CNN reports: A tide of anti-Islam sentiment has been swelling across America in recent months, strong enough to prompt one imam to wish for the days immediately after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks when President George W. Bush declared that Muslims were not our enemies; that the war on terror was against a select few who acted upon their hate for America.
“In the 11 years since, we have retreated,” says Abdullah Antepli, the Muslim chaplain at Duke University who likes to call himself the Blue Devil Imam.
Muslims make up less than 1% of the U.S. population. Yet, say Muslim advocates, they are a community besieged.
Hate crimes against Muslims spiked 50% in 2010, the last year for which FBI statistics are available. That was in a year marked by Muslim-bashing speech over the Islamic center near ground zero in Manhattan and Florida Pastor Terry Jones’ threats to burn Qurans.
Antepli likens the current climate to McCarthyism. Left unchecked, he says, anti-Muslim fervor, like racism and anti-Semitism, has the potential to evolve into something dangerous.
This year’s holy month of Ramadan, which ended August 19, was marred by a spate of violence at U.S. Islamic centers that included a fire, a homemade bomb and pig parts. The incidents were unprecedented in scale and scope, says the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
At least seven mosques and one cemetery were attacked in the United States during Ramadan, according to the council and other groups that track such incidents.
Particularly visible on the anti-Muslim radar has been the state of Tennessee, where a mosque opened during Ramadan after two years of controversy. The new Islamic center in Murfreesboro opened a few weeks ago after delays caused by legal wrangling, community protests and vandalism.
Also in Tennessee, incumbent congresswoman Diane Black found herself publicly opposing Sharia after her opponent Lou Ann Zelenik made it a campaign issue.
State senatorial candidate Woody Degan’s website also mentions Sharia:
“VOTE CONSERVATIVE! VOTE Anti-Sharia, VOTE Against Internet Taxes, Vote FOR Gun Carry Rights! VOTE for your PERSONAL RIGHTS!”
And Gov. Bill Haslam recently came under fire for hiring lawyer Samar Ali, a Muslim woman from Tennessee, to work in the international division of the state’s economic development department.
Ali’s critics called her Sharia-compliant and a website called Bill H(Islam) attacked the governor for pursuing “a policy that promotes the interest of Islamist (sic) and their radical ideology.”
The website links to another that discusses, among other things, Islamic infiltration of public schools.
“I cannot stress enough the seriousness of their push to spread their religion to all non-Muslims throughout our country,” says website author Cathy Hinners, another speaker at next Tuesday’s 9/11 event in Franklin.
“Why? Why are Muslims so adamant that we accept their religion? The answer is simple. The answer is in black and white. The answer is in the Muslim brotherhoods “Strategic Goal for North America.” It’s called a global caliphate. One religion, one government, one law… called Sharia.”
In November 2010, more than 70% of voters in Oklahoma approved a ballot initiative to amend the state’s constitution that banned courts from looking at “legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia law.”
The amendment died after a federal court ruled it discriminatory.
“That was very explicitly anti-Islamic,” says Glenn Hendrix, an Atlanta lawyer who specializes in international law. “It specifically referenced Sharia.”
This year, 33 anti-Sharia or international law bills were introduced in 20 states, making it a key issue. Six states – Louisiana, South Dakota, Kansas, Arizona, Louisiana and Tennessee – adopted such laws prior to 2012.
Two Tennessee lawmakers attempted to pass a bill this year that would have made it a felony to practice Sharia, but it failed.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations says the anti-Sharia bills are based on draft legislation promoted by David Yerushalmi, an anti-Islamic lawyer from New York. [Continue reading…]