How Islamophobia Spread Through the Media Is Emboldening Racist, Violent Extremists (VIDEO)

Rising Islamophobia summons the ghosts of America's bloody past to justify permanent war abroad and an assault on freedom at home.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

According to Hatem Bazian, the rising tide of Islamophobia in the United States is not an issue for Muslim-Americans to grapple with alone, as it has global implications.

Mounting hate is “being used to rationalize the rolling back of democracy and freedoms at home, as well as justify open-ended war abroad on the basis of a ‘clash of civilizations’ worldview,” said the lecturer at UC Berkeley and co-founder and professor of Islamic law and theology at Zaytuna College.

Bazian explained to AlterNet that this seemingly novel form of bigotry is firmly rooted in America's long history of racist violence, constituting a "continuation of the old racism, but with a new target."

“More importantly, by constructing Muslims as the new, feared other, the racists are able to reclaim the civil society arena under the guise of defending society but on the basis of reconstituting the segregated and Jim Crow past," he warned. “The same groups that are targeting Muslims are using it as a stage to assert themselves to lead society and using White anger to stoke their backlash to push the new and more diverse America out."

Given this present danger, Bazian argued that social ills cannot be addressed in isolation. “Islamophobia is connected and must be addressed within a broader coalition that counters bigotry and racism in all its forms," he emphasized.

The following video was led by Bazian and produced by the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at Berkeley. In this new educational resource, Bazian examines the social problem of modern-day Islamophobia and offers guidance for how to break out of this violent cycle.

Sarah Lazare is a staff writer for AlterNet. A former staff writer for Common Dreams, she coedited the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahlazare.

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