“Trump’s Muslim ban is real and even more draconian than many anticipated. Visa holders, dual nationals, and even green card holders from Muslim-majority countries may be barred indefinitely from the United States. Based on our analysis of the Executive Order language that is circulating, nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who are outside of the U.S. with a valid U.S. visa will not be able to enter the United States. The order is written in such a broad manner that it may also prohibit dual nationals of those countries who are citizens of non-targeted countries from entering the U.S. on a visa. Perhaps most alarmingly, it can be interpreted to bar even U.S. permanent residents who are outside of the United States from re-entering.
“We in the Iranian-American community are already feeling the effects of this proposed actions. Plans for family to visit, for loved ones to return home, for family friends to join us to study in U.S. schools, are now in jeopardy. There is a palpable feeling of being torn apart from our friends and loved ones. Just a year ago, we were full of hope that the American people and the Iranian people were heading down a new road of engagement thanks to the nuclear deal. Now we are not even sure if parents will be able to attend weddings in the U.S. or if we need to put travel plans abroad on hold for fear of being blocked from coming back.
“NIAC Action calls on the Trump Administration to reconsider this dangerous course of action and for lawmakers to publicly oppose this plan before Trump’s finalization of the order, which is expected tomorrow. Further, any nominations to key national security or civil rights-related posts, including Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson and Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, should be put on hold until these actions can be fully evaluated and nominees address the public’s concerns.
“The list of countries targeted under the Executive Order is based on a discriminatory visa waiver bill (H.R.158) passed in 2015 shortly after then-candidate Trump called for a Muslim ban. We warned then of a slippery slope and are now on the way to a much darker vision of America than many of us could have imagined.
“The ban will initially last for 30 days but it is likely that for some countries it will be permanent. The document says that, after the 30 day suspension of entry, the Department of State and Homeland Security will present a report of countries that do not provide enough information to the U.S. to ensure visa applicants from that country are not a threat. Those countries will be given 60 days to address those issues and comply with U.S. requirements. If they do not, a Presidential proclamation will be issued to ban all entrants from that country.
“For Iran, mindful of the tensions between U.S. and Iranian governments we are skeptical that Iran would comply with such requirements or that, if it did comply, the Trump Administration would accept such efforts. This would, in effect, mean a permanent ban on entry for Iranians.”
Public status update on Facebook “I am amazed at how effectively the Clinton campaign has appropriated identity politics, and anti-racist and anti-sexist terminology, to suit its goals. Feminism has become a battering ram to silence left critics of Clinton. From the 50 something woman to the 17 year old high school student, the chorus is that one is exercising “privilege” by not voting for Clinton. Wow! So it is a “privilege” to want to hold Clinton/Gore accountable for throwing millions of poor women off AFDC (welfare), for throwing hundreds of thousands more black and brown people into prison, for killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, for passing the Iraq Liberation Act (and thereby making regime change in Iraq official US policy and laying the groundwork for Bush’s bipartisan invasion and the deaths of hundreds of thousands more)? Must we stay silent about the horrendous justification for US/UN sanctions that Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeline Albright gave which resulted in the deaths of half a million Iraqi children? To critique Albright for her statement that the price was “worth it” does not make one a sexist, unless of course your brand of feminism is of an imperialist, corporate, upper class variety (I don’t like the term “white feminism” because it does not address class inequality). Must we not bring up how Clinton/Gore forced millions of Mexican peasants off their land and turned them into immigrants via NAFTA? It is a privilege to ignore these atrocities in my view. Further, when one does raise these examples the response one gets is that people make mistakes and they can change. Hillary cannot be held accountable for Bill’s actions even though she insists that she is qualified to be president precisely because of that experience. So let’s look at the Obama era when she was Secretary of State. Where were the critics of “privilege” when the Obama administration deported more immigrants than any other administration in history and thereby legitimized Trump’s politically less sophisticated attack on immigrants? Where were they when that administration deepened the Bush administration’s national security/surveillance apparatus, by, among other things, prosecuting more whistle blowers than any in history, expanding the drone program, and accelerating the erosion of civil liberties? Where were they when the more sophisticated form of Islamophobia, the liberal version, made Muslims responsible for “reporting suspicious activity”, thereby making all Muslims culpable for the actions of fundamentalists (a point echoed by Clinton is the last presidential debate)? Where were they when the Obama administration bailed out the banks and the auto companies, but left homeowners and auto workers high and dry? And those of us who wrote about, spoke out against, and protested these actions are “privileged” for being outraged at all the damage these policies have inflicted? Wow, we truly do live in an Orwellian world (the arguments here were developed in collaboration with Patrick Barrett. We are planning to write an article on this. Let’s hope that happens!)” Deepa Kumar
Islamophobia in Australia (presented by Mariam Veiszadeh
“Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years. He has written nine books, including “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (2009), “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (2008) and the best-selling “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” (2008). His book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.”
Excerpt of interview:
DESVARIEUX: So, Chris, this news certainly is dominating headlines right now. And many people are asking themselves, why Brussels?
HEDGES: Well, I think for many of the same reasons we saw the attacks in Paris. You have a large immigrant community that comes out of North Africa, in particular. They tend to be segregated within the society. There’s a heavy degree of racism. High unemployment. There is a struggle for identity, because, for instance, they may have been born in Tunisia or wherever, come to Belgium or France at a young age, but because of the endemic European racism don’t fit in, are not treated as equals. And yet when they go back, you know, they’re looked upon as being French or Belgian.
DESVARIEUX: When you say they’re not treated as equals, can you give us an example?
HEDGES: Well, especially in French society, they’re segregated into [banleus], these horrific Stalinist-type housing projects on the outside of French cities, Leon, Paris, and other places. And unemployment is very high. The majority of the prison population in France is of North African descent.And they are easy prey because of the way European society has treated them. They’re easy prey for these Islamists. Many of them have been adrift. I mean, you actually, most of them don’t come out of religious households. They’re involved in petty crime, and for what I had read of the two suicide bombers at the airport in Belgium, they had a history of petty crime. And then they have this kind of conversion experience where their rage is sanctified. And the rage is legitimate. I mean, they have every reason to be angry at the way they’ve been treated. And that translates into these kinds of attacks. That’s the first thing.The second thing is we have to acknowledge that for the last 13 years in Iraq, 15 years in Afghanistan, we have been bombing these people night and day. We have created millions of refugees, over a million dead in Iraq. And they don’t have an air force. So if you’re bombing Raqqa, as we are continuously, which of course, you know, these 500,000-pound fragmentation bombs are hardly surgical weapons. They can take out, you know, several houses on a city block. So the collateral damage, as we call it, is quite high. So the only way that ISIS can strike back is, essentially, through these kinds of attacks.
DESVARIEUX: And in the aftermath of these kind of attacks, you have folks like Hillary Clinton. She’s come out saying that we need more surveillance. And Ted Cruz, and other nominees. So do you think this type of, sort of knee-jerk responses that we need surveillance, what’s your counter for that?
HEDGES: Well, they’re dealing with the symptom, not the cause. The cause is the U.S. military occupation of the Middle East, and the brutality, and I would even call it state terror, let’s include the terror of drones, has inflicted on huge swathes of the population. And this is a very potent recruiting tool in the hands of groups like ISIS. And the reason that they have expanded to the extent that they have. So violence, our violence, is what created these groups. We go all the way back to the war against the Soviet Union and our empowering of ISIS. You know, we have created these groups. And what you’re, what these political figures are in essence calling for is a tactic, you know, which has contributed tremendously to this kind of terrorism, i.e. violence, as the way we’re going to defeat these groups. It’s just a complete misreading of what’s happening on the ground in the Middle East and how complicit we are in essentially fueling these kind of attacks.”
Abby Martin interviews Dr. Deepa Kumar, professor of media studies at Rutgers University and author of *Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire*, about the roots of this alarming situation. From confronting right-wing arguments, to examining the reality behind Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims, to how Islamophobia is a reinforcement and basis for the structures of Empire, the first Empire Files episode of 2016 gives essential context to the wave of anti-Muslim hate in America and beyond. http://multimedia.telesurtv.net/v/the-empire-files-492547/
“Dr. Deepa Kumar is an Associate Professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University. Her work is driven by an active engagement with the key issues that characterize our era — neoliberalism and imperialism. She has been active in various social movements for peace and justice and has written numerous articles in both scholarly journals and alternative media.
Kumar’s first book, Outside the Box: Corporate Media, and the UPS Strike, is about the power of collective struggle in effectively challenging the priorities of neoliberalism. Her second book titled Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire, looks at how the “Muslim enemy” has historically been mobilized to suit the goals of empire.
Kumar began her research into the politics of empire shortly after the tumultuous events of 9/11. She is currently working on a third book on the discourses of terrorism within the mainstream media and in the political sphere in the US.
Hosted by the Center for Asian American Studies with generous support from the Office of the President, the Department of English, Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Middle Eastern Studies and the South Asia Institute.
Excerpt (read full essay here) “Richard Rorty in his last book, “Achieving Our Country,” written in 1998, presciently saw where our postindustrial nation was headed.
Many writers on socioeconomic policy have warned that the old industrialized democracies are heading into a Weimar-like period, one in which populist movements are likely to overturn constitutional governments. Edward Luttwak, for example, has suggested that fascism may be the American future. The point of his book The Endangered American Dream is that members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers—themselves desperately afraid of being downsized—are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.
At that point, something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for—someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. A scenario like that of Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here may then be played out. For once a strongman takes office, nobody can predict what will happen. In 1932, most of the predictions made about what would happen if Hindenburg named Hitler chancellor were wildly overoptimistic.
One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. The words “nigger” and “kike” will once again be heard in the workplace. All the sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students will come flooding back. All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.
Fascist movements build their base not from the politically active but the politically inactive, the “losers” who feel, often correctly, they have no voice or role to play in the political establishment. The sociologist Émile Durkheim warned that the disenfranchisement of a class of people from the structures of society produced a state of “anomie”—a “condition in which society provides little moral guidance to individuals.” Those trapped in this “anomie,” he wrote, are easy prey to propaganda and emotionally driven mass movements. Hannah Arendt, echoing Durkheim, noted that “the chief characteristic of the mass man is not brutality and backwardness, but his isolation and lack of normal social relationships.”
Episode 2 examines the framing of Islam in “the West” with excerpts from Prof. Hamid Dabashi. It takes a personal look at an individual Muslim women’s experience in Australia and in particular in relation to feminism and International Women’s Day. Muslim women are often portrayed as victims and downtrodden in the media. They are also most commonly the target of violence with the rise of anti-Muslim racism / Islamophobia today and this is compounded by misogyny and patriarchy.
Here are some links of the excepts I mentioned:
Book: “Muslims in the Western Imagination” by Sophia Rose Arjana
The brief excerpt of the music intro can be found here.
Thanks for listening. Please join me next time. 🙂
In episode 1, I discuss the widespread anti-Muslim animus today which is fueled by the mainstream media, by antitheists, by Western governments, by ourselves and by large corporations funding politicians who in turn invent reasons for imperialist wars. I discuss and share excerpts of interviews which explain how these fundamentalist attacks are not fueled by religion and that the real drivers are cultural and economic. I share some excerpts of interviews with Tariq Ramadan and with Chris Hedges.
Brief music excerpt in intro is by Palestinian group called Le Trio Joubran playing a piece titled “Masar”.
My other podcast I mentioned during this episode 🙂
Thanks for listening to my first podcast. I hope you will join me next time. 🙂
A little about me and why I commenced this podcast/blog.
I’m an Australian and a non-Muslim. I have been very concerned at the rise of Islamophobia over the last decade in particular and witnessing the growing vilification of Muslims worldwide and how it has been normalised. I’ve been frustrated and somewhat disgusted at the biased mainstream media and their racist and biased portrayal of Muslims. I have been increasing fearful at the direction this propaganda has been taking us and the consequences of it. I am equally distressed and appalled at the ongoing invasion of one Muslim majority country after another by the US and its allies including the actions of my own country. I’ve done my best to highlight this over the years on social media, but in the wake of the appalling hate crime against three Muslims (Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha) where they were executed in their home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina USA on Feb 10, 2015, and in view of the ongoing vilification of Muslims globally, as well as the ongoing imperialist military adventures against Muslim majority countries by the US and its allies, I felt compelled to start this podcast/blog site. This page’s intention -in its own small way – is to highlight Islamophobia and the issues surrounding it, and to promote peace and nonviolence.
I intend to commence a regular podcast in the not-to-distant future which will address various issues in the mainstream and independent media relating to the rise in Islamophobia worldwide. I hope to, if I am able, interview some members of the Muslim community. I also hope to (if I am able) interview some authors of books which address Islamophobia including the current genocide in Gaza.
If you are on Facebook, I invite you to please join my Muslim Lives Matter Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/MuslimLivesMatter.info for future podcast/blog updates. Please subscribe to this page for future podcast episodes/blog posts.
I will do my best as a non-Muslim and a Westerner to present issues and I will do my best to pronounce people’s names and places correctly but please forgive me if I fail terribly. I welcome anyone who is able to give me constructive feedback on how to pronounce these names correctly. Phonetic spelling would be helpful 🙂
I will probably attempt a podcast in the next week or so when I have more time as I am somewhat busy at present and will be for the next few months in particular.
I dedicate this page to Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, Deah Barakat and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. I dedicate this page also to all Muslims who have been victims/survivors of hate crimes. In particular those living in the open air prison that is Gaza. I dedicate this to any Muslim who has suffered injustice and/or who has lost their home, family or whose country has been invaded and occupied by US and allied forces. I deeply apologise for my own government’s participation in this. For many here in Australia, our government does not act on our behalf. Our government is a corporatocracy (as many governments are today) and their actions are not done in our name. I hope that in some small way I may be able to assist in highlighting arguably one of the most invisible and widespread forms of discrimination today — Islamophobia.
I look forward to your company. Stay tuned 🙂