*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
Persecution is facing violent hostility and I’ll-treatment due to one’s race, political or religious beliefs and to hear American evangelicals tell it their entire existence is fraught with terrifying persecution for their religious beliefs. What they never admit is that in their minds, being restrained by the U.S. Constitution from forcing compliance to their religion is what they consider persecution. Although the media happily plays along and advances the persecuted Christian narrative without contextualizing how absurd the “persecuted Christian” is, there are growing accounts of true, almost biblical, persecution against Muslims and the media is silent.
It’s not clear if it’s because the main stream media is terrified of offending television celebrity Donald Trump by suggesting that his hateful anti-Muslim rhetoric is producing results Islamophobes wanted, or because Muslims being burned, punched and executed doesn’t matter, but there is a dearth of reporting on Americans persecuting Muslims.
One had to go outside American media to get the facts on several attacks on Muslims because around the world it is stunning that in religious freedom-loving America, one faith is being persecuted with veritable impunity. This week the Guardian reported that a woman dentist visiting America from Scotland for a holiday was set on fire on Fifth Avenue in New York City as she was browsing high-end storefronts. The Scottish woman was dressed in traditional Muslim attire when a man walked up, took out a lighter and lit her blouse afire according to New York City police.
The woman wasn’t seriously injured and declined medical treatment, but obviously the damage far exceeded physical pain. The emotional terror at even the thought of a human being attempting to burn you alive, foreign tourist or not, can’t possibly be overstated. Police do have an image of a suspect wearing a baseball cap turned backwards and a tank top while nonchalantly sauntering away after the assault. New York law enforcement officials are reluctant to classify the persecution of a Muslim tourist as a hate crime.
A couple of days prior to the attempted immolation of a Muslim, two 23-year old Muslim mothers pushing strollers with infants on board were punched in their faces by a “real American” woman. The assailant screamed epithets at the two moms and attempted to jerk their hajibs off their heads while ordering them to get the Hell out of “her America.” In this instance law enforcement did conclude that unprovoked punching while screaming to get out of America did constitute a “hate crime” but there was still no mainstream reporting.
It is noteworthy, though, that no Christian churches were set on fire just like no Christian moms were punched in the faces, no sixty year old Christian women were stabbed to death like a Muslim woman, and no Christian tourists were set on fire. It is also true that no preachers were shot dead execution-style in broad daylight like an Imam and his friend were in Ozone Park last month.
The executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations New York (CAIR-NY) released a statement on Monday appealing for law enforcement assistance in protecting innocent Muslims. Afaf Nasher said, “We are clearly seeing a spike in attacks on individual Muslims and Islamic institutions in New York and around the country, which should be of concern to all Americans. It is time for the mayor and the NYPD to put forward the necessary resources to investigate and prevent these attacks on the Muslim community.”
Last week when the big story was Hillary Clinton’s comments regarding Donald Trump’s “deplorable followers,” there were no comments about her assertion that bigotry, racism and Islamophobia is not what “America” is about. Curiously, some people believed her. It is likely the reason they have a warm and fuzzy feeling for their country being a civilized society is that they never hear or read about the barbaric Americans persecuting a people simply for their religious beliefs. But when an evangelical is prohibited from forcing their religion down other Americans’ throats, all Hell breaks loose and the media reports the alarming increase in the persecution of Christians.
It appears that even the media is embracing the Trump narrative that what America really needs is a television celebrity as president who pledges to do whatever it takes to preserve America’s Christian heritage for all Americans whether they are Christians or not. If that wasn’t the case, these brutal attacks on Muslims would be front page news nationwide.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.