Anti-Islamic Fervor – The Unasked Question: “Why Now”?

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First, i want to say that I completely understand with the sentiments regarding building a mosque so close to the World Trade Center. But what is happening now has moved well beyond that question. Something else is entering the equation, creating a poisonous atmosphere of recriminations and distrust. I mean, it’s getting really ugly out there. We’ve seen a tremendous upswing in anti-Islam demonstrations recently, and it’s not just in New York. There have been demonstrations in Tennessee, in Wisconsin, and even in little . This video is making the rounds on the Internet, and shows just how rabid this has become.

This is spinning dangerously to the point where we lose control. The poor guy being harassed says he’s not Muslim, but apparently he looks the part, or maybe simply might have said the wrong thing. Regardless, Robespierre would be proud.

Here is my question: Why is this happening now?

I mean, come on, it’s almost nine years past the events of 9/11, and only now are we seeing a nasty vitriol against Islam. I would have expected it to manifest and metastasize much earlier than this. I know this is flaring up because of the controversy surrounding the Cordoba Mosque (notice I didn’t call it the “Ground Zero Mosque”, a clever designation designed to elicit a negative response). Right wing radio hosts / professional agitators around the country are riding this for all it’s worth, exclaiming that Islam is not a religion, but is a political system, and the mosque is just a way to induce a transformation of our American society to one ruled by leading this charge. “>Sharia law (in it’s correct usage one should just say Sharia, as it translates basically to Law). Even my local radio guy Chris Daniel, who is of the non-rabid variety, has come out as said the same thing. Blogger and author Pamela Geller is leading this charge, Everyone else is being willfully, happily led by the nose, regardless of whether her accusations against Islam are truth, half truths, or simply made up. Indeed, talk radio has its own reasons for pursuing this anti-Islam meme in the form of increased listenership and higher ratings (never let a good crisis go to waste and all that). This feels very bandwagonish to me.

A few radio hosts, such as Michael Savage, would tell you they have been “warning us about the real goal of Islam” since even before 9/11. Savage and company have been broadcasting suspicions that a lot of people have been secretly harboring, yet would not express openly. Why is this anger against Islam manifesting the American conscientiousness and becoming evident only now? You could say the Cordoba Mosque is the catalyst for this, yet some on the right who are now against this knew about it long before it became controversial, yet did not have a problem with it. Conservative host Laura Ingraham was indeed for it before she was against it.

Why is this happening now?

Here is my answer: We’re losing the Global War On Terror.

We’re withdrawing from Iraq, without a stable government or any guarantee of Iraqi oil receipts to show for it. Afghanistan is getting worse, not better. The American public is slowly but surly souring on the idea of being in a prolonged war that does not seem to have a describable “end game” scenario. Pakistan does not feel like a solid partner in the GWOT. Nothing we have done has stopped North Korea from acquiring the bomb, and we don’t seem able to do anything to stop Iran from doing the same. We’ve lost this so bad, the North Koreans have even been able to actually attack and sink a South Korean sub with impunity. Europe, especially England, has found that they can’t police certain Muslim neighborhoods, as they have established their own little Sharia systems of law to deal with their own community issues. The American public, especially those who support it, are realizing this, and there is nothing that can do about it. Just as other cultures have turned on minority groups as a valve to channel anger away from its root cause, are Conservatives embracing a Holy War mentality against Islam as a way to avoid facing what the evidence is saying – We are losing the GWOT.

Of course, it can be said that it is the Democrats that are causing us to lose the war, yet I don’t see the American public re-embracing the idea of prolonging the current wars, nor do I expect that if the Republicans win big in November, that they will steer the Congress to declare war on Iran.

Note: This is not just an American phenomenon, though the dynamic is somewhat different, there are anti-Islam protests going on in Europe too.