An employer introduced his new hire as a “good Christian”. Hardly newsworthy, but maybe actionable, if the new employee replaced a devout Muslim who often prayed at work, didn’t quite fit in to the office social scene and didn’t always agree with his fellow workers on the Iraqi war. Then there was a 19-year old woman who was hired wearing the traditional Muslim headscarf and was fired when she refused to remove it at work. These fact patterns and others like them form the basis of a record number of claims alleging religious discrimination against Muslims and Islamophobia in the workplace now being heard in American courts and at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. http://plaintiffmagazine.com/Apr12/Durrani_Working-while-Muslim_Religious-discrimination-in-the-workplace_Plaintiff-magazine.pdf.
Islamophobia, “an irrational fear of Islam and animosity toward Muslims” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/muqtedar-khan/islamophobia-only-a-short_b_2721633.html, is fast becoming the window through which non-Muslim Americans view Muslim Americans and the rest of the Muslim world. The causes are apparent. The horrendous attacks of September 11, 2001 and the myriad of other such attacks affecting almost every corner of the world have fueled the growth of Islamophobia. It has even found its way into pop culture.
Two acclaimed films, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, under a seemingly critical veneer, make the case for use of our more gruesome anti-terrorist policies, such as torture and drones. These policies become merely Machiavellian, with the ends justifying the means. Our policies are right, because they correct an even greater wrong. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/muqtedar-khan/islamophobia-only-a-short_b_2721633.html.
Our policies may ultimately be right. But it would be an unfortunate truth if they were based on what we called “propaganda” during the Cold War. In the recent Benghazi hearings, time and again we heard the term “Islamic terrorism”, an identification of terrorism with Islam. Even Hitler and his Nazis, probably the greatest and most efficient mass murderers of the 20th century, weren’t called Christian mass murderers, even though they were Christians, and they were hell-bent on annihilating Jews.
Propaganda is reinforcing our Islamophobia, making acceptable mistreatment of our own citizens and a foreign policy which may be based on prejudice and intolerance. Even in a post 9/11 America, both outcomes should be unacceptable as a violation of our basic freedoms.