Poet and activist from the War Resisters League
International Socialist Organization
The recent Charlie Hebdo and kosher bakery attacks in Paris have inspired waves of contentious debate around the globe centering on Islamic extremism, freedom of speech, and the role of the United States in an increasingly sectarian Middle East. However, one thing became very clear: for all of France’s talk of protecting “Freedom of Speech”, the already oppressed Islamic population in France would not have those same freedoms protecting them in the wake of the attacks.
Recently, dozens of French Muslims were arrested for “hate speech” or “inciting violence”. There have been more than twenty anti-Muslim attacks in France since the Charlie Hebdo incident, primarily against mosques and largely unreported in the media. The state of Muslims in France, however, quickly became worldwide news: while comprising only 10-12% of the population, they make up 60-70% of the prison population. This statistic hits home in America, where Black Americans suffer a similar fate. New York City itself has a checkered history with Muslims, having been exposed running a massive surveillance program of the city’s mosques and Islamic population.
Much like the “War on Drugs”, the “War on Terror” has criminalized a particular population. This tactic seeks to undermine the sovereignty of Muslim nations, paint them as inherently violent, and denounce them as less deserving of resources and self-determination.
From the United States involvement in the Middle East particularly since 9/11, to the occupation of Palestine, to the still-open horrors of Guantanamo Bay, to the mass incarceration of the French Muslim community, the criminalization and scapegoating of Muslims has become pervasive. It has enabled the West to exploit fear of Islam and nationalism around “terrorism” to push an agenda of empire in the Middle East, and to segregate us here at home.
Please join the Queens branch of the International Socialist Organization Wednesday, February 11 at 7PM at the Queens Pride House for a wide-ranging discussion and speakout addressing Islamophobia, its history, and its effects globally. By affording the community a space to learn and be heard, we hope to build solidarity against the sinister tide of anti-Muslim racism.
Wed. February 11
Queens Pride House
76-11 37th Ave, 2nd Fl.
Jackson Heights, Queens
E / F / R / M / 7 to Roosevelt Ave/ Jackson Heights
Queens Branch of International Socialist Organization
nycsocialist.org / socialistworker.org / Facebook: Queens International Socialist Organization
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