Listening to Joy Cardin on NPR today, there was a comment she made to a caller that set me off a little bit.
The discussion was centered around a book by a Muslim-American woman which attempts in a clear-cut way to illustrate some of the true "rules" of Islamic culture. When I came in to the discussion--and I apologize for not being able to give you the title or author, I was in the car and can't seem to find it on NPR's site--but when I came into the program she was discussing the historical precedent for judges throwing out cases of a woman's adultery where death by stoning was considered. In light of recent events, an altogether noble effort in itself.
This isn't what struck me, however. A caller asked for the guest's comments about the more or less publicized US-policy of George W. that it's "with us or against us." The caller felt (rightly in my mind) that the former President's policies and actions were basically anti-Islamic. Joy, with a more or less "shushing" tone, corrected the caller that Bush had gone out of his way post-9/11 to be seen with Imams and stated fairly often that Islam was a religion of peace.
That may all be factually correct but why, then, is Islamo-phobia the catch-word of the day? The US vs. Them attitude that prevailed certainly wasn't contradicted by the administration's actions or foreign policy stances--or by a deceptive war waged, ostensibly, against Islam itself.
Posturing for power is endemic to politics, that's no secret. I can't help but think that it was in W's interests to appear amiable in this situation while simultaneously promoting mass hysteria. Public opinion for an already unpopular war would have been unsustainable and provoked action. I can't abide this sort of posturing, however, that places in opposition and hatred and fear a group of people so vitally important to American relationships around the world. There's something wrong with consenting-by-silence to a rise in racism.