A Wave of Ugly Rhetoric Targeting Muslim Immigrants

March 23, 2015

In the last few months, some anti-immigrant activists as well as some anti-Muslim bloggers writing about Muslim immigration have ratcheted up their anti-Muslim rhetoric. Even more disturbing, some national and local political figures have joined the ranks of those who proclaim that Muslims are unable to assimilate into American culture. They have declared that Muslims are invading the country with the intent to take it over. 

This kind of anti-immigrant rhetoric is not new. The same kind of sentiment has also been directed at Latino immigrants, particularly Mexicans. For example, anti-immigrant extremists have long promoted the Atzlan conspiracy theory that claims that Mexican immigrants are planning on taking over the Southwestern part of the United States. Today’s focus is increasingly on Muslim immigration, which is seen as far more insidious.

Anti-immigrant activists are using the atrocities committed by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and Muslim extremists to generate fear about all Muslims, including American citizens.  Anti-immigrant bloggers such as Colorado-based Frosty Wooldridge (until recently a board member of the Federation for American Immigration Reform) and California-based Brenda Walker use virulent anti-Muslim rhetoric to demonize Muslims.

Anti-Muslim themes

Anti-immigrant activists and anti-Muslim bigots writing about Muslim immigration tend to focus on a number of common themes that stress the idea that Muslims are different from other groups, are intent on destroying America in some way and promote violence against all non-Muslims. Many claim that the U.S. State Department is planning on accepting a huge number of refugees from Syria and proclaim that this will lead to disaster.

Proclaiming an invasion

Anti-immigrant bloggers, as well as anti-Muslim bigots, warn that there is a “Muslim invasion” that will result in Muslims being the dominant religious group in the U.S.  Carol Brown, who maintains an anti-Muslim blog and writes for an online publication, American Thinker, wrote an article in the latter titled, “The Muslim population of America is expanding at warp speed.”  In the article, she insisted that Muslim immigrants are trying to conquer the U.S. and that “Muslim refugees swarm into the United States as part of this conquest.”  She claimed,

That Muslim majority countries have not opened their doors to these refugees is, I am confident, quite by design. This is about conquest. Otherwise known as Hijira the Islamic doctrine of immigration. Hijra works in concert with violent jihad to overwhelm a society until Islam becomes the single dominant force.

Brown’s piece on the Muslim population in America was circulated on anti-immigrant websites.

Even Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, alleged that Muslims want to invade America. In January 2015, Jindal insisted that there were “no-go zones” for non-Muslims in Europe despite European leaders disputing this assertion. He later went on a radio show and reportedly attacked Muslim immigration, saying, “If they want to come here and they want to set up their own culture and values that’s not immigration, that’s really invasion if you’re honest about it.” 

Equating Islam with violent extremism

Perhaps the most common theme is that Islam is an inherently violent religion whose adherents bring violence wherever they go. Brown, writing in American Thinker, declared that “we are importing Islamic terror. Not because every Muslim is a terrorist. But because enough of them are. And plenty more who don’t commit acts of terror support it—quietly at home or loudly in the street.” 

Frosty Wooldridge shares Brown’s view and goes even further. He has long targeted immigrants in his blogs, painting them as invaders and destroyers of American culture. In the past, he has focused mostly on Latino immigrants but over the last few months has written a multi-part series demonizing Muslims.  He continues to add to the series, titled, “Impregnating America with Muslims.”  In Part 6, titled “Violent Religion to Conquest,” he claimed, “Today in America, we feature Islamic jihadists terror compounds where Muslim immigrants streaming into this country from all over the Middle East—train to kill us and destroy our country.”

In the first article of the series, entitled, “Consequences to Our Society,” Wooldridge asserted that Muslims want to kill all non- Muslims. He argued, “In order to be faithful to the Islamic religion, Muslims ultimately must degrade and kill all other people who follow any other religions.”

In an article titled, “Muslim Immigration Poses Serious National Security Threat,” posted in the online publication Investor’s Business Daily, anti-Muslim blogger Paul Sperry added his voice to those who believe an influx of Muslim immigrants would lead to terrorism in the U.S. He wrote, “The main homeland threat from groups like IS [Islamic State] comes through our immigration system. If they also use our loose policies as a vehicle for jihad and Islamization, we will face the same crisis as Eurabia [a derogatory term meant to describe Muslim immigration to Europe.] 

An anti-immigrant group Citizens Council on Illegal Immigration, based in Utah, citing Sperry’s article about Muslim immigration, argued, “The time to be concerned about lung cancer is before one starts smoking, not after cancer is detected. The time to be concerned about terrorists infiltrating America is before they arrive and attack shopping malls, not after their growing numbers threaten our national security.”

After the terrorist attacks in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo office and a kosher market, former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo argued that Islam was responsible for terrorism.  In a January 12, 2015 column for the online publication World Net Daily, he wrote, “So, here we are again, being told that we can’t blame Islam for the mur­der­ous acts that have cost thou­sands of lives since 9/11 and mil­lions of lives since the 14th cen­tury! Well, then let me ask a sim­ple ques­tion: If Islam did not exist, how many of these events would have occurred?”

Muslims refuse to assimilate

Another common theme for anti-immigration activists and bloggers is that Muslims cannot adapt to American life or culture.  Along with that claim is that assertion that the Muslim community is “breeding” terrorists.  Sperry, writing about Muslim immigration, argued that Muslims in cities like Alexandria, Virginia, Deaborn, Michigan or Minneapolis refuse to assimilate. He writes:

They resemble little Cairos, with their Arabic store signage, halal butchers, hookah bars and  even blaring calls to prayer from mosque minarets. Such cultural diversity might be quaint if not for the fact these heavily Muslim immigrant enclaves are also breeding grounds for terrorism.

Brenda Walker is a long-time anti-immigrant blogger who writes for the racist website VDARE.  In a February 18 posting she suggests that Muslim parents are having “the talk” about “Islamophobia” with their children as a way of promoting “Islamic supremacy.”

Muslim parents located here are imparting traditional Islamic supremacism to Mohammed Jr. and little Aisha, teaching them to behave differently because Americans are racist and Islamophobic. Better chill that discussion about headchopping being a proper punishment for non-Allahbots, for example.

Mainstream officials have also promoted the idea that Muslims cannot accept American culture, customs or laws.  In January 2015, Texas representative Molly White posted an offensive Facebook message in response to “Texas Muslim Capitol Day,” when Muslim constituents visit the Capitol in Austin to lobby and meet with lawmakers. White wrote that she instructed her staff “to ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws.”

When members of the Muslim community attempted to hold a press conference that day, a group of about two dozen protestors disrupted them. One woman grabbed a microphone from one of the organizers and shouted, “Islam will never dominate the United States and by the grace of God, it will never dominate Texas.” As the Muslim group tried to sing the American national anthem, other protestors screamed, “Islam is a lie,” and “No Sharia here!”  Sharia refers to the body of Islamic law.

As the Muslim community participated in American democracy on Texas Muslim Capitol Day, the protestors, which included some anti-immigrant activists, tried to paint them as outsiders who cannot assimilate into American life.