Demons' Markets: Arabs, Muslims, and the United States

Article excerpt

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This article presents some manifestations of Anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim sentiments in the U.S. including the DP World attempt to assume management of six major U.S. Ports in 2006, the National Security Agency domestic spying unveiled in late 2005, the Abu-Ghraib Torture scandals, pre and post September 11 actions by Justice officials. Evidence of negative portrayal of Arabs and Muslims include Hollywood, popular audio, visual and print media outlets, and statements by key politicians and religious leaders. As a result, it has become less possible to view Arabs and Muslims as victims.

Keywords: Anti-Arab, Islamophobia, Human Rights, Abu-Ghraib, Civil Rights

INTRODUCTION

In a global economy, nations are interconnected, and physical boundaries are increasingly becoming meaningless. The Middle East, and specifically its Arab and Muslim inhabitants are important players in this global economy - especially given their market potential and access to natural resources. The market of more than one billion people controls the production of much of the oil that sustains western and eastern economies. As businesses around the world seek to ease their market access by bridging cultural, social, and economic gaps with global markets, the United States seems to be heading the other way. In the United States, there is an unmistakable and successful attempt by religious leaders, politicians, cultural outlets, and media to widen this gap between the West on one hand and the Muslim and Arab worlds on the other.

This article argues that there are some serious manifestations of Anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim sentiments in the United States. Arabs/Muslims are victimized in each one of these manifestations. Yet, this victimization is constantly overlooked by the American public and business leaders. The article presents several events that featured blatant Anti-Arab and Anti-Islamic sentiments in the United States. Then, it associates these instances with decades of portraying Arabs and Muslims by Hollywood as villains, and with socio-political rhetoric that does the same. The result is the effective demonizing of Arabs and Muslims.

Instances of anti-Arabism and anti-Islamism include the DP World attempt to assume management of six major U.S. Ports in 2006, the National security Agency domestic spying unveiled in late 2005, the Abu-Ghraib Torture scandals, the postSeptember 11, 2001 actions by Department of Justice officials, and the pre-September 11 use of secret evidence laws by the same officials against Arab and Muslim Americans. Evidence of negative portrayal of Arabs and Muslims include Hollywood, popular audio, visual and print media outlets, and statements by key politicians and religious leaders. The final section of the paper argues that violations of the human rights of Arabs or Muslims in the United States and abroad are not obvious to the public because it has become difficult to see these individuals as victims.

DP WORLD AND SHIPPING TERROR

On February 11, 2006, The Washington Post reported that Dubai Ports World (DP World) was approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to take over operations at Ports in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami and New Orleans. The United Arab Emirates Company had agreed to take over the British Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. which was the operator of these ports. While the U.S. Administration was steadfastly supportive of this deal, Democrat and soon, thereafter, Republican politicians rushed to condemn this deal as a security breech. Although President George W. Bush and his administration officials tried to salvage the deal, they seemed unable to turn around the forever irrational argument of 'They're Arabs, duh.' Bush then told reporters, "I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a British company" (Sinnett, 2006, p. …