The recent shooting in the Sikh temple in Wisconsin that left six dead, the burning of a Mosque in Joplin, MO and the smearing of Huma Adedin, longtime aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were all fueled by the Islamaphobia of crazed white supremacists and fear mongering from our elected representatives and high profile government officials with outrageous imaginary claims of links to terrorists. It is the job of those of us on the Internet and in the traditional MSM to denounce the hate and help right the wrongs that we can. This is how it’s done:
Glenn Greenwald: Combating Islamophobic violence
Helping a burned-to-the-ground Missouri mosque quickly re-build would make a powerful and constructive statement
Shortly after the Islamic Society of Joplin opened a mosque in 2007 in Joplin, a small town in Southwest Missouri, the sign in front was set on fire, an act determined to be arson. On the 4th of July of this year, someone who is undoubtedly a deeply patriotic person was filmed by a surveillance camera throwing a flaming object onto the roof of the mosque in an attempt to burn it down, causing some fire damage (see the video below); despite a $15,000 reward offered by the FBI for information leading to the arrest of those responsible and a clear shot of the attacker’s face, nobody has come forward to identify him.
On Monday of this week – the day after the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin – that same Joplin mosque burned to the ground, completely destroyed by a fire that began in the middle of the night. So powerful was the fire that “only remnants indicated a building had been there, including some stone pillars that were still standing and a few pieces of charred plywood loosely held up by a frame.” Although the cause has not yet been determined, investigators – for obvious reasons – have labeled the fire “suspicious” and are searching for signs of arson. As obviously ugly as these incidents are, they offer an opportunity to make an important statement.
In response to these events, a teenaged member of that mosque, Joplin high school student Laela Zaidi, began using social media such as Reddit to talk about what happened and to discuss the importance of the mosque to her community (it’s not only the town’s only mosque, but the only one within a 50-mile radius, leaving Joplin’s Muslim families with no place to gather for Ramadan); the results of Zaidi’s online efforts (including her defense of her community) are surprisingly moving. In Salon on Monday, Joplin native Susan Campbell described the abundant humanitarianism in the town when it was devastated by a horrendous tornado last year, and called upon residents to tap into those same sentiments now by turning the July 4 attacker into authorities. Local-area churches and synagogues have quickly united in a show of support for the mosque.
Most significantly, a little-publicized online campaign to raise the $250,000 needed to rebuild the mosque has produced extremely quick and impressive results. Yesterday, when Al Jazeera’s The Stream wrote about the then-hours-old campaign, it had already raised 1/5 of the money needed ($51,000). When the campaign was first brought to my attention last night and I tweeted a link to it, it had already raised $75,000. As of this morning, barely 24 hours after the campaign began, just over half of the money needed ($126,000) has been raised. Having this Southwest Missouri mosque be able to quickly raise the money needed to re-build – all from small donations of people on the Internet disgusted by these attacks – would be a powerful statement indeed, and I really encourage everyone who can do so to donate.
As of today (Friday), over $262,000 has been raised, exceeding the goal for rebuilding the Mosque. Don’t stop. Donate here
In Glenn’s article, he points out the ugly trend of hate crimes directed at the Muslim community that have reached epidemic levels and the complicity of some of our elected officials and the mainstream media:
This happens because overt expression of Islamophobia is, far and away, the most accepted form of bigotry in mainstream American precincts. Now and then, certain expressions of it are so extreme as to embarrass mainstream circles – Peter King’s Congressional investigation into The Enemy Within or the Michele Bachmann attacks on Hillary Clinton’s Muslim aide – and are thus roundly condemend, but more often than not, they are perfectly acceptable.
The Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank today suddenly realized that Andrew McCarthy – the former federal prosecutor and oft-quoted “legal expert” now writing obsessive anti-Muslim screeds for National Review – is a hatemongering crackpot with exactly the right last name. The NYPD is exposed for indiscriminately targeting innocent Muslims with mass surveillance and infiltration in their communities, and almost every mainstream state and city politician – led by Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer and the Democratic mayoral front-runner Christine Quinn – cheers. When demands were made that an Islamic community center be moved away from Ground Zero in Manhattan – as though Muslims generally were to blame for the 9/11 attack – even some prominent liberal politicians supported that demand.
And a hearty thanks to Stephen Colbert for taking them to the woodshed with his humor: