Libya’s rebels are destined to become foot soldiers for Osama bin Laden. For Stewart, the armed opponents of Gaddafi aren’t just rebels but something far more ominous: Muslim rebels.

Having implied that Libya is now the training ground for terrorists who might some day attack America, Stewart then goes on to mock the young fighters as though any revolution worthy of the name instantly spawns battalions of skilled soldiers. No doubt in the early days of the American revolution, there were plenty of English satirists who scoffed at the idea that a rag-tag army of disgruntled colonists could possibly defeat the King’s vastly superior forces. And who’s to say whether America’s revolution would have succeeded without outside support through the supply of weapons, training and then French intervention?

A story reported by Wefaq Media, translated by ShababLibya and posted on, shows that rebels defending Misratah are using cunning to make up for some of the disadvantages they face against Gaddafi’s much larger and better armed forces.

Several days ago, the freedom fighters unloaded the fuel station located on a service road for heavy transport vehicles. The gasoline it contained was emptied and was replaced with water instead. The freedom fighters then retreated thus leaving the fueling station to be accessible to the nearby Gaddafi brigade.

Because it’s easy to trap a mouse in a trap, the rats of Gaddafi looted the fuel station and started filling their armored vehicles with ‘fuel’! When they attempt to leave, their vehicles stopped moving , and that is when our freedom fighters ambushed them! Gaddafi’s solders were forced to flee leaving their dead vehicles behind. I guess the next time they want to fill up, they’ll have to taste the fuel to be sure.

Meanwhile, Ryan Calder on his excellent new blog, Revolutionology, reports on the Orientalist bias among the major news outlets who have an appetite for images that reinforce Western assumptions and fears about those Libyans who have taken up arms.

In an area of desert where literally hundreds of fighters are gathered, freelance photographers go for the salable shots — such as images of men reading the Quaran. These are the pictures the news agencies will have most interest in buying. Why? Because fearmongers like Jon Stewart choose to reinforce the idea that even if liberal peace-loving Americans bear no animosity to Muslims in general, Americans still have reason to be afraid any time a Muslim picks up a gun.

The American left is Muslim-friendly — so long as we’re talking about Muslims who don’t fight and preferably don’t take their religion too seriously.

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6 thoughts on “Islamophobia — on The Daily Show

  1. Donna Bubb

    Remember, Stewart always has to let everyone know he’s a Jew, very pro-Israel, Zionist, so he’s going to do his bit to smack Muslims.

  2. Abu Asad

    Reading the Qur’an is very common among Muslims. The five daily prayers, starting mundane things in life such cooking, getting in a vehicle, etc., always involve verses from the Qur’an. Why all this fuss about Muslims reading the Qur’an in a battlefield or at the time of peril?

  3. Paul Woodward

    Unfortunately, many Americans (and others in Western countries) have such deep-seated prejudices against Muslims that they associate simple acts of religious practice (such as reading the Quran) with religious extremism. That means, if they see a newspaper report on rebels in Libya with a photograph of two men reading the Quran, many Westerners will immediately infer that Gaddafi’s opponents are jihadists.

  4. Norman

    It’s O.K. to be Christian, wear your faith on your sleeve here in the U.S., but, as with other branches, the ignorant rise to the surface, like cream in a milk bottle. Of course, the U.S. version isn’t cream, rather it’s more like skim milk when railing against the Muslim faith. We can thank the Israelis for that. If anything, they have done a superb job vilifying and poisoning the mindset of the West towards Muslims. It doesn’t help that the U.S. Congress also encourages that same bigotry.

  5. est

    There are five fundamental practices that are generally common to Muslims worldwide.
    These are commonly known as the Five Pillars of Islam. They include:

    Declaration of Faith – This is what people say to become Muslim, and it is repeated during prayer,
    in the call to prayer, and at other times during the day. This declaration of faith, called the shahada, states,
    “There is no god but God and Muhammad is his messenger.”

    Prayer – Muslims are supposed to make five daily ritual prayers — one at dawn, one at noon,
    another in the afternoon, at sunset, and before bed. These prayers may be performed alone or in a group.
    Friday is the Muslim Sabbath, so people may gather in a mosque for the noon prayer. This is called juma’a.

    Giving charity – Muslims are required to give of their bounty to those who have less. This is called zakat,
    which literally mean “purification.” It is a tax of 2.5% of one’s annual savings.

    Fasting during the month of Ramadan- Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
    Muslims fast from dawn until dusk. They abstain from food, water, sex, cigarettes, gossip, anger, backbiting,
    and other negative behaviors. The fast is designed to encourage self-discipline and sympathy.
    Ramadan is the month when the first revelation was given to the prophet.

    Pilgrimage, or hajj – If they are financially and physically able, Muslims are required to make a pilgrimage,
    or hajj, to Mecca once during their lives. Mecca is in Saudi Arabia, and is the site of the Kaaba,
    the building Muslims believe was the first house of worship dedicated to the one God.
    Several rituals are performed during hajj: circling the Kaaba; running between the hills of Safa and Marwa
    (echoing Hagar’s search for water for her son, Ishmael); traveling to the plain of Arafat, outside of Mecca;
    and throwing stones at pillars that symbolize the devil.


    Muslims share certain beliefs, including:

    The oneness of God (Allah) – For Muslims, there is no entity worthy of worship but Allah.
    Allah has no partners, no progeny and no gender.

    Belief in God’s prophets – Muslims believe that Allah’s message was given to numerous prophets,
    including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus, and other prophets common to Christianity and Judaism,
    as well as Muhammad. Muslims believe that Muhammad is the last prophet, in part because he had
    the most success instituting God’s word in his lifetime.

    Belief in angels – Muslims believe in spiritual beings who do the will of God.

    Belief in sacred books – These include the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel, and the Quran.

    The day of judgment and resurrection – Muslims believe that human beings are accountable for their behavior
    during their lifetimes. At death, that behavior is part of what determines how the person will be judged.

    [from the pbs site]

  6. Colm O' Toole

    Firstly thanks for the link to Revolutionology always on the lookout for new sites to bookmark.

    Secondly this is an interesting piece. I think I have said before that if Hezbollah had agreed to send fighters to Libya I would support it and the rebels. But I don’t support NATO sending in their fighters. The difference being of course that NATO are supporting the Libyan rebels not out of a desire to fight Gaddaffi’s oppression but to replace it with another pliable client state. Hezbollah would assist the rebels without any of the imperial handups present in a conventional military force.

    You are right of course about the strand of left wing thought in America mainly that supports Muslims as long as they follow a Ghandi-like path of non-violence but condemns them when they take to arms to fight for self determination. I would say there is some things worth fighting for if the cause is just, overthrowing a dictator being one main cause.

    I also think this left wing view has been accepted way before the current Post 9-11 world. Look at the condemnation by the left of Che or the lack of support the IRA got during the 70’s and 80’s.

    PS: Of course some nuance is needed, having Al Qaeda alligned groups fighting alongside the rebels is not the same as having Hezbollah fighting alongside the rebels. Al Qaeda are not freedom fighters because they would seek to simply replace a Gaddaffi dictatorship with a religious dictatorship. Hezbollah while Islamic do not impose religion on other people (which is why they got most of the Christian vote in Lebanon’s elections and why you can walk on a beach in Lebanon wearing a bikini even though Hezbollah is the main party of government).

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