*LN: In some ways it feels like we’ve gone backward since 9/11, when we had President Bush going to mosques and saying that Islam was not the enemy. What’s driving this recent shift in public sentiment?
JB: There are activists and media commentators pushing a particular anti-Muslim line and fearmongering about Islam and Muslims. Take for example the poll that Donald Trump referenced in his press release and his press conference last night [which said that 25 percent of American Muslims agree that violence against other Americans is justified]. It was from the Center for Security Policy. We and many other organizations have written about its long history of spreading misinformation about Islam and Muslims, not just on the fringe but really in the mainstream. We’ve seen a number of presidential candidates in the GOP who have gone to events hosted by this organization or who have cited this organization as their source on a lot of things.*
What boggles my mind is how did all of a suddem terms like Islamist, Jihadist, and Radical Islamic terror become mainstream. The fact of the matter is that one simply can not find any influential leaders of the 8th-18th century using terms like Islamist, Jihadist, and Radical Islamic terror. IMO President GWB showcased excellent leadership skills in the aftermath of 9/11 by visiting a D.C Mosque and telling the world “Islam is peace”. In fact just last week one of my Muslim friends told me that he supported GWB in 2000 and 2004.
Its unfair for Muslims to have to hear terms like Jihadist being applied to ISIL members by the media as opposed to the media applying the term Jihad to the many peaceful Muslims of the world who work against ISIL. Truthfully I work with Muslims everyday and when I hear that Muslim kids are afraid to go out in public due to Islamophobia from some GOP candidates(mainly Trump), it makes me wonder when and why did all of a sudden these GOP folks start criticizing Islam?
I think every member of this forum can agree that ISIL is bad. So knowing that, why would anyone who knows even slightly of Islam suggest that ISIL is a group of Jihadists? And if you do think its ok to label ISIL as Jihadists, please I ask kindly would you label a Christian who claims the Bible approves of attacking black Christians as a Radical Christian?
I mean to think that Donald Trump becomes the GOP nominiee is stunning, stunning considering how GOP Presidents of the past have never used the type of language toward Muslims that we see GOP canadates of today using toward Muslims. And boy, the USA was a power house of a country during the 20th century. After WW2 we went from the 17th strongest armed forces in the world to having the most powerful armed forces in the world. Btw Muslims served proudly in the US military during WW2. We are still a powerhouse today but I think an argument can be made that we are not as strong as we were during the 1990s to mid 2000s compared to 2010-present.
I will never forget this Muslim man who told me why he supported GWB. It was not only due to GWBs foreign and domestic policies, but also due to the fact that Bush has tolerate views toward non Christian religions.