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Posted at 1:44 PM ET, 11/24/2010

Yes, anti-Muslim bias is real

By Adam Serwer

Conservative writer Jonathan Tobin argues that the small number of Muslim hate crimes indicates that those wringing their hands about American Islamophobia are making a big deal out of nothing:

Even more to the point, the number of anti-Jewish hate crimes dwarfed again the number of anti-Islamic attacks, as they have every year since such statistics were first kept: 931 anti-Semitic incidents, compared with 107 anti-Islamic incidents, a ratio of better than 8 to 1. The same was true in 2008, when the figures were 1,013 anti-Jewish incidents to 105 anti-Muslim incidents. Indeed, even in 2001, the worst year for anti-Muslim hate crimes, there were still more than twice as many anti-Jewish incidents as those with anti-Islamic motivations. Throughout this period, the vast majority of hate crimes motivated by religion have been directed against Jews, not Muslims.

As I've written before, hate crimes are an imperfect metric for measuring anti-Muslim bias. Hate crimes statistics tell us that anti-Muslim bias crimes are thankfully rare and that anti-Semites are more likely to commit bias crimes. But that doesn't mean anti-Muslim bias isn't widely shared. Americans are pretty open about their negative feelings about Muslims -- almost half the country admits to some level of anti-Muslim prejudice.

This sentiment hasn't manifested as hate crimes, but that doesn't mean it hasn't manifested. A Tennessee judge recently had to greenlight the construction of a mosque after weeks of hearings that focused on whether or not Islam is actually a religion, a seemingly absurd question that gets plenty of debate among conservatives. The Tennessee incident isn't exactly unique. There has been a recent rise in the number of incidents involving people using local zoning laws to prevent mosques from being built, which is illegal under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. There have been eight RLUIPA cases involving Muslims filed in the past six months, almost half as many as in the nearly 10 years prior, with a sharp uptick following the controversy over the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. These aren't hate crimes, but they're disconcerting evidence of anti-Muslim bias.

I'd submit that if liberal magazines and politicians openly questioned whether Judaism was a religion, and that if liberal activists were targeting the seats of Jewish lawmakers based on their being Jewish, Tobin would see that as serious evidence of anti-Semitism. I'd also submit that if there were public protests at synagogues and JCCs all over the country held by people warning of a nationwide conspiracy to subvert the U.S. government, and that if members of Congress were being presented with shoddy national security analysis to that effect, both Tobin and I would be very, very worried about where the country was heading. It's true that Islamic extremist terrorism is a real threat, if not an existential one. The number of actual terrorists is very small, and these responses only make sense if you want to hold Muslims collectively responsible for terrorism rather than the terrorists themselves.

Tobin writes that "the hallmark of American discourse since 9/11 has been a conscious effort to disassociate Islam from the war being waged against the West by Islamist terrorists." Rhetorically, that's more or less true about this administration and the last. But as far as many conservatives today are concerned, that's old and busted. "Clash of Civilizations" is the new hotness.

Adam Serwer is a staff writer at The American Prospect, where he writes his own blog.

By Adam Serwer  | November 24, 2010; 1:44 PM ET
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Juan Williams, what happened to him?
Samuel Huntington got to say it and he is still considered impossible to ignore.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse


MediaMatters obliterates Faux Noise lies about DREAM Act

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 24, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Liberals deperately want some hate crimes against Muslims by WASPish Americans so they can justify their warped anti-American, multi-culturish point of view.

Sorry to disappoint.

Fact is, it's the Muslims who are committing all the hate crimes against those good, WASPish Americans.

And against nearly every other group of people who do not subscribe to the cult-like, Muslim religion.

With all the death and destruction caused by the worldwide, Islamic death squads and suicide killers, it's a wonder there aren't lynch mobs roaming the streets of America and Muslims hanging from lamp posts everywhere.

You can thank a very tolerant, civilized, non-violent, American society for that.

WE ARE BETTER THAN THEY and it shows every day.

Now get outta here.

Posted by: battleground51 | November 24, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse


If someone calls the Tea Party "chumps" and "rube," isn't that anti-American bias ?

What is your opinion on that ???

Posted by: RedNation | November 24, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

please check out http://www.IslamicSolutions.Com/do-they-even-know-what-islam-is/

Posted by: Nabihah | November 24, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

The "DREAM ACT" is a liberal pipe dream.

They dream of turning those hordes of outlaw interlopers into hordes of newly minted, Democrat voters thus causing nightmares for Republicans.

All at taxpayer expense, of course.

It's AMNESTY by another name.

Let's call it "DREAMNESTY".

Posted by: battleground51 | November 24, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"Yes, anti-Muslim bias is real."


tick, tick, tick,

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse


Given the overall situation - two wars, a multitude of terrorist incidents, and non-stop inflammatory rhetoric coming out of the Middle East - overall the nation is doing pretty well.

I think the nation has been pretty good to muslims in general - given the circumstances and what could happen.

Posted by: RedNation | November 24, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

shrink2, I too was wondering if the irony of his post was lost on him.

Posted by: cao091402 | November 24, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Liberals deperately want some hate crimes against Muslims by WASPish Americans so they can justify their warped anti-American, multi-culturish point of view.

Sorry to disappoint.

- by battleground


Excellent point - this whole piece has an ANTI-AMERICAN BIAS

Case closed.

Posted by: RedNation | November 24, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Can't blame poor Adam really. He's still living in his multi-culti fantasy world. Militant muslims who blow up train stations and pizzarias? Figment of your imagination. Misunderstood. Folks who express some apprehension about the intents of Islam? Bigots, pure and simple.

Posted by: luca_20009 | November 24, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse


if a pizzaria is blown up, there is obviously an anti-Italian bias there.


The liberals should be more concerned about ridding their own ranks of their anti-American bias.

Let the witch-hunt begin !!!


Posted by: RedNation | November 24, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"multi-culti fantasy world"


Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 24, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse


The anti-American bias is real.


We are in a war with people who twist their religion around - and use their religion to try to recruit people into killing Americans.

There is nothing wrong with opposing that.

There is nothing wrong with being clear that we oppose that - any liberal who doesn't want to admit that Islamic extremists are the enemy are just wacked-out.


Posted by: RedNation | November 24, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

@RedNation: "Luca, if a pizzaria is blown up, there is obviously an anti-Italian bias there."

There's also a very strong, but little acknowledged, anti-tomato bigotry among a certain class of people. You know who I'm talking about.

That being said, this article strikes me as unusually fair and low-key for Mr. Serwer. I wonder if he's feeling all right.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse


Maybe it is hopeless. I am actually married to a Muslim and now we laugh and joke about our political environment. Otherwise we'd have to be depressed, angry, anxious...we know we are the lucky ones.

Just after we were married, she was so terrified of my heavy Catholic background and family full of Christians, she was afraid; we couldn't have Xmas etc. in our house. Now we do the Eid feasts: yum!, she's got a turkey marinating in a bag for tomorrow, Christmas, the whole program, it is all good.

the sign on the road to perdition.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Yes! American society is infinitly better, in every way, than any Muslim nation on Earth, even Turkey. Turkey is the most civilized, modern, Islamic state and it's not all that good.

Muslims are feared by most people because Muslims have a terrible track record.

Sure, you can name a few non-Muslims who have committed terrible acts but they are exceptions to the rule and not the rule itself.

Let's face it people, Muslims have earned their reputation in the world. If any national group deserves profiling, it is they.

Anti-Muslim bias???

You betcha! And for good reason.

Now how about that LIBERAL BIAS??

Posted by: battleground51 | November 24, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Kevin_Willis at 2:46 PM

You fail to see the obvious anti-cheese bias in blowing up a pizzaria.

That is anti-Cow

Anti- Wisconsin

And anti-cheesehead


Posted by: RedNation | November 24, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse


So "We" are better than Muslims.

How about Jews?
Are you pro or anti Jew?


How about Mexicans, are "WE BETTER" than
Mexicans? This is important. We know Republicans believe we are better than Muslims, I just want to know whether we are better than any other group of people.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I think Adam Sewer is having us on. He's a jokster who likes to rattle cage doors.

His blogposts are all conservative, nerve janglers. Imagine, squawking about a little, anti-Muslim "bias". It's ridiculous when the Muslims have caused billions of dollars in damage and murdered thousands of innocent people around the world.

A little "bias" is a small price to pay for all that. Of course, President Bush made them pay a much bigger price. Bigger than they had imagined us degenerated, American infidels would ever do them.

Gosh! I sure miss President Bush.

I think I'll go buy a copy of his book.

Posted by: battleground51 | November 24, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

kevin, I left you a reply on the last thread, if you are interested.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Its it pure coincidence that as soon as George(we're not at war with Islam)Bush leaves office and we have Obama in the WH, all of the sudden anti-Islamic bigotry rears its ugly head? No.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 24, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

the sign on the road to perdition.
Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"A road sign pointing straight to Satan's cage." (Gram Parsons)

Excellent post, Adam.

Later, All.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 24, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse


I have no bias against those of the Jewish state and Israel has been one of our most steadfast allies. Hooray for them!

Hindus are a little off the wall and unknown to me. No opinion!

Ahhhhh, Mexicans! They seem to hate their own society because they keep running away from it. It must not be so good so I rate American society as MUCH BETTER than Mexican society.

And, they never run south, they always run north. Hmmmmmmmm, that cinches it.

Posted by: battleground51 | November 24, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

All people who believe that Islam is a cult operate under only one basic fallacy: that all Muslims are responsible for every crime committed in the name of Islam. If you, being a thinking individual, reject that bastardization of rational thought, then you understand that .00000001% of Muslims do not speak for 1.6 billion Muslims. It's as simple as that. Once you understand this basic, proven fact, then you will begin to see that things are not as simple as people would like to have you believe.

Posted by: sali18 | November 24, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

And most people forget, laughably, that Christians have caused 5000% more damage than Muslims, everything combined. Colonization, slavery, countless wars, bombings, the extermination of whole races, medical experimentation in povertized regions, the sale of arms to unstable regimes, the financing of an entire army designed to exterminate Palestinians. The selective amnesia of those who maintain Muslims have started more wars or killed more people than Christians is unbelievable and can only be attributed to unknowing or willful ignorance.

Posted by: sali18 | November 24, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

sali, on the right, Christians have no shame and on the left Christians have so much shame, they just can't stop thinking about themselves. In the middle, apolitical Christians, just like Muslims, are just trying to get through the day without hurting people and without getting hurt. They may or may not be blameless.

Christians, Jews, Muslims, in fact all religious people share the blame for their endless enmity, their relentless calumny, their relentless mutual persecution.

Atheists are dangerous. I am continuing to work on whether agnostics have ever organized the slaughter of others.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

@suekzoo: "kevin, I left you a reply on the last thread, if you are interested."

Thanks will check it out. Day got busy. T-giving and all on the rise. Plus teenage daughter. And a five year old. That's how it gets.

@sali18: "And most people forget, laughably, that Christians have caused 5000% more damage than Muslims"

An interesting figure, given that many of the examples you were given either were of other religions, or irreligious. I'm sure it was scientifically arrived at.

@shrink2: agnostics are not dangerous. You have to be sure of yourself to be truly dangerous. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 25, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Using the number of reported hate crimes at Tobin did is an absurd indicator of attitudes toward Islam. That's like using lynching as the sole indicator of racism in the American South pre-Civil Rights. The most salient point is that hostility toward Islam has become acceptable by mainstream leaders.

Posted by: stevenmetz | November 25, 2010 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Adam is correct that hate crimes statistics are misleading, but he doesn't mention the primary reason they are so in this case: Muslims are less likely to report hate crimes than Jews (and Christians for that matter). This is because more Muslims than Jews are immigrants and are therefore less likely to be aware of the resources -- like ACLU, ADL, etc. -- available to them in the event that that they are victims of hate crimes. Also, because of the perception after 9/11 that the police are unfriendly to Muslims and profile them, they're probably less-inclined to go to them for help.

Posted by: nasn820 | November 26, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of crime, some baristas are tougher than others. This shot and killed a (non-muslim) criminal.

"Police in Eugene are investigating an attempted coffee-shop robbery Wednesday night that ended with an exchange of gunfire and the barista shooting and killing one of the suspects.

Authorities say that around 9 p.m. Wednesday, two men tried to rob the Dutch Bros. Coffee kiosk in the 2100 block of Franklin Blvd. near Walnut Street. One individual forced his way into the shop while the other stood outside, Lt. Doug Mozan said.

A struggle ensued inside the kiosk, Mozan said. The coffee-shop employee shot the robber, who died at the scene. The second suspect fled. Police identified the dead robber as Sirus Combs, 27, of Eugene. He has a past criminal history, including a weapons charge, court records and police say.

Police continue to decline to identify the employee. Mozan said this afternoon that detectives had not yet interviewed him. Department spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin said an exchange of gunfire occurred and that more than one weapon was involved.

"There was only one employee and one suspect involved in the shooting," Mozan said. "As to how the second weapon got there, I don't know."
Travis Boersma, co-founder of the Grants Pass-based coffee chain, declined comment until police complete their investigation.

Angie Galimanis, a spokeswoman for the company, said the company has a policy prohibiting employees from carrying firearms at work. Galimanis said at least one robber was armed.

Police are looking for the second robbery suspect. He is described as a white male, 20 to 30 years of age, standing 5-foot-10 with blond hair and medium build. He was last seen wearing dark jeans, brown hiking boots and a dark, zip-up, puffy coat with a fold-down collar. Anyone with information can call 541-682-5836.

Combs pleaded guilty in 2008 to a felony charge of attempting to elude police, according to Lane County Circuit Court records. He also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Dutch Bros., one of the nation's largest privately held coffee shop chains, has 156 locations in seven states." Oregonian

Posted by: shrink2 | November 26, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Astonishing would be a conclusion that, even though Blacks are at the top of the list when it comes to hate crimes, this does not mean anti-Black prejudice is worse than any other prejudice. Divide the number of hate crime victims by the number of persons in the populations to determine the number of hate crimes per 100,000,000 person years. Such is a very solid statistic.

Posted by: Martial | November 27, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

The other item to remember is that hate crimes statistics are garnered by police reports, not individual reports. Here's the most current report.

Would the author care to argue that the sexual bias incidents do not indicate anti-homosexual prejudice? That's what the article implies. Ted Pike would be proud of this editorial.

Posted by: Martial | November 27, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

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