'Anti-Muslim bigotry rampant in US'
Thu Aug 4, 2011 7:13AM
Interview with Paul Magno, board member of Washington Peace Center
Norway's anti-Islam terrorist listed numerous parties like neo-Nazi parties as allies because of their anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim stance, and anti-Islam personalities from the US in his writings to justify his killings.
Press TV has interviewed Paul Magno, a board member of Washington Peace Center, about the extreme right wing groups in the US and Europe, and how much of a threat they pose for the society.
Press TV: So you have political leaders in Europe, and also based on his manifesto, which is written in London, Paul Magno, tell us how much of these groups, mainly the anti-Islam activist has been brewing in the US? And how wide spreads are they in the US?
Magno: Well I think it has been around a long time, and it certainly got serious legs in the years following the 9/11 attacks. When we basically had a right wing administration, with absolutely intent on polarizing the world, between us and them, as President Bush put it at the time, 'them' was terrorist Muslim, played into one demonic enemy.
So we had that going on for the last decades, with some serious intent and it's given them a lot of room, for the kind of events which we have seen in Norway recently.
But we have long history of variety of racism in our country history, less Nazism, certainly White Supremacy goes back for hundreds of years, and it is rooted in the institutional slavery, and the conquest of the continent at the expense of the native people.
So it is long history to live down the US and has been exploited extensively in the first decade of this century to pursue international agenda and the US supremacy in the world.
Press TV: And at the same time, are we going to see Paul Magno, anything to reverse this trends, when we look at incident in Norway, and all these groups, it almost seems like it has been overlooked, in terms of profiling that take place all the way from politicians and down to the police officers that are manning the street.
Do you think this would be a wakeup call for officials in the US in terms of widening the profiling?
Magno: Well, I think it's hard to say what would happened on the official level, because government officials, law enforcement officials, they are so susceptible to that politics of fear mongering on the first place, and make bargains with it and accommodate it.
Much more than they should, on the other hand, I think there are, at least in the US, quite a lot of grass roots groups that are working at many levels to resist racial bigotry.
Whether it is anti-Muslim bigotry, or another aspect of it, extensive in the US, is the anti-immigrant directed at Latin Americans migrating to the US.
There is a lot of work done by grass root groups, and remains to be seen how much that can change to atmosphere for the better.
I agree we do have politics of fear that has been lose dramatically in the last decade, but I want to remember that is not just since 9/11 that this is been going on.
We remember that the Oklahoma City bombing and Timothy MacVeigh, was ultimately convicted and executed for, turn out to be a product of home grown, right wing, terrorists.
But the day it happened there was newsroom about authorities chasing a suspect, who was a Muslim, all the way to London, and they were working with the presumption of Muslim terrorist on that day, years before 9/11 happened.
So it is an old and useful foil, for media and government authorities to exploit, and they do it, unconscionably, to tell you the truth.
Press TV: Paul Magno, is that right? Trying to revert the economic problems in the US, they are also suffering from dyer economic situations, 1 in 5 on food stamps, according to the latest reports, is it right to revert that back to Islam?
What do you think? In terms of the US, it's got the large Muslim community along with other religions, and that is just the tip of the iceberg and that perhaps worse is yet to come?
Magno: I think there is serious disconnect, between pointing a blame at Muslims or Islam, and the social, political and economical stress that society is facing. But I do think that the right wing ideology preys on people's fear, it will point to Muslims and say, you should be afraid of them, be worry about them.
They would point to any number of things... I think it was pointed out that the attacker in Oslo took some of his inspirations form some elements of the Tea Party movement here in the US.
It's been talked about here in European context here that the main stream conservative, political movements that are the entrenching themselves and are expanding themselves here in the US as well as in Europe.
They are creating an atmosphere where people can go to the deep end and try something wild, while no one are paying attention to them. Lunching attack, engage in violence, hurt people, scare people.
So again, I think in the American culture, Muslim is such convenient target and easy escape goat, that is almost irresistible, even though there are many immigrant Muslims living in the US.
And there are many home grown Muslims[in the US], Islam is not brand new in the US, for the last 5,10, or 20 years, they have been practicing Muslim... certainly what they called a Black Muslims movement goes back to the middle of the twentieth century.
As a social force that generated something, still it is easy to look at people who don't come from where you come from, and they don't look like, how you look, and speak different languages, and have peculiar sounding names to the Americans' ear, and they are saying, they are the problem, they are the one that need to be afraid of.