We look forward to reading The Fight of Our Lives, the new book by William J. Bennett and his radio show producer, Seth Leibsohn. In anticipation, we greatly appreciate this CNN special article about the overstatement of anti-Muslim bigotry in the media and as a result, in popular perception. Here’s are several excerpts from the article with my comments, but I hope you have a chance to read the entire thing.
Let’s start with the national numbers: 8.4 percent of religious hate crimes in America were anti-Muslim in 2009 (the most recent date for which statistics are available). By contrast, that same year, nearly 72 percent of religious hate crimes in America were anti-Jewish (Muslims in America faced 107 incidents of bias in 2009; Jews faced 931).
This pattern has remained fairly consistent over the past decade. For example, in 2002, 10.5 percent of the religious bias crimes in America were anti-Muslim while 65% were anti-Jewish; in 2006 (just to pick another post- 9/11/2001 year), 11.9 percent of the religious bias crimes in America were anti-Muslim while 65.4 percent were anti-Jewish. (It is worth noting here that exact statistics on the Muslim population in America are hard to assess — estimates range from 2.6 million to 7 million, a number President Obama cited — the Jewish population is generally agreed upon at about 6.5 million.
I’ve spoken to several people recently who simply won’t be bothered with these facts. To them, anyone who is concerned about the goals and aims of Jihadis is a backwater bigot. They choose feelings over facts, and ignore the truth that there are far more incidents of Jew-hatred than Muslim-hatred in our country.
Of course each and every hate crime is horrific, and we wish there were zero hate crimes in America, but the larger point is important for context. If a radio host or some cable commentator or U.S. senator said, “The United States discriminates against Jews” or “Jews have a particularly hard time in the United States” or, “There is a lot of anti-Jewish bigotry in America,” it would simply not comport with most people’s — or most Jewish Americans’ — understandings of 21st century America. And yet, we accept at face value the storyline of wholesale anti-Muslim bigotry in America.
Some have suggested that the numbers for these supposedly anti-Muslim incidents are skewed upwards since pamphlets distributed by CAIR instruct police departments to report any crime committed against a Muslim to the FBI as a hate crime, whether religion affected the perpetrator’s motive or not. That wouldn’t surprise me, but even so, the numbers are still tiny. These facts support our claim that many Muslims use the victim card to intimidate goodhearted Americans. Subsequently they strengthen us in our resolve to “throw political correctness in the garbage can,” an action which Brigitte Gabriel has often declared to be a necessary one if we are to effectively fight and win this struggle.
Indeed, the Muslim experience in America is an interestingly supportive one, especially in our post-9/11 world. In 2008, Americans elected a president with an Arabic name and whose father had been born a Muslim — and in higher numbers than in several previous presidential elections: Barack Obama received 53 percent of the vote in 2008, George W. Bush received 51 percent of the vote in 2004, and Bill Clinton received 49 percent of the vote in 1996.
Another example of a lack of widespread anti-Muslim bias is the fact that in 2010, a Muslim and Arab woman, Rima Fakih, was chosen as Miss USA. Indeed, it appears more in the Muslim community had a problem with Ms. Fakih’s crowning than did the rest of the American community. And most recently, a CNN poll found that nearly 70 percent of Americans said they would be OK with a mosque in their community and that “positive views of Muslim Americans are on the rise.” It is also worth noting that nearly 700 mosques have been built in America over the last decade.
Hard facts to ignore—yet many will do so preferring their world-views based on moral equivalency.
Still, an uncomfortable fact remains, but it is not about bigotry. Despite the full and equal rights Muslims are and should be entitled to in America, we face a problem that too few are willing to speak about: Radical Muslims have declared war on America, from within and without, and that threat is on the rise. This uncomfortable fact has put many Americans on the defensive. But most of those on the defensive are those who recite this fact, not those who avoid it.
Well stated, Dr. Bennett and Mr. Leibsohn. It’s interested almost to a comic degree how many pro-Islam links are embedded between the paragraphs in this story. CNN deserves credit for running the piece, even if it is a paid ad from Bennett/Leibsohn’s publishing company.