The Road to “All Muslims are Terrorists”

Spencer’s friends love to repeat the lie that all Muslims are terrorists, or in Spencer’s case, all GOOD Muslims are terrorists.

The Road to “All Muslims are Terrorists…”

It’s been travelled before.

Aside from the fact that real democracies don’t persecute their minorities, Jews are reminded in many pieces of scripture to never forget when we were “strangers in a strange land” (see the book of Exodus). Maybe this is one reason why Muslim-bashing ticks me off so much. As a group, we should know what it’s like — if not us personally, then our parents.

Nowadays, though, we have discovered that, after centuries of being despised by zealots and Christian-tinged nationalists, we have suddenly been mailed gold membership cards to a newly-constituted “Judeo-Christian” country club [others need not apply]. We’ve arrived, we tell ourselves. They love us. Things have changed.

Well, I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but the folks who hated Jews last year have simply moved on to new enemies. They haven’t stopped their hating, and I don’t trust their unctuous expressions of new-found love. The religious right responsible for so much of the bigotry toward Muslims (and previously Jews and African Americans) still can’t decide whether they want to kiss us, convert us, wear tallit and sing in Hebrew, or keep blaming us for Golgotha. By the time they realize we really aren’t converting any time soon, I suspect they won’t love us quite so much. And then it will be time for us to die in their End Times scenario. All this is to say – we’re really still the enemy. But ever since the Holocaust it’s just been, well, a bit awkward to say things like that in polite company. But give it time. They haven’t really changed.

Yet Jews are not their only enemies. Blacks, gays, tree-huggers, socialists, progressives, unionists, Hispanics, immigrants, flag-burners, pacifists, anti-globalists, anti-imperialists, secularists, atheists – the list is pretty long – everyone’s a target. And it has always seemed so obvious to me that much of their hostility to Muslims is that Islam is simply their number one religious competitor.

But none of this is new.

A few years ago, while doing some genealogical research, I came across a 1909 immigration document which recorded a family member’s recent arrival in America on a ship from Antwerp. I always found it odd that the shipping company had recorded all this information (but more on this in a second):

19y; male; single; can read/write;
Citizen of: Russia, Race: Hebrew;
Last Residence: Russia, [town] Destination: NY, NY; Has ticket;
Passage paid by brother;
In possession of: $25; Has been in US before in NY;
Never in prison or supported by charity;
Not a polygamist or an anarchist;
Place of Birth: Russia, [town]

In that year, 1909, many Jews were sympathetic to movements advocating anti-authoritarian forms of government based on justice, not nationalistic slogans. After all, nationalism had never been kind to Jews in Europe. For reasons of both fact and perception, most Jews were presumed to be anarchists in 1909.

And a cautious nation couldn’t be too careful about letting such troublemakers into a society whose ideal was British and German Protestantism. Organizations such as the Boston-based Immigration Restriction League were alarmed that so many of these new Jewish immigrants were “undesirable” that they helped legislate large fines on steamship companies which failed to screen them out (thus the detailed steamship records above). The League’s Numerical Limitation Bill was hardly subtle: restrictions were harshest on eastern and southern Europeans (Jews and Italians). The Dillingham Commission further restricted such immigration and totally eliminated Asians. The American nativists of the time believed these foreigners were inherently “lesser breeds” and incompatible with a superior Christian, European society – something echoed frequently by Tea Party types in the U.S. today and by Islamophobes like Geert Wilders. The League’s charter:

We should see to it that the breeding of the human race in this country receives the attention which it so surely deserves. We should see to it that we are protected, not merely from the burden of supporting alien dependants, delinquents, and defectives, but from what George William Curtis called “that watering of the nation’s lifeblood,” which results from their breeding after admission.

Sound familiar?

First they came for the Jews, then the Muslims. Who’s next?

Terrorism in Europe, What if they were Muslim?

The anarchists seem to be on a tear across Europe.

Terrorism is a serious issue in Europe, but contrary to popular misperception it isn’t the Mooslims you should be worried about:

‘Wave of terrorism’: Blasts hit Rome embassies

ROME — An Italian anarchist group claimed responsibility for parcel bombs on Thursday that wounded two people at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome, a reminder of home-grown threats at a time of political instability in Europe.

A Swiss man was seriously wounded and was rushed to hospital. The employee at the Chilean embassy was less seriously hurt. A note was found stuck to his clothing, claiming responsibility for the attack on behalf of the FAI, or Informal Anarchist Federation.

“We have decided to make our voice heard with words and with facts, we will destroy the system of dominance, long live the FAI, long-live Anarchy,” said the note, written in Italian, which was released in the evening by the police.

Terrorists Not Muslim?…Then “Police Blotter Bob” Doesn’t Care

I am sure that “Police Blotter Scholar” Robert Spencer was salivating at the news: Parcel blasts occurred at two embassies in Rome. I’m sure he was quick to type up a long screed on his hate site about how Muslims are a threat, that Islam is all about “jihad” and violence, that all Muslims are radicals and if they are not, they are lying to you…etc, etc. I mean, what a perfect, mouthwatering scenario for Spencer: Muslim terrorists attack the capital of Catholic Christianity! Why, I bet his keyboard was soaked with his saliva!

But, it must have all come to a screeching halt when it was learned that the terrorists behind the attacks were “Anarchists-insurrectionists”:

An Italian anarchist group said it was behind the attacks in a note found on the clothing of the injured Chilean.

The message, written on behalf of the Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI), said: “We have decided to make our voice heard with words and with facts, we will destroy the system of dominance, long live the FAI, long-live Anarchy.”

The Italian intelligence services said in a report to parliament last year that the FAI was “the main national terrorist threat of an anarchist-insurrectionalist type”.

In fact, according to the BBC article:

Responding to Thursday’s blasts, the Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, said: “It’s a wave of terrorism against embassies, something much more worrisome than a single attack.”

The terrorists in this case are not Muslim, and thus it explains why Robert Spencer has no mention of the attacks on his hate site. You see, news such as this does not fit into Spencer’s narrative about Islam’s evil, its violence, its threat to the West, and so on. Thus, he simply omits the evidence that refutes his hypothesis. Why, how scholarly of him!