After 9/11, anti-Muslim hate groups emerged faster then I could say “freedom of religion!”. By 2010 anti-muslim legislation was making headlines in New York because people were opposing development of Islamic Centers in lower Manhattan.
ACT for America, founded in in 2007 by Brigitte Gabriel is a US-based anti-Muslim advocacy group. It is one of the largest hate groups in America. According to their website, they have 750,000 members, 13,000 active volunteers who promote their ideology, have helped pass 12 federal bills (10 of which are related to terrorism but NONE that address non-Muslim American terrorists), and 84 state level bills. Their logo is “Join the other 750,000 CONCERNED Americans just like you”. I am concerned, but I am not just like the reported 750,000 members of ACT. In fact, their “concern” makes me fear for my own safety.
What truly irritates me is how committed people are to ignorance. It takes a lot of energy to hate. It honestly does. You have to continuously remind yourself to be an asshole. You have to be absolutely self absorbed. For instance – Frederick Nolan Sorrell followed a Black Muslim couple for TWENTY blocks, driving alongside, screaming racial slurs and mimicking firing gun gestures. Sorrel who is 49 years old – a full grown man pretending his fingers are a hand held gun? You kinda gotta be a low life… Because come on, lets be honest. I am twenty one, I am a full time student and I work on weekends. I barely have time to see my friends. Let alone the time to go out of my way and follow someone for twenty blocks… twenty blocks. That takes commitment. Sorrel pleaded not-guilty and though I’m not a fan of bigots – I am definitely a fan of of bigot crocodile tears.
Just before that we saw another Islamophobic driven crime, the Portland bus attack. The assailant Jeremy Joseph Christian openly expressed hate towards Islam/Muslims – and began verbally attacking two Muslim women, one whom was wearing the hijab. When two men intervened, he stabbed them and then ran off the train. Witnesses stated that Jeremy was yelling “Muslims are criminals”; “get out of the country because you don’t pay taxes here” etc. In court Jeremy’s ignorance peaked. He said he’d die a happy man knowing that he was a patriot. His words ? “Death to the enemies of America. Leave this country if you hate our freedom. Get out if you don’t like free speech. You call it terrorism; I call it patriotism. You hear me? Die.”
Going back to ACT for America’s mission statement “750,000 concerned Americans…” I’m sorry if your concerns revolve around MY religious beliefs, but there are 3.3 million Muslim Americans whos concerns I would like you to consider as well.