Islamophobia — the irrational fear and prejudice against Muslims and those perceived as being Muslim — is a prejudice rising dangerously in the United States. Radical right-wing groups and media often portray extremism in Islamist countries as a result of the faith, despite very, very few Muslims being associated with extremism.
The problems with Islamophobia are widespread. 2015 has already seen high-profile hate crimes against Muslims, such as the execution-style murders of three young Muslim students in Chapel Hill and bomb threats made to a Muslim school in Austin, Texas. Even the recent award-winning movie “American Sniper” has been accused of Islamophobic sentiments by Muslim-American communities. Events like the Charlie Hebdo incident in France have also helped stimulate anti-Islam sentiments in Europe. Islamophobia has manifested as a violent movement against Muslims as well, perhaps more disturbingly, a mainstream movement within American politics.
Many GOP politicians such as Herman Cain, Mike Huckabee, and Newt Gingrich have made statements against Islam. On his radio show, Huckabee asserted that Muslims would leave mosques on holy days “throw[ing] rocks and rioting.” Conservative political pundit Bill O’Reilly has asserted that there are millions of Muslims in the United States who are set in destroying Judeo-Christian morals. Islam has become a dirty word in politics because of prejudice and stereotyping against Muslims, and as a result, Muslims have not had a say in many policies that the United States have taken against radical jihadist Muslims.
Islamophobia in the United States is disturbingly similar to the rise of anti-Semitic movements in Europe during the early 20th century. Propaganda against Muslims is at an all-time high, and Islam has become highly controversial due to sensationalist media. The mainstream nature of the controversy and the openness of politicians lobbying against Muslim citizens draws parallels to the Austrian Christian Social Party and the German Christian Social Workers that grew in power with German nationalism before World War II. It isn’t unreasonable to suggest that, given the United States’ current trend of prejudice against Muslim citizens, America’s government could fall into radical right-wing anti-Islamist hands and cause codified prejudice, similar to the way Japanese-Americans were treated during World War II.