• DOUBLETAKE 08: “Taking a second look at race and racism in the 2008 presidential elections”

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The “Obama as Muslim Terrorist” Problem

There’s been a LOT of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric throughout the election season this year. The idea that Barack Obama is a “Muslim Terrorist” is spreading rampant throughout right-wing circles, and countless photoshopped images of Obama in Arab garb can be found in a quick google image search. The implication in these images, of course, is that being a Muslim or being Arab MUST mean he is also a terrorist. Even if Barack Obama WAS Muslim, which he is not, what’s the problem? But anti-Muslim/ anti-Arab racism is so deeply held in this country, that using the term “Muslim” has come to be code word for “evil.” Check this image…

Senator John McCain’s campaign has done little to offset these stereotypes. In fact, in some instances, the Republican campaign reinforces or encourages this racist thinking. For example, Governor Sarah Palin last week suggesting that Obama has been “palling around with terrorists,” referring to a long-ago and vague connection between the Senator and former 60’s radical William Ayers

Or in this clip here, where a woman at a McCain rally says “I don’t trust Obama. He’s an Arab,” and John McCain responds: “No, ma’am, he’s a decent family man and citizen.” As if being an Arab and a decent family man and citizen are somehow mutually exclusive! The rage at McCain rallies in the last week often centers on this assumption that Obama is connected to terrorism and that he is a Muslim.

Don’t fall for these racist tactics and rhetoric. We at AWARE_LA encourage everyone to reject the hate in 08. No matter who you vote for, we must stop this racist rhetoric and thinking.

Fortunetaly, others are working on this issue. A non-partisan organization called FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) has launched an important campaign to look at anti-Muslim rhetoric in the news media.

Here is the Letter they’ve sent out:

Help FAIR challenge anti-Muslim smears

This week, FAIR released a first-of-its-kind report profiling 12 top anti-Muslim pundits who regularly project misinformation and innuendo about Muslims through the corporate media.

From talk radio host Michael Savage openly advocating killing 100 million Muslims, to CNN’s Glenn Beck stating that Muslims “will be looking through a razor wire fence at the West” within ten years, the report unmasks the pundits who have spread anti-Muslim fear, bigotry and misinformation in the media.  In the wake of distribution of 28 million copies of an anti-Muslim propaganda film, “Obsession,” to the doorsteps of newspaper subscribers in swing states, the report offers timely intervention. As Islamophobic mud-slinging shifts into high gear just a month before election day, the media’s response will be of critical importance to the nation: Will they continue to enable an entire  religious group to be smeared, or will they uphold standards of responsible journalism?

Your continued support helps us to step up to the challenge of fighting back against media bigotry. Your contribution today expands our outreach efforts [to the report’s findings amongst] to journalists, editors and the public, and helps us challenge the media to treat more critically the new bouts of anti-Muslim mud-slinging that we’re sure to see between now and November 4.

Check out the full report at www.smearcasting.com .

We’re just beginning our extensive outreach campaign. Please help us spread the word by forwarding this study to friends and colleagues.  We’ll continue to update the website on coverage of the report and upcoming media appearances by FAIR’s analysts.

Check your local listings to catch Steve Rendall, co-author of the report, on NPR’s On the Media this coming weekend.

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