by Salaam Abdul Khaliq
OK, so you’re a failed writer who toiled for years to achieve fame, fortune and immortality. You’ve spent years in obscurity struggling to pay the bills and keep your head above water, hoping for the day you would eventually earn the attention of some big publisher.
But, sadly for you, all your efforts went by the wayside.
The good news is there is hope. There is just one thing left to do, one thing that would guarantee fame, fortune, a publishing contract and a lot of free media bonanza.
Would you like to know the secret that escaped hundreds of other failed writers like you – academics, journalists, the poor and huddled masses that had bad luck striking gold in the land of opportunity?
OK, here it is – and you need to sit down for this – it’s called “The Islamophobia cash cow.”
Post 9/11, the fastest and surest way to gain celebrity status in the West and garner respect and attention you would otherwise never achieve on your own mediocre merit is to go on an “Islam-bashing” campaign.
And, mind you, you don’t need to be an expert on the subject matter, just make sure to quote verses from the Qur’an out of context, cite Osama Bin Laden as the role model of Muslim behavior, bank on tired canaries like “Islam oppresses women,” and “Islam was spread by the sword,” and other washed out cliches, and voila!
You’re a celebrity, a famous author (a rich, famous author, mind you), a Good Samaritan defending the civilized world from the evils of Islam.
Meet Raymond Ibrahim, the latest client of the “Islamophobia cash cow industry.”
Ibrahim was recently a guest of Air Talk, hosted by Larry Mantle on the Pasadena-based NPR affiliate KPCC. Ibrahim had his 15 minutes at last.
An unknown and obscure menial research librarian at the Library of Congress, Ibrahim thrust himself into the limelight by writing a book called “The Al Qaeda Reader,” (published in 12/06). The newly Christened crusader finally broke down the doors of rejection and abject obscurity and made it to the pantheon of famous “Islam experts.”
And you wonder how many other poor research librarians have risen out of nothingness to sudden fame in a matter of weeks?
Not to worry, Ibrahim has now shown them the fastest path to sleazy righteousness.
Write something that bashes Islam and your “research librarian” title will suddenly transform into “historian of the Middle East and Islam” and “scholar and writer on the Middle East and Islam,” and many other promiscuous titles that have as much worth as fortune cookie sayings.
Then one wonders why a respected talk show host like Mantle would cede the podium to an Islamophobe like Ibrahim without balance, without bringing someone like Karen Armstrong. for example, to challenge his twisted and warped views.
Instead, Mantle let Ibrahim run amuck quoting verses from the Quran ad hoc and out of context, saying for instance that the verse “there is no compulsion in religion” was reprobated, meaning canceled out, by verses of war in what is known as “naskh.”
Ibrahim was given free reign to unabashedly spew lethargic tirades with impunity, shamelessly proclaiming that if Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, were alive today, he would do what Bin Laden is doing now.
Ibrahim also implied that American Muslims presented a danger to American society because their faith teaches them to kill their enemies wherever they are and by all means necessary.
Such alarmism and incitement to hate and paranoia are simply unacceptable, especially coming from an NPR affiliate station that prides itself in being liberal and inclusive.
It is unconscionable for a respected talk show host like Mantle to hand over the microphone to a petty, anti-Muslim research librarian to freely bash Islam and up the ante on American Muslims in order to hype his anti-Islam-disguised-as-a-critique-of-Al-Qaeda book for material gain.
Just like his fellow Arab American Islam-bashers Wafa Sultan and Nonie Darwish, Ibrahim ought to take notice that Arabs and Muslims have always been in the same boat.
Most Americans don’t make the difference. You are whom you bash.
Many icons of Islamophobia before Ibrahim who sought to make a quick buck by viciously maligning Islam and Muslims sold their souls and ended up as dejects, discarded and washed out has-beens with no credibility and no respect.
It won’t be long before the wisdom of “Islamophobia, like crime, does not pay” will catch on. Media outlets and talk show hosts should take notice.
Last Updated ( Monday, 11 January 2010 )