Is Islamophobia the New McCarthyism?

First came the hullaballoo over the “Mosque at Ground Zero.” Then there was Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida, grabbing headlines as he promoted “International Burn-a-Koran Day.” Most recently, we have an American posting a slanderous anti-Muslim video on the Internet with all the ensuing turmoil.

Throughout, the official U.S. position has remained fixed: the United States government condemns Islamophobia. Americans respect Islam as a religion of peace. Incidents suggesting otherwise are the work of a tiny minority — whackos, hatemongers, and publicity-seekers. Among Muslims from Benghazi to Islamabad, the argument has proven to be a tough sell.

Consider the case of Lieutenant General William G. (“Jerry”) Boykin.  […] “I knew that my God was bigger than his.  I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.”  As a Christian nation, Boykin insisted, the United States would succeed in overcoming its adversaries only if “we come against them in the name of Jesus.”

[…] Historians differ passionately over whether McCarthyism represented a perversion of anti-Communism or its truest expression.  So, too, present-day observers will disagree as to whether Boykinism represents a merely fervent or utterly demented response to the Islamist threat.  Yet this much is inarguable: just as the junior senator from Wisconsin in his heyday embodied a non-trivial strain of American politics, so, too, does the former special-ops-warrior-turned-“ordained minister with a passion for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

From Boykinism, at Tom Dispatch, by Andrew Bacevich. (The first part is an intro by somebody else–the article starts if you scroll down a little.)

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