he Islamophobia that's supposedly sweeping the country "didn't start with President Obama or the 'Ground Zero' mosque," says Jonah Goldberg in RealClearPolitics. Ever since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Americans have "been subjected to news stories about the Muslim backlash that's always around the corner." But, despite a sadly predictable spike in hate crimes against Muslims in the months after 9/11, Americans have actually bent over backwards to recognize "the sharp line between Muslim terrorists and their law-abiding co-religionists." So when it comes to the battle over the mosque, argues Goldberg, maybe "the real victims of a climate of hate" are the 70 percent of Americans being demonized for opposing the idea. Because — look around — the "anti-Muslim backlash is mostly a myth." An excerpt:
In 2001, there were twice as many anti-Jewish incidents as there were anti-Muslim... according to the FBI. In 2002 and pretty much every year since, anti-Jewish incidents have outstripped anti-Muslim ones by at least 6 to 1. Why aren't we talking about the anti-Jewish climate in America? Because there isn't one. And there isn't an anti-Muslim climate either...
No doubt some American Muslims - particularly young Muslim men with ties to the Middle East and South Asia - have been scrutinized at airports more than elderly women of Norwegian extraction, but does that really amount to Islamophobia, given the dangers and complexities of the war on terror?
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