Hatred, Intolerance, and Fear

On todays episode of Democracy Now!, in their last segment, Gainesville Muslim Community Organizes Vigils, Teach-Ins to Counter Planned Quran Burning, Moustafa Bayoumi, author of How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America, spoke a bunch of words I wish were in the media much more often than not;

… What we find of late, I think, is a disturbing measure of what it means to be an American. I, in fact, think that it’s also important to place the anti-Muslim sentiment that we see today alongside the kind of anti-immigrant feeling that we see today. So I think if we consider the Arizona initiatives, for example, or just the general pervasive anti-immigrant feeling that you have, directed largely against Latinos and Hispanics in this country, alongside the anti-Muslim sentiment — and I would also put in that same parameter the polling data that we see that sees that President Obama is — 20 percent of the population wants to say that President Obama is a Muslim. I think that that’s actually a thinly disguised way of talking about President Obama’s racial background. It’s a way of saying he’s not like us. And so, rather than using the traditional language, the traditional discourse of race in this country, which is to call him an African American or such [like that abhorrent n-word?], they call him instead a Muslim [and a Socialist], which is a[n unjustly accepted, but no less obvious] way of saying he’s not one of us…

Yesterday’s middle part of The Current — the first half, especially — Persecution, rather effectively sets an absolutely frightening context on the lunacy of the anti-Islamic attitudes plaguing America, specifically, but the world, in general. Exactly why are people so afraid of labelling these (and other) acts of hatred, intolerance, and fear for what they so clearly happen to be? And why is it tolerated?