The United States prides itself as a “beacon of human rights”, but it doesn’t have any intention of ending the serious discrimination against American Muslims. Writes Bai Fan
While claiming to be the sole defender of human rights, including the rights of Muslims, around the world, the United States has been treating American Muslims as second-class citizens. A couple of scholars and a reputable religious institute share their views on the issue with China Daily. Excerpts follow:
US uses duplicity to suppress Muslims
The United States prides itself as a “beacon of human rights”, but it doesn’t have any intention of ending the serious discrimination against American Muslims. In the name of human rights, it often stirs up conflicts and spreads hatred, and interferes in the internal affairs of other countries, thereby putting the safety of people around the world, including Muslims, at risk.
Racism has deep roots in the US. Even almost two decades after the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Muslims are stigmatized and marginalized in the US, and live under fear, threats and surveillance. Also, hate crimes against Muslims in the US have been rising for years. In fact, in the run-up to the 2018 US midterm elections, anti-Muslim rhetoric surged, fuelled by politicians. And conspiracy theories against Muslims became mainstream politics.
According to a report of the Council of American-Islam Relations in 2018, the number of anti-Muslim groups in the US has tripled since 2016, and the negative depiction of Muslims in films and TV, which is essentially “racist” and based on stereotypes, has promoted discrimination, hostility and violence against American Muslims.
Although the US has been desperately trying to embellish its international image as a land of religious and racial diversity, tolerance and openness, it was the only country in the world to ban the entry of Muslims from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, proving that white supremacy is rooted in its bones. Former US president Donald Trump, who repeatedly made discriminatory remarks against Muslims during his presidential campaign in 2016, imposed the blatantly racial ban on Sept 25, 2017, eight months after being sworn in as US president.
And despite the condemnation of the ban and the waves of protests from religious groups and humanitarian organizations at home and abroad, the US Supreme Court judges voted five to four in favor of Trump’s executive order on June 26, 2018.
Which prompted a commentator to write in a German media outlet that Muslim persecution has become a law in the US. The article stressed that the move marked the legalization and institutionalization of hatred and hostility against Muslims in the US in violation of the basic tenet of the US Constitution that provide equal protection to people of all religions and ethnicities.
The administration has repeatedly resorted to double standard against Muslims in the US and other countries－it rampantly discriminates against Muslims at home and pretends to protect the rights and interests of those in other countries.
On the one hand the US claims to care about the welfare of Muslims, on the other it has invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and bombarded Syria on the pretext of combating terrorism and caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Muslims and rendered millions homeless.
Moreover, it has imposed sanctions on Iran and other countries for their alleged human rights violations, and refused to lift the sanctions even after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, exacerbating the plight of the people and leading to economic depression.
In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the US has repeatedly opposed the consensus among the member states of the United Nations and supported Israel. In the face of Israel’s brutal killings of Palestinians, the US has stood against human conscience and morality. On May 16, it blocked, for the third time, the adoption of a joint statement by the UN Security Council calling for a cease-fire between Israel and Palestine, and the protection of civilians. and instead agreed to sell Israel $735 million worth of precision-guided weapons. As Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, the US says it cares about the human rights of Muslims, but it turns a blind eye to the sufferings of the Palestinian people.
Human rights are just a political weapon for the US to hide its dirty games and continue its prejudiced deeds that run counter to international justice.
Deng Shuhua, an associate research fellow at the Institute of European Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Washington indifferent to human sufferings
Using the banner of “universal values”, US politicians have been criticizing other countries, which don’t share the US’ ideas and interests about human rights, in a bid to push forward its agenda and fulfill its narrow goals.
The US also used the pretext of protecting “universal values” to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, and bomb Syria and Iran causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and untold human sufferings.
Also, the US’ indifference to the human rights situation in the Middle East is a major reason why the Palestinian-Israeli issue remains unresolved. The US’ domestic policies toward Muslims are discriminatory and have left the community feeling more and more insecure.
Muslim groups in the US have also been the target of hate crimes, especially since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks. Official data show the number of hate crimes against Muslims in the US during the Jan 1 to Sept 10, 2001 period was 260 but jumped to 1,502 during the Sept 11, 2001, to May 31, 2002 period.
Washington’s indifference to human lives and the global fight against the pandemic have cost hundreds of thousands of American lives. True, the US loves to blow its own trumpet when it comes to “religious freedom” and “human rights first” policies. but the fact is, Muslims in the US face increasing discriminations.
For instance, according to a survey, 75 percent of adult Muslims (and 69 percent of ordinary Americans) said Muslims in the US face a lot of discrimination. And during the 2018 midterm elections, more than one-third of the candidates claimed violence is inherent to Muslims and they pose an imminent threat to others, and nearly one-third said Muslims in the US should be deprived of their basic rights.
The Institute of World Religions, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Hatred against Muslims has roots in US history
Since the end of March, the US-led West and news media have been hyping up the Xinjiang “cotton issue”, accusing China of using “forced labor” and violating human rights in the cotton fields and factories, even claiming that China practices “religious discrimination” against Muslims.
The smear campaign against China is aimed at portraying the US-led West as the protector of Muslims and spoiling the friendly relations between China and Muslim countries.
In an interview with a Chinese newspaper on the so-called Xinjiang cotton issue on April 14, in response to the hypocrisy of the US, Iran’s ambassador to China Mohammad Keshavarz-Zadeh said that since 2001, the US has launched wars or military attacks against no less than 80 countries since 2001, which have claimed more than 800,000 lives, including those of 330,000 civilians, and displaced millions from their homes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other countries.
If the US really cares about the rights of Muslims, the Iranian ambassador said, it should apologize to these Islamic countries and stop bombing their territories.
Racial discrimination has deep roots in the US. And the fact that Muslims in the US are also victims of religious discrimination means they face double discrimination.
Speaking on counter-terrorism at the White House in February 2015, Barack Obama, then US president, said: “Islam has been intertwined with this country since its earliest days.” Which lifted an ugly lid on US history. Political discrimination against, and the oppression of, Muslims in the US started with the founding of the country and has its roots in the sinful slave trade.
Islam spread in Africa, especially North Africa, after the Arabs conquered many African countries and established their rule there before the New World was discovered. Which means many of the African slaves forcibly taken to the US and other parts of the New World were Muslims.
What Obama said is a part of US history that the white elites have been trying to conceal.
According to a 2017 Pew survey, the US has about 3.45 million Muslims, who make up about 1.1 percent of the country’s population. And American Muslims are facing rising discrimination because US political elites have turned the “war on terror” into a war against Muslims since the 9/11 attacks. It is the US politicians’ hostility toward Muslims and Islam that has sowed the seeds of discrimination against American Muslims.
To turn the rest of the world’s attention from the US’ ugly truth, American politicians and media have been hyping up the issue of “religious discrimination” against Muslims in China.
This is similar to a thief crying “stop the thief” to escape. Therefore, Beijing should be on the guard against Washington’s evil designs and, when needed, counter them and expose the US’ hypocrisy for all to see.
Bai Fan, a researcher at the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
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