Whenever Islamists are scrutinized, the first card they play is to shout “Islamophobia.” Orlando shooter Omar Mateen was no exception. When he startled his coworkers by expressing his sympathy for terrorist groups, he explained that he didn’t really mean it — Islamophobia made him do it.
FBI Director James Comey’s official remarks included the following:
“We first became aware of him in May of 2013. He was working as a contract security guard at a local court house. He made some statements that were inflammatory and contradictory that concerned his coworkers about terrorism. First, he claimed family connections to al Qaeda. He also said that he was a member of Hezbollah, which is a Shia terrorist organization that is bitter enemy of the so called Islamic State, ISIL. He said he hoped that law enforcement would raid his apartment and assault his wife and child so that he could martyr himself…
“…We then interviewed him twice. He admitted making the statements that his co-workers reported, but explained that he did it in anger because he thought his co-workers were discriminating against him and teasing him because he was Muslim.”
A coworker of Mateen’s at G4S Security says he complained to their boss about his incessant talk about killing people, racism, homophobia and stalking via text message. The colleague says he left his job because the boss was afraid to fire Mateen because he was a Muslim (the company’s screening procedures and employment of two other murderers is now under the microscope). The FBI Director’s statement above substantiates the coworker’s testimony.
False or exaggerated claims of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim persecution have been used since at least the 1980s. The Jamaat ul-Fuqra terrorist group used it in the 80s as well as later when their terrorist training compound was raided in Colorado in 1992.
After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a prominent Islamist cleric in New York listed as a possible unindicted co-conspirator in the case claimed that the U.S. government was framing Muslims using “agent provocateurs” in mosques.
After 9/11, every single Muslim Brotherhood-linked group in America locked arms and played the Islamophobia card when one of their comrades was investigated by the authorities, such as during Operation Green Quest in 2002 or the prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for financing Hamas.
One such entity, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), jumps to portray terrorism suspects as victims at practically every opportunity, painting the Muslim-American community as essentially under siege by Islamophobes and U.S. government agencies hell-bent on oppressing Muslims and stripping them of civil liberties.
The “Islamophobia” slander works because it exploits genuine anti-Muslim sentiment to form a shield around anyone threatened by a discussing of Islamist extremism. It’s so over-the-top that some Muslim activists are complaining about the abuse of the term.
The success of the slanderous tactic has birthed a double-headed phenomenon of “Islamophobia-phobia.”
One aspect causes people to refrain from reporting suspicious behavior for fear of being called a bigot. The other is a fixation on stopping anti-Muslim prejudice that leads one to reflexively attack anyone discussing Islamism and bend over backwards to downplay, excuse or deny any connection between Islam and negativity.
Case in point: 41% of Americans view the Orlando attack more as an incident of domestic gun violence than Islamic terrorism.
Islamists and their allies in the “P.C. police” are trying to create a world where Islamist extremism doesn’t exist; where there’s only false accusations of extremism by Islamophobes and real extremism provoked by Islamophobes.
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.