With the eager help of the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and others, the liberal media have warned of and bemoaned an anti-Muslim backlash since 9-11. Unfortunately for them, the evidence never bore that out.
Now they think the wait is finally over, and they're hitting the anti-Islam hate meme with gusto. Case in point: the front page of the Washington Post's Metro section on Aug. 27. "Hostility across U.S. jars young Muslims," read the headline.
Author Tara Bahrampour focused on Muslim students at local D.C.-area colleges and their reaction to the "swelling hostility that many of these students had scarcely known was there ..."
Evidence of "swelling hostility?
For weeks, their faith had been under attack by some opponents of a proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero. Every time they turned on the TV, there were new reports of anti-Muslim sentiment: mosque construction being opposed hundreds of miles from Ground Zero; a Florida pastor vowing to burn copies of the Koran to mark the anniversary of Sept. 11; a poll showing that 43 percent of Americans hold unfavorable views of Muslims. And just this week, a Muslim cabbie was stabbed in New York.
Certainly, there are unfortunate incidents that all Americans should condemn, and voices that should be ignored. But they hardly constitute a Mulsim-targeted kristallnacht. To the frustration of the media, the Muslim cabbie who was stabbed opposed the mosque, and his attacker - no right winger - worked for an organization that supports it.
Yet Bahrampour and the sources she quoted escalated perceived slights and differences of opinion into "a civil rights issue." She used the isolated incident of a Muslim teenager becoming upset about the ravings of a lone individual on the subway to suggest that mosque opposition will create "homegrown terrorism."
"That anger, youth leaders and terrorism experts warn, could push some young Muslims into the arms of such extremists as U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi," she wrote. In his recruiting efforts, Aulaqi often portrays Islam as being under attack by the West." (Interestingly, Bahrampour failed to note that al-Aulaqi was once celebrated by her newspaper as a moderate "Muslim leader who could help build bridges between Islam and the West," and even had him host a web Q & A on its site.)
She quoted Georgetown University's Yahya Hendi, a Muslim chaplain. "The most vociferous mosque opponents ‘do not know what they are doing ... They are radicalizing people.'"
Once again, the onus is on Americans, not on those who could be turned to terror by public disagreements, perceived insults and isolated acts of violence.