There have been multitudinous attempts throughout the history of the world of one group attempting to demonize another group, and when it is successful there is never a good ending. Conservatives in America have been demeaning contrary opinions and ideologies for decades and even though there is seldom any truth to their assertions, they have successfully turned public opinion against their targets. After the terror attacks on 9/11, conservatives went on a rampage to portray all Muslims as terrorists and killers whose sole purpose was to exterminate Americans. The hateful rhetoric increased last year when plans were revealed to build an Islamic Cultural Center and Mosque near Ground Zero, and the results were discrimination and opposition to Mosques and Muslims across America and although the controversy has died down a bit, there is still rampant Islamophobia in this country with no apparent end in sight.
One of the conservative tactics is to make baseless accusations against an individual or group in hopes of damaging their reputation and eventually causing them to lose their voice or their audience. It is a despicable tactic that Republicans and their conservative media supporters have mastered. In the past week, a conservative radio host, Debbie Schlussel continued the anti-Muslim rhetoric by attacking a renown legal scholar, Jonathan Turley, and accused him of being funded by the Bin Laden family and using another family as a front for an Islamic radical agenda. Although there is anti-Muslim sentiment in Schlussel’s attacks, she is also attacking Turley as a liberal and progressive who frequents MSNBC as a legal analyst and often exposes the lies and misinformation being put forth by conservative groups and individuals.
It is interesting that Schlussel attacked Turly with claims he works for an Islamic front group with a radical agenda, because she did not mention tea party and conservative operative Dick Armey who lobbied Congress in behalf of an Iranian terror group. However, besides being consummate liars and fear-mongers, Republicans and their conservative pundits are abject hypocrites, but that is another column that will be addressed in the near future. Hypocrisy aside, Schlussel represents the type of person who fails to learn from history the lessons that intelligent human beings, with enough prodding and fear-mongering, are capable of atrocities that are monstrous in their scope and breadth, but that appears to be Schlussel’s motive. Ms. Schlussel has a history of Islamophobia and her goal is the extermination of an entire group of people based on religious grounds and little else.
When Osama Bin Laden was killed by American special operations forces, Schlussel’s comment was, “One down, 1.8 billion to go . . . many of ‘em inside U.S. borders, with the U.S. government at all levels kissing their asses.” Within the same paragraph of that statement, Schlussel claims she never said she wanted all Muslims wiped off the face of the Earth, but she did say, “When 1.8 billion Muslims stop supporting HAMAS and Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad and the Muslim Brotherhood, etc., then we will have succeeded. But that won’t happen.” Schlussel continues her Islamophobic rant saying, “We are the idiots who let hundreds of thousands of more Muslims–many of them representatives and agents of Hezbollah, HAMAS, and other component groups of the Al-Qaeda network–into our country.” It is unfortunate that Schlussel, like every other ultra-extremist neo-conservative, has nothing better to do than promote more hatred and fear of a group of Americans because they do not follow her particular religious and political point of view. It is incredibly dangerous to portray hundreds-of-thousands of any people as monsters just to make points and garner listeners for a radio show.
Schlussel also attacked Lara Logan, the CBS war correspondent who was raped in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in February after it was reported that Hosni Mubarak was on his way out. Schlussel said, “As I’ve noted before, it bothers me not a lick when mainstream media reporters who keep telling us Muslims and Islam are peaceful get a taste of just how “peaceful” Muslims and Islam really are. In fact, it kinda warms my heart. Still, it’s also a great reminder of just how “civilized” these “people” (or, as I like to call them in Arabic, “Bahai’im” [Animals]) are when they get a taste of freedom.”
It is horrific that any human being, much less a woman, finds delight in another woman’s rape just to make a fallacious point that the actions of a few represent an entire people. In fact, Schlussel did not stop there. In the same article that she assailed Muslims after Bin Laden was killed, Schlussel could not help but mock Ms. Logan and it reminds normal human beings just how savage and inhumane conservatives are when they engage in fear-mongering and Islamophobia to promote the extermination of an entire people. Schlussel said that now that Bin Laden’s death was the prime news story, Logan’s harrowing experience was not important. She wrote that, “Islamo-propagandist Lara Logan is pissed. Her “60 Minutes” sob story whitewash of Islam–which was not mentioned a single time in the story of her rape by hundreds of Muslim men–is now back-burner news. So sad, too bad. Karma is a bitch for Islam’s bitch.” Conservatives are seldom (if ever) accused of having compassion or empathy, but Schlussel is the epitome of heartlessness and represents her political ideology well by using an incredibly painful, near-death, and life changing experience to demean an innocent victim.
There is no argument that within Islam there are adherents who want nothing more than to see America and the West eliminated or converted, but there are the same type of animals in America in evangelical congregations across this nation and it would be irresponsible to portray all Christians as monsters even though it appears to be the case at times. It is too bad that people like Schlussel has never read a history book’s account of the Holocaust, or talked with a Jew who survived Nazi Germany because she would discover that Hitler portrayed the Jews as savage animals that were responsible for the ills of the world and convinced good Christian Germans to aid in the near-extermination of an entire group of people whose only fault was that they were not Christians.
The Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and it is a crucial freedom that can never be abridged or eliminated, but there are those times when a law prohibiting a person’s speech from inciting violence or hatred is desirable. There can be no arbitrary interpretations on free speech though and for better or worse, it can never by eliminated regardless the heartless fear-mongering and hate-speech promulgated by neo-conservatives in the media or at the local coffee shop. If people like Debbie Schlussel had made one comment that could be misconstrued or misinterpreted, she could be excused. However, the woman has a record of vile pronouncements and baseless accusations that are meant to incite hatred for the Muslim faith. She is not an aberration and is representative of conservatives who, in lieu of facts, attack anyone who does not advocate for their position on taxes or ideology of extermination of Muslims in their own countries and especially in America. However, it is increasingly evident that vile human beings like Schlussel would not have a forum for her animosity if there was not an audience that supports her brand of hate. It is a hate that is alien to decent human beings, but no-one would ever confuse Schlussel, her conservative cohorts, or her vile audience of being decent human beings.