Racism & Surveillance + Islamophobia
First program: Deepa Kumar & Arun Kundnani - Racism & Surveillance
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a long history of spying on African Americans including Nobel Prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The great writer Richard Wright, who was also snooped on, wrote the poem “The FB Eye Blues": Woke up this morning/FB Eye under my bed/Said I woke up this morning /FB eye under my bed/Told me all I dreamed last night, every word I said. Racism and surveillance are closely intertwined. Today, state security agencies and police departments profile and target Muslims. Their organizations and mosques are infiltrated. If your name is Hussein or Fatima you might be asked questions at airports. A broad net is cast. Civil liberties are tossed aside. Culturally, irrational fear of Muslims is reinforced by popular TV shows such as 24 and movies such as Zero Dark Thirty.
Second program: Deepa Kumar - Islamophobia
Almost automatically the experts tell us that hostility toward Muslims and Islam takes shape after 9/11. Bigotry became a lot easier. But in fact the antagonism has much older and deeper roots. Christian Europe viewed Islam as a threat and demonized the religion, its Prophet and its followers. In the 18th and 19th centuries Britain and France colonized much of the Middle East and North Africa. Since the end of World War Two the U.S. has become the dominant imperial force. Its military operates in Muslim countries from Pakistan to Somalia and from Afghanistan to Yemen. Reducing Muslims to stereotypes furthers ignorance and leads to racial profiling. One group which tracks and studies Islamophobia says there has been a 50% increase in hate crimes against Muslims since 2010 and a 300% growth in the number of anti-Muslim hate groups in the U.S.
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