No country has ever detached its collective consciousness from the violence it purports abroad. Those communities that are sought after by American arms or American boots on foreign soil will surely become sought after by American bigots at home. Our current campaign of conquest in the Middle East is no exception.
Today, politicos and bumpkins alike spread a vitriolic hatred for a people they know little of. Lindsey Graham has gone on record saying that “we” are in a “holy war” with Islam; a representative in Texas demanded that any Muslims that entered her office recite the pledge of allegiance while facing an Israeli flag. Meanwhile, the SPLC cites two Department of Justice studies that assert that “the real level of hate crimes in America [against Muslims] is some 20 to 30 times higher” than reported by the FBI. Statistics, of course, do not render the suffering of every snide remark directed at a Muslim man about his probable terroristic tendencies, every disdainful and sometimes violent reaction to a woman’s hijab, or stories like that of Darlene Hider, a hijabi mother of two who was harassed on a Delta flight and then forced to sit in the back of the plane as punishment for having caused a “problem.”
Rest assured that this pathetic, loathsome display of bigotry against Muslim citizens in the United States is not an offshoot of some inevitable “clash of cultures” as is often spewed from the high throne of racial ideology. It is not a natural occurrence; it is not a divine dictation or any sort of unalterable cosmic arrangement.
It is a consequence of our destructive excursions in the Middle East that Islamophobia is quickly becoming as American as baseball, Chevrolet, or torture. The prerequisite for war is dehumanization, and the dehumanization of Middle Eastern peoples has become one of the few policies in Washington that is elicits no dissent in the chambers. Not a home has been demolished in Gaza, nor a child killed in Pakistan that has not resulted in furthering the systemic denial of Islamic humanity.
Our killing Muslims abroad for so long can only stay abroad for so long. Our communities, which by now consist of a plethora of kinds, colors, and creeds (Muslims being an integral part), will pay a price for our international impunity. Every drone strike in any majority-Muslim country in the world reminds someone, somewhere that Muslims are not deemed worthy of life by our authorities. With this a seed of hate is planted, a seed that will blossom in our own backyards- as surely as the bombs will continue to fall.