Monday, June 21, 2010

The Grand Façade: How Islamophobia and Misinformation Thrive on the Right

Diana West seems to have given up on any sense of journalistic creditability and gone head first into hyperbolic conspiracy theories. In her article, “Islam and the Left share common aims” West interviews and praises author Andrew C. McCarthy. McCarthy’s new book The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America is, according to West, “excellent [and] ground-breaking.” Newsweek had this to say: “McCarthy marries a simplistic and unoriginal argument about Islam to a sloppy talking point that Barack Obama is a communist by way of shoddy history and dangerous misunderstandings of Islam.”
You may have heard of McCarthy and his first book detailing his time spent as a federal prosecutor against the perpetrators of the 1993 WTC bombing. He uses this fact to get his argument rolling and perhaps to establish some creditability. However, it quickly falls flat.
In his interview with West and throughout his book, McCarthy engages in logical leaps even the writers of Lost would find suspect. For McCarthy, violent and non-violent Muslims all have the same goal which is why he criticizes the government’s counterterrorism efforts, rejecting their claims that terrorist acts are not representative of Muslims as a whole. The goal of Muslims, he claims, is to implement Sharia law globally and that “Sharia-driven campaign can be waged, and is being waged, by non-violent means, and that the violent and non-violent methods are inextricably linked.” Essentially what McCarthy is alleging is that any individual Muslim or Muslim organization is trying to destroy American values. Now, I shouldn’t really be surprised by this since he is on record calling CAIR a radical Islamic organization.
McCarthy also supports a common movement seen amongst Islamophobes, ending Muslim immigration to the United States. A pretty baseless argument he tries to support by claiming that Islam is inherently “anti-Constitutional” and therefore any Muslim who enters the country must “demonstrate their acceptance of American constitutional principles.” I would be interested to see how any American, Muslim or not, could somehow prove that they accept constitutional principles. Especially when there are parts of the Constitution I think could use a little re-working.
But what do these convoluted, xenophobic arguments against Muslims have to do with the Left? Well, according to McCarthy, plenty.
He claims that Islam and the Left share similarities in that they are against America and the “culture of freedom” it provides. He writes “today’s left-leaning, Islamophilic Obamedia consciously ignores the convergence, but America’s 44th president and America’s enemies have a common dream.” Wow. “Islamophilic Obamedia?” Who has been giving the Right lessons in neologisms?
It is fitting that McCarthy shares his surname with the poster child for manipulative rhetoric and paranoid witch hunts. He is able to simultaneously attack the Left and Muslims, the scapegoats du-jour for the Right. However, he misses one imperative point: nothing he is writing is true. Are there leftist Muslims? Absolutely. However, there are also leftists of every other creed. To assert that one religion will somehow yield absolute political affiliations is not only baseless, it is downright stupid. Luckily for us, I doubt he will convince anyone with this book. It will merely reinforce the views of those who already are fervent critics of Muslims.
I will say that in my first four weeks at CAIR, I have been exposed to some shocking rhetoric I did not know existed. People like West, McCarthy, Pamela Gellar, and Robert Spencer all engage in fearsome attacks on Islam and Muslims. While I would hate to encourage anyone to seek them out, it is imperative to hear the arguments from these crazies in order to combat them.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home