anti-muslim watch

Unlike those vigilant against anti-semitism[1], I am not particularly concerned about this, mainly because no one has rounded up 6 million muslims and sent them to the gas chambers. I have no inclination to append the word "yet", not even in pareenthesis, to that preceding sentence. But maybe this would have been appropriate: (in the US).

So, two examples of mainstream anti-muslim sentiment. First, radio talk show host Mike Barnicle referred to two Academy Award nominees as "terrorists" by virtue of their Islamic-sounding last names:

Reading the names of this year's Academy Award nominees on his talk show yesterday, Mike Barnicle inexplicably referred to two of the actors -- Shohreh Aghdashloo and Djimon Hounsou -- as "terrorists." Aghdashloo, who's Iranian, is nominated for best supporting actress for "House of Sand and Fog," and Hounsou, who was born in Africa and grew up in France, is nominated for best supporting actor for his role in "In America." Barnicle, a former Boston Globe columnist, didn't return a phone call yesterday, but a WTKK spokeswoman and Globe sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy confirmed Barnicle made the remark. Shaughnessy was in the studio at the time. "We haven't heard from anybody. It happened so quickly," said Leslie Cipolla, marketing director for WTKK. "It was a passing comment."

The second example is a personal anecdote. I was driving to our masjid in Houston for the observances on the final day of Ashara, which commemmorates the martyrdom of Imam Husain AS. My wife and daughter were in the car, and we were attired in our traditional religious community dress. While stopped at a stop light, the couple in the pickup truck on our left looked over, noticed us, and scowled, talking darkly amongst themselves at our intrusion. When the light turned green, the boy in the passenger seat spat upon us as they drove past. No harm done but this is actually the 4th time my car has been spat upon by white ignoramuses at that same intersection (no, there isn't any other route to masjid :) Once, our would-be saviour of America actually exited his car and tried to invite me to fight. I simply waited until the light turned green and correctly figured his instinct for confrontation would be tempered by traffic. I've also had my car vandalized with the word "ASSHOLE" scratched into the drivers' side, been called a raghead to my face (for the record, no rag or cloth of any kind was on my head at the time).

Note that there have been numerous examples of genuine courtesy, especially after 9-11. Once, a decorated, aging veteran approached me in Sam's Club and apologized for the actions of anyone who has harassed us. I had trouble convincing him that no one had, perhaps my faith in my countrymen is higher since I've never seen war.

But my experience has been atypical. I've heard anecdotes from nearly every ciy where there are Bohras about incidents, ranging from casual to outright violent - including an acquaintance who was willing to defend himself in a Dallas McDonald's far better than his attacker figured capable. I haven't heard of that sort of thing since the end of 2001, thankfully, but anti-muslim sentiment is now engrained in the broader culture in a way it wasn't previously.

[1] so widespread, even rearing it's ugly head in the invocation of century-old literary characters, apparently. No comment.

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