Almost half of Americans want to limit civil liberties for Muslim-Americans.

A nationwide telephone poll conducted by student researchers at Cornell University reports that nearly half the people questioned support limiting the rights of Muslim-Americans including the use of racial profiling and government infiltration of Muslim organizations. Researchers questioned 715 people and the poll had a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points. Support was highest among (surprise!) Republicans and the highly religious and lowest among Democrats and people who are less religious.

“It’s sad news. It’s disturbing news. But it’s not unpredictable,” said Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society.

“The nation is at war, even if it’s not a traditional war. We just have to remain vigilant and continue to interface.”

The survey found 44 percent favored at least some restrictions on the civil liberties of Muslim-Americans.

Forty-eight percent said liberties should not be restricted in any way.

The survey showed that 27 percent of respondents supported requiring all Muslim- Americans to register where they lived with the federal government.

Twenty-two percent favored racial profiling to identify potential terrorist threats. And 29 percent thought undercover agents should infiltrate Muslim civic and volunteer organizations to keep tabs on their activities and fund raising.

I always find it somewhat ironic that the true defenders of religious liberty in this country tend not to be the highly religious people, but the liberals and the folks who aren’t particularly religious themselves. Given the opportunity, the Christian majority in this country would happily restrict the rights of not just the Muslims, but anyone else they aren’t fond of. The teaching of their particular ideology would be mandatory in public classrooms, and no one who wasn’t a Christian would be eligible to run for office.

When the Christians rose to power in Rome they took it upon themselves over the course of many years to destroy anything they associated with Paganism and ended up setting back humanity some 500 years and bringing on the period commonly referred to as the Dark Ages. Art, science, literature, education, technology, and society all suffered under the oppressive might of the then state-sanctioned Christian religion. At times it looks like we’re on the verge of seeing history repeat itself here in America. Christianity is enjoying its height of popularity here in the states and this has emboldened those who would have it mandated by the government to try harder than ever to undermine the very thing that allowed it to flourish. History has a bad habit of repeating when the lessons it imparts aren’t learned by future generations.

24 comments

  1. As I posted on the Asylum yesterday:

    Nearly half of Americans want to strip civil liberties from a segment of society?!? How will we tell they are Muslim? A yellow crescent moon sewn upon their clothing? Tattoos upon their forearms with a bar code representing their religious views and ethnic backgrounds?

    DoF reminded me that Barcodes are so last century when we have RFIDs now…

    First they came updated for the 21st Century…

    “First they came for the Muslims …”

    When we take away the civil liberties of any one group or class of people, we are all stripped of liberty.

  2. I’d be curious to see the actual poll, as well as how it relates to groups outside of Muslims.  Favoring “at least some restrictions on the civil liberties” of Muslim-Americans (and frankly I find that hyphenation a bit offensive and segregationist in itself) is doesn’t mean much without specific suggestions.  After all, a lot of folks favor civil liberties restrictions in general, not just against that one group.

    The specific examples given aren’t all arguably civil rights violations.  The registering where you live certainly would be (though, again, it would be useful to hear (a) what the respondents thought about that for the general population, and (b) how respondents identified “Muslim-Americans”).  But “racial profiling” is a lot dicier of a subject, name notwithstanding (given the general ridicule that results when the authorities body search 90-year-old WASP grandmothers), and infiltrating “Muslim civic and volunteer organzations” probably means a number of different things to different respondents (all organizations? on what basis of suspicion?).

    The question is, does the general population equate American Muslims with potential terrorists.  If so, that’s a perception that needs to be fought in general, and by the American Muslim community as a whole, just as the equation of Americans of Italian decent have fought against equation with organized crime.

  3. I think that this Stupid Evil Quote addresses this perfectly:
    “It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves.”

    —Thomas Paine

  4. This is why I hate religion. It seems like the Christians are on an all out campaign to snuff anybody who doesn’t align with their point of view.

    It pains me to hear news like this. And I know it’ll only get worse with time and by then the Spanish Inquisition will come into play for all of us.

  5. A baker
    A bookkeeper
    A Teacher
    A Farmer
    A Libriarian
    A Cook
    A Policeman
    A Manager
    All of these people had no criminal record. All of these people had no history of violence. All of these people had loving families. All of these people were patriotic and supported what they thought was best for their country.
    All of these people volunteered for the SS einzsatsgruppen and murdered men, women, and childern in most horrific ways. People are capable of ANYTHING the only defense is eternal vigilance and knowledge. If I hear someone and I mean anyone say racist, vile, un American things within earshot of me I always say something so these racist/facsist brownshirt wannabes know that at least one white person does’nt beleive their ill-informed propaganda and that their lies will be refuted by at least one person. Silence breeds sheep.

  6. I think we ought to determine if other “ethnic” groups were targeted during periods of civil or military disturbances.  For example, the Japanese internment during WWII.  And, for that matter, were Catholics infiltrated during the IRA mess in N Ireland?  I’m certain that the Russians are infiltrating the Chechen organizations.

    BTW, I know plenty of Jews who would like to see all Muslim-Americans (or just Muslims) deported from the good old US of A, just in case they’re against Israel.

    This is probably a case of ignorant paranoia, not just anti-Muslim sentiment.

    SG

  7. I’m new to the group but have been following the website for a while…

    I whole-heartedly agree with Rufus. I also try to speak up whenever in the presence of bigotry. A lot of times others will also chime in. If done correctly the “bigot” attempts to defend and reason out their views…. Sometimes they’re fundamentalist types and have no concept of reason. Sometimes they’re reasonable and just haven’t thought out their views.

    Watched “Hearts and Minds” last night. Excellent documentary on the Viet Nam War. Very pertinent for today.

  8. Ben, case in point. It’s not all Christians, it’s Protestants. Excuse my generalisation, but this is what Protestants do. The Catholic nation of Ireland didn’t agree with the English Protestant way of view and we all know what happened (“all your food is our food now! HAHAHA!”).

    Of course, as previously pointed out, this is not new. These “americans” commited Genocide against the Native Americans in the 19th Century, the Japanese fell victim in WW2, the Communist people in the 50s, to a lesser extent the Germans and French, and now Muslims. The US is starting to adopt a style similar to that of the “know-nothing” party (you name em, we hate em).

  9. I’d be curious to see the actual poll, as well as how it relates to groups outside of Muslims. 

    I agree.

  10. Les: I always find it somewhat ironic that the true defenders of religious liberty in this country tend not to be the highly religious people, but the liberals and the folks who aren’t particularly religious themselves..

    A common agnostic pretense, but I’ve never seen any evidence that it’s true.  Just this past election cycle, you had the Conference of Catholic Bishops telling people not to simply vote the “Catholic Party Line” against abortion, but instead consider all the issues facing the nation and come to their own conclusions.

    More on-topic: how did mainstream Christian denominations react to the War on Terrorism?

    The U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops and a host of Muslim groups issued this statement.  “Catholics and Muslims meet regularly as friends and religious partners in dialogue and engage together in many community projects. We are fully committed to one another as friends, believers, and citizens of this great land.”  “We urge all American citizens to unify during this national tragedy and encourage cooperation among all ethnic, cultural, racial, and religious groups constituting the mosaic of our society.”

    The country’s largest Protestant organization, the Southern Baptist Convention, issued this press release on 9/14/2001.  “Christians must be sure they don’t succumb to any anti-Muslim hysteria inspired by the attacks.”  “Islam does have a few extremists, and so does Christianity. We ought not to stereotype.”

    Pretty intolerant stuff!  Thank goodness unbelievers are out there to provide a foil to this type of hate-mongering.

    Les: Given the opportunity, the Christian majority in this country would happily restrict the rights of not just the Muslims, but anyone else they aren’t fond of. The teaching of their particular ideology would be mandatory in public classrooms, and no one who wasn’t a Christian would be eligible to run for office.

    This is the point where you go off the deep end a bit.  There probably are a few thousand “Christian nut-jobs” living in this country who would like to try all of this and more.  There are just as many “loonies of the left” who want to ban religion outright, or who see nothing wrong with burning down someone’s home “to protect the environment from human encroachment.”

    The danger is that you develop so much “lurid fascination” with their websites and kooky manifestos that you start to see these people as somehow representing mainstream right-wing or left-wing thought.

    You claim that “the Christian majority in this country” is chomping at the bit to usher in a new Christian Taliban.  That begs the question: what’s stopping them?  This is a Democracy, and 76% of all Americans classify themselves as Christian.  If the maority of Christians really want all of these things, why haven’t they come to pass?

  11. Les: I always find it somewhat ironic that the true defenders of religious liberty in this country tend not to be the highly religious people, but the liberals and the folks who aren’t particularly religious themselves..

    Daryl: A common agnostic pretense, but I’ve never seen any evidence that it’s true.  Just this past election cycle, you had the Conference of Catholic Bishops telling people not to simply vote the “Catholic Party Line

  12. I would have to agree with Dave & Daryl, people’s opinions aren’t clarified well enough in this poll against restricting liberties in other groups as well.  I personally can’t see any problem with racial profiling, & have never understood opposition to it.  If someone raped me & my friends were in danger, damn straight they better get the most specific description possible!

    Dante, I assume you don’t live in the US given your beliefs, it sounds like paranoid hate-mongering against a nation that (under your interpretation of history you never experienced) should, (for all intents & purposes,) be sanctioned by the free world, oh wait, we’re the STRONGEST PART of the FREE world that everyone else chooses to FLOCK to.

    I missed y’all somewhat, this holiday season is insane with parties!  It’s been fun hanging around with some Germans we met while shopping who are learning the language, & they seem MUCH more paranoid of Arab Muslims than we are (constantly remind us of what happened in Holland to that filmaker).  They keep arguing that the problem is that we aren’t restricting immigration enough & we need to confine them in the ME to kill one another off & leave us alone, while we try to say that if they show an interesti in living here, that COULD be a good thing, showing they are interested in peace, & deserve a shot.
    Europe’s attempt to “integrate”European biasHeadscarves

  13. ellie,

    I personally can’t see any problem with racial profiling, & have never understood opposition to it.

    If I remember correctly according to Tom Ridge Al Qaeda is actively recruiting non-Arabs.  As such racial profiling would be fairly useless.  Indeed, if you consider all of the people arrested in suspicion of terrorist links (most of whom because they were Arab and doing suspicious things such as taking pictures when they were on vacation) very few (I think maybe 3 of the several thousand arrested) actually proved to have terrorist ties. 

    Indeed, if you consider that the Richard Reid (aka the shoe bomber) he’s one of the three actually guilty of having terrorist sympathies, and he’s not Arab, indeed he’s half British and half Jamaican.  Racial profiling isn’t nearly exact enough to merit consideration.  It ends up wasting time and effort, as well as causing large scale infringement of civil liberties. 

    Another good case is that of Mayr Arar, who happens to be a Canadian engineer who was on a business trip to the States.  Somehow he got picked up at the border by US agents deported to Syria in secret and tortured for several months until the Canadian gov’t was able to get him back.  This all happened despite the fact that everyone acknowledged (while he was still in Syria) that he was completely innocent and somehow a mistake was made. 

    If racial profiling wasn’t so completely inadequate I wouldn’t be so opposed to it.  However, it seems that racial profiling is just a way of being lazy for the security agencies.  Moreover, it leads to red herrings, wasting of time and effort.  Indeed, the effort that would be necessary to search all the Arabs around would be better spent hiring a few more state troopers to patrol highways and to have tighter security in ports and harbors. 

    P.S.  I’m not sure how the rape thing comes into this conversation.

  14. P.P.S.  Another faulty assumption held by those who support the profiling of arabs is the belief that being muslim and being of a particular ethnicity are synonymous.  This is not the case.  In fact the majority of muslims are either Indonesian (which is the 4th most populous nation and also has 88% of its population declaring themselves as muslims), Pakistani (whom are in fact non-Arabic despite being brown), Bangledeshi, Indian, Nigerian, or Chinese (yep China has the 10th largest muslim community in the world). 

    Now, I will grant that muslim extremism isn’t particularly common in many of these countries (with the exceptions being Indonesia and Pakistan) yet when one considers that the vast majority of muslims aren’t arabic it isn’t a far stretch to consider that terrorist organizations have the ability to draw from a wide variety of races for their operatives.

  15. P.P.P.S.

    we’re the STRONGEST PART of the FREE world that everyone else chooses to FLOCK to.

    However, you should also consider that as far as civil liberties goes the United States, while being the strongest nation in the “free world”, is also the least free of the nations of the “free world”.  Indeed, the US is one of the last hold outs against equal rights for gays.  The US was the last to give up slavery.  The US is also has the highest crime rates, the greatest disparity between rich and poor, and the US also has the most draconian anti-terrorism laws (though, this is to some degree understandable given that the US is the biggest target). 

    Now, I do really respect the United States’ integrity in that she often stands for her principles (sometimes to her detriment).  However, speaking as a Canadian, it might be a good thing for the US to sometimes take a look at her allies and see what’s happening outside of her borders.  Though the US has the world’s most kicking ass military, she lags behind in other areas sometimes.

  16. Get a life.  Too much time on your hands.  Go round up some terrorists instead of complaining.  Eveybody talking nobody helping. CRAP!

  17. Spew:

    Everybody talking nobody helping.

    HEY! Spew (betcha do too)!
    I know it’s a waste of my moments in time responding to this little ‘comment’ but, have you ever thought of contributing something a little less mindless?
    Anything will do. Are you older than 10? You are allowed to use a calculator. LOL

  18. Go round up some terrorists instead of complaining.

    Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooood Morning Afghanistan

    We asks ‘em “Are you a terrorist?”, and if they sez yes we shoots ‘em, an’ if they sez no we lets ‘em go

    Tomorrow’s lesson: catching rapist by TV adverts asking them to give themselves up.

Leave a Reply