Liberals wanted to talk about Islamophobia at the debate, but the real problem is terrorism
by Nate Madden
Amid the tawdry, ad hominem cacophony that was the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were forced to contend with the implications of a supposed “rise in Islamophobia.” However, a quick look at the facts show that the question and implication really need some context.
Sunday night’s debate was, as expected, laden with pro-Clinton bias from moderators Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz. However, several of the questions submitted by the randomly-selected panel of undecided voters on the stage also carried the hallmarks of prepared layups for the Democrat nominee.
One such topic in particular, asked by one of the attendees, Gorbah Hamed, put the candidates on the spot about how they would deal with “Islamophobia” as president (per the Washington Post):
“There are 3.3 Muslims in the United States and I’m one of them. You’ve mentioned working with Muslim nations, but with Islamophobia on the rise, how will you help people like me deal with the consequences of being a threat to the country after the election is over?
To his credit, Trump bridged the question directly to recent terror attacks, and the importance of Muslims patrolling their own communities. Meanwhile, Clinton criticized Trump’s views on immigration from Muslim-majority nations while hypocritically espousing religious freedom for foreign nationals from those nations, despite her own deplorable positions on free exercise for anyone who disagrees with her views on marriage and abortion.
Furthermore, Clinton made a very big point of agreeing with Trump’s premise that American Muslims need to be “part of our eyes and ears” on the front lines, and bragged about her work with Muslim groups in the U.S. and how she intends to use that experience to defeat ISIS. But she failed to differentiate how her approach to the Muslim community is going to differ from President Obama’s, whose analogous “countering violent extremism” program has already been found as a “catastrophic failure,” according to a recent report.
But I digress. While the issues of Middle Eastern immigration and jihadist terror in the 2016 election cycle have sparked a chorus of concern from the Left over so-called “Islamophobia,” the concerns ignore reality of how big a threat it actually is.
The question hearkens back to a few weeks ago when the Hamas-and-Muslim-Brotherhood-affiliated Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in the wake of a jihadist stabbing that they were afraid of the blowback from the attack.
“We are concerned about the potential for backlash,” CAIR’s Minnesota executive director Jaylani Hussein said, per NBCNews.com, following last month’s Minnesota mall stabbing. “[Muslims] are being made to suffer for [the terrorists’] acts. They are minorities in our faith. Islam is peace.”
Well, here’s the real story about that blowback.
According to FBI data, ACTUAL incidents of Islamophobia pale in comparison to incidents of anti-Semitism in the U.S. Numbers from December indicate that in the previous year saw, 1,140 victims of anti-religious hate crimes, and the rate of Jewish victims was nearly four times that of Muslim victims at a proportion of roughly 57 percent to 16 percent.
Even in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks — the deadliest Islamist attack in American history — 2002 data from the FBI shows that anti-Muslim hate crimes totaled a grand total 174 for the year. These are, of course, dwarfed when compared to the 1,084 cases committed against Jews, and the 237 committed against “other.”
And it doesn’t stop there: America’s college campuses have become seething hotbeds of anti-Jewish activity. Meanwhile, a report from February finds, attacks on free exercise of religion across the board have doubled in the waning years of the Obama administration.
There was no mention of how America’s Jewish population (with nary a notable terrorist attack attached to its name) is under increasing fire — and has been so for years. Furthermore, recent jihadist terror attacks in San Bernardino to Orlando to Manhattan have taken scores of American lives and have left all of our citizens, regardless of their religion, under siege.
Yet, the question that both candidates were forced to contend with is one that clearly targeted the Republican nominee’s focus on the security concerns that mass migration from Muslim-majority countries generates in relation to America’s national security.
When we look at this issue earnestly, the real threat to American Muslims from the specter of Islamophobia are far less than the threats faced by all Americans from the threat of global jihadism. They’re far less than what American Jews have to deal with both on and off the university campus. And they’re far less than what anyone who runs afoul of the government’s views on marriage, abortion, and contraception face on any given day.
Finally, when it comes to the havoc created by ISIS and other terror organizations that commit atrocities in the name of Allah, President Obama and company are quick to point out that most of the victims of jihadist violence around the world are Muslims themselves. But when it comes to the the same threat posed to those on our own soil, such concerns are nowhere to be found. Rather, they find themselves drowned out by those that worry about a so-called “Islamophobia” epidemic rather than the threat faced by every person in the civilized world, Muslims included, when they leave their homes every morning.
What exaggerated concerns about “Islamophobia” actually do, however, is dull, silence, and distract from the message of those who actually voice that there is indeed a centuries-old problem within Islam — that it creates legitimate security concerns, and that these realities have to be addressed in bold and earnest terms. Those terms might hurt someone’s feelings, after all.
In sum, the “Islamophobia” question was endemic of a host of concerns that the Left has thrown at anyone who dare raise questions about the Islamic nature of jihadist terrorism, or about the safety of the Obama administration’s immigration and refugee policies. However, in light of the numbers and the real security threats faced by Muslims and non-Muslims around the world, that the debates chose to focus on “Islamophobia” really ought to be put into context.
Nate Madden is a Staff Writer for Conservative Review, focusing on religious freedom, jihadism, and the judiciary. He previously served as the Director of Policy Relations for the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. A Publius Fellow, John Jay Fellow, Citadel Parliamentary Fellow and National Journalism Center alumnus, Nate’s writing has previously appeared in several religious and news publications. Follow him @NateMadden_IV.
Originally published at www.conservativereview.com.