“Right now, many Muslim Americans are worried because threats and harassment against their community are on the rise,” President Obama recently wrote in a commentary for Religion News Service. “We’ve seen Muslim Americans assaulted, children bullied and mosques vandalized, and we’ve heard shameful political rhetoric against Muslim Americans that has no place in our country.”
The president’s words recognize higher levels of anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence in America, the intensification of an Islamophobia that spiked after 9/11.
What is going on?
On one hand, American society is conflating Islam with the group that calls itself the Islamic State and reacting to Muslims in a way reminiscent of its 1940s internment of ethnic Japanese. On the other hand, there is concern that acts of radical Islamic fundamentalists present a threat to the nation.