Monday, August 29, 2011

Another Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy

Head over to Mondoweiss to find a free PDF download of a massive and thorough report by the Center for American Progress called "Fear Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in the U.S." Running 130+ pages (which I'm still digesting), the report documents the network of right-wing pseudo experts orchestrating the wave of Islamophobia responsible for everything from bizarre legislation against Muslim Sharia law in the Midwest to bloodthirsty racist protests against the proposed downtown Manhattan Muslim community center.

In the aftermath of the right-wing terror incident in Norway which revealed many of the leading lights of Islamophobia to be influences and even correspondents to its perpetrator, the report paints a compelling picture of a vast international and well-funded web with a laser-focused agenda on demonizing Muslims. There's a great chart in the report showing the multi-million dollar funders at the root of this network, the misinformation think-tank experts who pull the paychecks, and the "Islamophobia Echo Chamber" who do the dirty work of "mislead[ing] the public [by] amplifying the fear and misinformation" that they are supplied. Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is prominent among the "echo chamber" players. It's heavily footnoted, and absolutely chilling.

The report warns, "As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the Islamophobia network will be working overtime. The anniversary could be manipulated to ratchet up the non- existent threat of Sharia and warn of apocalyptic dangers stemming from Muslims living in America."

While the report is chock-full of detailed information, I'm finding it a little weak on analysis: while it correctly labels much of the Islamophobia as "racist," it fails to delve too deeply into the "why." While painting an exhaustive picture of craven and cynical opportunism, it doesn't take too deep a look at how central the American relationship to Israel is to creating the petrie dish where this infection has bred. That said, this is an indispensible document that names plenty of names.

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