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    09 March 2006

    Dr. Cole Makes the Obvious Point

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    And as usual makes it well
    Cole: The constant drumbeat of hatred toward Muslims and Arabs on the American Right, on television and radio and in the press, has gradually had its effect. This according to a Washington Post poll. Even in the year after September 11, a majority of Americans respected Islam and Muslims, but powerful forces in US society are determined to change that, and are gradually succeeding. As they win, Bin Laden also wins, since his whole enterprise was to "sharpen the contradictions" and provoke a clash of civilizations.

    Some 25% of Americans now say they personally are prejudiced against Muslims. And 33% think that Islam as a religion helps incite violence against non-Muslims, up from 14% after September 11.

    The Bush administration policy is to continually insinuate that the Muslim world is the new Soviet Union and full of sinister forces that require the US to go to war against them. But at the same time, America has warm relations with Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain, Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, etc., etc. When Saudi Arabia's then crown prince (now king) Abdullah came to the US, Bush brought him to the Crawford ranch, held hands with him and kissed him on each cheek.

    This two-faced policy and self-contradictory rhetoric has contributed to growing hatred and bigotry toward Muslims in the US, which is no less worrisome than the hatred Jews faced in Europe in the 1920s. It is dangerous because of what it can become.

    The subtext of bigotry and racism is what has blindsided the Bush administration with regard to the port deal for a company based in Dubai. Dubai is like the Fifth Avenue of the Middle East-- the place with the pricey shopping and the tall skyscrapers and the extravagant fashions. Dubai businessmen are no more likely to take over US ports and allow them to come to harm than US businessmen are. They want the deal in order to make money. Bush knows this very well. But since he has spent so much time fulminating against shadowy and sinister forces over there somewhere, he has spooked the American public and members of his own party.

    To be fair this doesn't exist exclusively in the right wing, the port outrage confirms this.

    Posted by Geoff

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