Muslims, for a lot of obvious reasons, have been the recipients of hate crimes and this is quite unfortunate. In addition to old-fashioned violent hate fueled by fierce emotions there is the more benign form of hate that simply tries to dispute Islam’s status as a religion. This is usually the territory of the more educated who are able and patient enough to do close analyses that they consider to be insightful with respect to the “true” nature of the religion. One example of this is Bill Warner who has written about Islam and lays out a rather thorough analysis about how Islam is not really a religion but a political system based in force. Warner thoroughly rejects Islam as a religion and describes it as “warlike,” and concerned predominantly with “annihilating civilizations.” You can watch an interesting video of Warner explaining his position here. Warner masks his extreme hostility to Islam in academic images of critical analysis. He refers to Islam as not coming from the tradition of critical thinking but one of authoritative thinking. He states clearly that Islam is nondemocratic the supply and its alien stance toward the West.
Warner’s analysis is really quite skilled in that he denies the concept of the “golden rule” in Islam because Muslims, according to Warner, do not believe in equality for all. Rather, they believe in equality only for a few and how you are treated depends on what groups and social class you belong to. His “golden rule” example is an appealing comparison that the average reader can relate to. Warner goes on to state emphatically that Islam is primarily interested in destroying civilizations and conquering the world. His arguments play nicely into the hands of those prepared to receive them.
Another hate strategy for anti-Muslim groups is to portray them as strange and alien. Prayer and worship are fundamentally different than the Judeo-Christian tradition and are typically associated with negative traits. Muslims are portrayed as aggressive, irrational, and unsympathetic to violence, child marriage, and the roles of women. Clearly Islam is associated with terrorism and understood as a justification for terrorism. A study on the relationship between hate crimes and terrorism found that a crimes or violence against a group like Muslims do not necessarily lead to or predict terrorist activities. Still, anti-Muslim groups believe that Islam is a danger to the United States and typically think of Muslims as a fifth column waiting in the wings to damage American democracy and Western civilization. Their fears are accompanied by paranoia about population growth that will one day overwhelm majorities.
Finally, Muslim hate groups characterize Islam is an evil religion capable of great violence and hate itself. They presume that Islam has no core human values and is inferior to the West. The Southern Poverty Law Center produces the hate map which identifies various hate groups in different states in the United States. The hate map is an important source of information because people can be easily misled by the skilled rhetoric of those who speak for these groups. Additional Muslim hate groups have been identified and had their rhetoric and strategies exposed.
Hate is an extreme emotion capable of great violence. Yet, I recognize that Islam is currently in the grip of a violent force in terms of Jihadis who do have a violent doctrine with vicious capabilities. But clichéish as it sounds this strand of Jihadi violence is not the essence of Islam. We are not in the midst of a battle for the soul of Islam, but perhaps for the influence of a particular path. Anti-Muslim hate groups must not win undue influence.