American Muslims Accused of Islamophobia

30% of Muslims believe that Muslims are "more prone to negative behavior."

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

Muslims have a serious Islamophobia problem.

That’s the claim being made by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding which found that 30% of Muslims believe that Muslims are “more prone to negative behavior.”

That’s far higher than Jews at 13%, Catholics at 12% and Protestants at 11%.

18% of Muslims, the poll found, believe that Muslims are “more prone to violence”. Only 15% of Jews, 12% of Catholics and 13% of Protestants believe that about Muslims. The only group more likely to believe that Muslims more violent than Muslims are white evangelicals at 23%.

Dalia Mogahed, ISPU’s director of research, blames this on “internalized Islamophobia.” According to her, “Muslims have themselves internalized negative stereotypes about their own community” based on the media. Even though the media covers Muslims far more positively than any other religious group.

Mogahed was picked by Obama for his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. She’s collaborated with Muslim Brotherhood front groups and has been accused of mainstreaming them.

And her claim of internalized Islamophobia makes no sense.

Muslims are far less likely than any other religious group to believe that they discriminate against women. Only 12% of Muslims think that’s a problem compared to 23% of Jews, 29% of Catholics and 36% of white evangelicals. If Muslims have “internalized” Islamophobic ideas, it’s odd that they haven’t internalized the most popular criticism of their religion, the one that a quarter of the general public agrees with, but that they instead do admit that Islam has a serious problem with violence.

Either Muslim internalized Islamophobia is an extremely selective thing. Or Muslims don’t think sharia discrimination is a problem, but are unable to ignore the pervasive violence around them.

The ISPU statistics rank Muslims in America as being at 17 on the Islamophobia Index. Jews and Catholics clock in at 22. The general public at 24. And white evangelicals break the bank at 40.

Non-affiliated respondents score a 14 on ISPU’s Islamophobia index. That would make Muslims more Islamophobic than Americans with no religious affiliation. 

Can one be more Catholic than the Pope? Or less Islamophobic than a Muslim?

It’s natural to question the validity of any statistical measurement of Islamophobia which finds that Muslims are almost as Islamophobic as Jews and Catholics, not to mention the general public.

Either there’s something wrong with Muslims in America. Or with the idea of Islamophobia.

Faced with two unappetizing possibilities, Mogahed and her allies decided that Muslims in America suffer from Islamophobia (and it’s America’s fault) rather than that the idea of Islamophobia is a hoax.

The ISPU report attempts to blame the media for some Muslims recognizing their violence problem.

“Since there are several million American Muslims, the probability that a member of the community actually knows someone personally involved in violence is next to zero. Instead like everyone else, American Muslims are getting their perception of Muslims and violence from the media, not personal experience,” the report claims.

That Muslims get their perception of Muslims from the media, is a rather strange claim. The media is also heavily biased toward Islam, not against it. It always strives to portray Islam as an unambiguously positive phenomenon while insisting that Islamic violence has nothing to do with the religion.

That’s why the non-Muslims in the poll reject the linkage between Islam and violence. They’re the ones who are being influenced by the media. And their views reflect the messaging of the media.

Whether or not the average Muslim knows someone involved in violence, the odds are fairly good that he or she originates in the first or second generation from a country with a serious terrorism problem. Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Turkey, Somalia, Chechnya, Jordan and Lebanon account for much of the Muslim population of the United States. All of these countries either sponsor terrorists or experience terrorist attacks. Political and religious violence is either ongoing or just under the surface.

Dalia Mogahed is Egyptian. And so she ought to know how that works.

Most Muslims come from countries torn apart by political and religious violence. Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Iraq and Libya, to name five countries that many Muslims immigrated from, are in a permanent civil war.

Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan are a bad week away from getting there.

Does ISPU really think that Muslims get the idea that their culture has a violence problem from the media rather than from the fact that their home countries are in the midst or on the verge of genocide?

These are the absurdities that the Brotherhood’s Islamophobia industry expects us to swallow.

Islamophobia is a Muslim Brotherhood invention. And the Brotherhood has a history of using it to call other Muslims Islamophobes, from the Egyptian government to American Muslims like M. Zuhdi Jasser, and others, who like the 18% of Muslims in the poll, admit that there’s a problem. Given a choice between Muslims and Islamophobia, the Islamist establishment unsurprisingly picks Islamophobia.

The poll results and the response to it highlight a very real problem. And that’s the inability to deal with criticism of Islam even when that criticism comes from within. Islamic blasphemy laws police criticism in Islamic countries such as Iran and Pakistan. And accusations of Islamophobia police criticism abroad from non-Muslims and even from Muslims. Islamophobia has become a Takfiri term used to call out other Muslims for their willingness to speak out when they see something wrong within Islam.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s goal is to first consolidate control over Muslims and then non-Muslims.

Islamophobia accusations are not just a tool of external repression, but also of internal repression. Its method of linking any criticism of Islam to Islamophobia, to racism and colonialism, enlists the left in the Muslim Brotherhood’s project to silence Muslim critics by accusing them of bigotry and prejudice.

The ISPU report gets at that directly by claiming that “Islamophobic Muslims” may be “portrayed as more ‘anti-terrorism,’ ‘pro-democracy’ or passionately ‘patriotic,’” but actually support “discriminatory policies toward Muslims.” The obvious targets here are the Muslim critics of Brotherhood groups.

Can Muslims really be Islamophobic or discriminate against Muslims? What the ISPU report is really getting at is that Islamophobia exists apart from Muslims because it’s not really fear of people, but of Islamic doctrines. Islamophobia isn’t meant to protect Muslims, but to protect the doctrine of Sharia.

If Muslims can be Islamophobes, then Islam isn’t a population, it’s a doctrine. And Muslims who question the doctrine can be accused of Islamophobia, not for discrimination, but blasphemy.

The left claims that accusations of Islamophobia protect Muslims from discrimination. But as the ISPU report shows, accusations of Islamophobia can actually be used to discriminate against Muslims.

Islamophobia is a manufactured term that suppresses criticism of Islam by non-Muslims and Muslims.

If Muslims have an Islamophobia problem, it’s a very good problem to have. Societies don’t grow by killing their critics with machetes (Bangladesh), stabbing them (Iran) or hanging them (Pakistan).

They grow by learning from them.

When 30% of Muslims are willing to admit that their culture has a problem, that’s healthy. And when the Muslim Brotherhood and the left silences them by calling them Islamophobes, that’s the phobia.

Not a phobia of Islam. But a phobia of criticism, of change and of truth.