A new tent at the Islamophobe circus can now be added to ridicule Muslims from Chechnya or any other place 'over there' where Muslims/Islamists like the Tsarnaev brothers come from.
Little is being said about the decade they spent in the US. Dzhokhar was 9 years old when he moved to the US. Last year he became a US citizen. Tamerlan was 16 when he moved to the US. He is married and a father to a 3 year old girl. Does any of this matter?
Professor Juan Cole has written a very interesting post that speculates on the relationship between Tamerlan, Dzhokhar and their father. It is entitled "Fathers and Sons and Chechnya" (April 19) and it suggests that the boys were raised in a secular home (like a lot of post-Soviet Muslim families) and that their father likely worked for Russian security in Chechnya against Muslim rebels. It is an interesting piece that plays with complex family dynamics as it searches to understand the possible motivation behind the alleged actions of the Tsarnaev brothers. Could it be that they were rebelling against their father and his politics?
Judging the coverage by the mainstream media though, what is obviously more important now is to build a Muslim terrorist profile. Their actions can't just be about personal dysfunction or deviance or family dynamics/politics as suggested by Cole. CNN is being careful though. Facing scrutiny and criticism for reporting a "dark-skinned" suspect before the FBI released pictures of the Tsarnaev brothers the brains trust do not want to give the impression that Islamic influences need immediate fingering.
But fingering will be needed and called for, obviously; the hysterical Muslim terrorist narrative must be affirmed.
The media is already picking at the pieces of their lives that will prove the foregone conclusion that they were radicalized by Islam to bomb the Boston Marathon.
The evidence lurks in YouTube lists and an isolated comment on a social site where Dzhokhar listed Islam as his way of life.
The kink in all of this is that the Tsarnaev brothers are not Arab - not typical Muslim terrorists that is. They also not brown. They are in fact white in race terms - given their origins in the Caucuses.
None of this will matter. They are Muslim and that is enough to confirm the racist 'commonsense' that Islam bombed Boston and, therefore, all Muslims are terrorists - white ones too.
Already Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York, has described the Tsarnaev brothers as Muslim terrorists. He said in an interview that “I think these two obviously were Islamic terrorists motivated by Islamist views.” You may remember that King headed the House Committee on Homeland Security and held controversial and frankly racist hearings into 'radical Islam' in 2011. He now chairs the Sub-Committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence and said in the same interview that it is time to set aside political correctness and profile Muslims because their communities contain the Islamic threat that now faces the US.
"We’re at war with Islamic terrorism," King said. So I guess in keeping with this thinking it will be necessary for ordinary Muslims to surrender their constitutional and other legal rights and accept being profiled and watched for no reason other than being Muslim.
I am not surprised by this nonsense and its attempt to advocate for a second class citizenship for Muslims in the US. Racism and hatred toward Muslims is now a staple of American political consciousness. It is a time of heightened danger for Muslims and the danger extends beyond the borders of the US. And King is not alone in his myopic bigotry.
What will it take for Muslims to be able to live without fear in the US and elsewhere in the West? You tell me.
Muslims are expected to be apologetic - even more so now. Muslims have to just accept that people say things like: "Don't talk to me about your supposedly peaceful religion" or "Not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslim".
Muslims are called names in public and discriminated against in silence by those in power who decide who gets a job, a promotion, a bank loan, or a college scholarship, for example.
It is an untenable time that calls for a greater force of resistance. I am calling for militant non-violent acts. Muslims must stand up everywhere and push-back against those who want us to cower under second or even third class citizenship.
We need to call bigots out on their bigotry. Shame racists and Islamophobes. And we need to build alliances with like thinking communities that share the vision of democratic diversity both locally and across borders.
Just pressing on and hoping that no-one will know you are Muslim or laying low and not ruffling feathers is not a reasonable and fulfilling way to live.
Muslims are under attack and the content of that attack is vile and genocidal at its roots. Just take a look at these tweets that have been reproduced at Public Shaming. The tweets below demonstrate the foregone conclusion that Muslims/Islam/Arabs (and in some cases even North Korea and Obama) are to blame for the bombings:
You can see more here. Also see "Innocent until proven Muslim" (April 16) at Mondoweiss for more of the same.
I like the idea of shaming these folks not because I support censorship. Rather folks should be known for what they put out there. It is the balance that is called life - it comes with consequences.
And we are not free.