Melissa Harris-Perry: Anti-Muslim Hatred ‘Has Long Been Simmering’ in America
"Welcome back, I’m Melissa Harris Perry. We’ve been talking about a growing climate of fear in America. But we should always remember that this is not just rhetoric. Fear can easily lead to violence. Both the council on American Islamic relations and the anti-defamation league say there’s been an increase of crimes against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim in recent weeks. They say this most recent increase in anti-Muslim sentiment, but yet after the terrorist attacks in Paris, ISIS extremists, and they say this climate is being sustained in the wake of the mass shooting in San Bernardino and politicians use those attacks to call for blocking Syrian refugees.
Or in Trump’s case, all people who practice Islam. From entering the United States. Of course, we cannot and are not saying that any particular politician or public figure is directly responsible for any of these alleged crimes. But we are saying there are real-world consequences to a climate of fear built in part on this rhetoric. Accord to police, the owner of a store in queens, New York, was beaten last Saturday by a man who said he wanted to, quote, kill muslims. Police are investigating the alleged assault as a hate crime. Philadelphia police have stepped up patrols outside a mosque after someone left a severed pig’s head on the building’s doorstep on Sunday night. A cab driver in Pittsburgh was shot and wounded on Thanksgiving by a man he said ranted about ISIS and mocked the prophet Muhammad before shooting. Police in California say a fire was intentionally set at a mosque there yesterday.
The local sheriff’s office is investigating the fire as a hate crime. Luckily, no one was hurt. Mosques in Florida, Texas, Connecticut and Oregon have been vandalized, shot at and threatened. Individuals have been reported being harassed or receiving death threats. Also experienced hostility and suspicion. Award-winning filmmaker and activist Valerie core, a friend of mhp show, was boarding a plane recently when a fellow passenger became angry she’d taken the luggage take off her carry-on, prompting a gate agent demand she check the bag. Valerie was only allowed to board after she showed the agent and her fellow passengers the breast pump she needed to bring on the plane. To Valerie, this was an all too familiar incident of discrimination. She wrote about how often Muslim people, sick people and brown people in general are lumped together facing similar suspicion. She said the incident left her angry, shaken and sad. But not all is bleak. In many cases, these incidents also trigger a wave of support in community. Representatives for delta, the airline that Valerie was flying, contacted her to apologize and promised, quote, we will be better for this. And Valerie said she was overwhelmed by the messages of love and support she received. At the store in queens, neighbors have gathered in support of the store’s owner and inundated him with cards and flowers. A 7-year-old boy donated the entire contents of his piggy bank to the mosque members.
There’s been a rise in anti-Muslim and anti-sentiment recently but we shouldn’t forget such hatred has long been simmering. A sick man was murder by a gunman who said he wanted to kill a Muslim in retaliation for attacks. In 2012, six people were killed at a sikh temple by a white supremist. This February, three Muslim students at the university of North Carolina were killed by a neighbor in an incident that federal authorities are still investigating as a possible hate crime.