Author: Janet Allon
The Paris attacks unleashed a terrible scourge of Islamophobic rhetoric and actual violence both in Europe and America. In London, a Muslim woman was pushed in front of an underground train—fortunately, she survived. Here at home, no one has been killed, but Republican politicians are fanning the flames of hate. Leading the pack is presidential candidate Donald Trump, who — since he can’t build a wall to keep Muslims out — has floated the even more fascist ideas of closing mosques and issuing ID cards for all Muslims. Ben Carson, sinking in the polls, but still popular with evangelicals, despicably compared Syrian refugees to rabid dogs.
It’s not hard to see that the dehumanizing vitriol spewed by demagogues is part of a continuum that includes the violent actions of everyday haters who are willing to threaten and commit harm to people they perceive to be different from them. Some Islamophobes need no nudging, like the Chapel Hill murderer Craig Hicks, who shot his three young Muslim neighbors execution-style last February after menacing them for years.
Now, just as after 9/11, violent ignoramuses are going after Muslim (or Muslim-looking) neighbors and strangers who cross their path. And politicians like Trump and Ted Cruz do nothing to dissuade them or distance themselves from their despicable actions.
Here’s a roundup of Islamophobic incidents that have occurred in the week since the Paris attacks.
1. Just hours after the attacks in Paris last Friday, the FBI and local police investigated reports of multiple gunshots fired at the Baitul Aman mosque in Meriden, Connecticut.
2. Two Tampa Bay-area mosques in Florida received threatening phone messages on Friday night. The idiot who made those threats left his name on the messages.
In one, 43-year-old Martin Alan Schnitzler reportedly said, “This act in France is the last straw. You’re going to f*cking die.”“I personally have a militia that’s going to come down to your Islamic Society of Pinellas County and firebomb you, shoot whoever’s there on sight in the head,” he added. “I don’t care if they’re f*cking 2 years old or 100.”
3. Another Florida family had bullets fired at their home on the weekend after the attacks. One bullet went through the garage and entered the master bedroom, coming to rest in the dresser drawer. Fortunately, Orange County resident Amir Elmasri and his family were away when the shootings occurred. He told a local news station that his whole family feels unsafe as a result.
4. At the University of Connecticut, an Egyptian student discovered the words “killed Paris” written next to his name on his dorm room door last Saturday.
5. Muslims in Omaha felt threatened when someone spraypainted a rough outline of the Eiffel Tower on an outside wall of the Omaha Islamic Center in Nebraska soon after the Paris attacks.
6. On Monday, in a suburb of Austin, Texas, leaders of the Islamic Center of Pflugerville discovered feces and torn pages of the Quran had been thrown at the door of the mosque.
7. On Tuesday, in a suburb of Houston, Texas, authorities arrested a man accused of threatening on social media to “shoot up a mosque.”
8. In Spotsylvania, Virgina, which has a well-established Muslim community going back 30 years, a group of virulent Islamophobes invaded a community meeting held to discuss plans to build a mosque. The civil engineer on the project, Samer Shalaby, was making his presentation when he was shouted down by the men, one of whom yelled, “This is evil!” When Shalaby’s supporters tried to defend against the onslaught, the man yelled, “Shut your mouth! Every one of you are terrorists. You can smile at me. I don’t care what you say — every Muslim is a terrorist.”
Some in the meeting applauded the disruption.
Trump et. al. were completely silent on the matter, apparently unfazed.