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    Posted on Sep 17, 2015

    QUIZ: Same Fears, Same Smears: Islamophobia And Other Prejudices

    Prejudice against American Jews, Catholics, and now Muslims looks surprisingly similar through the decades. Can you guess which minority religious group was targeted in the following historical statements?

    1. 1. “In every country and in every age, the ______ has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Answer: A. This was said about Catholic priests, by President Thomas Jefferson!

      In a letter written in 1814, Jefferson wrote about the incompatibility of Catholicism and liberty. His sentiments sound quite similar to those voiced about Muslims today. In 2014, David French, a staff writer for the National Review wrote, “...it’s past time for the world community to recognize that the version of Islam advanced and practiced on a mass scale in the Muslim world is deeply hostile to liberty…”

    2. 2. “We have had difficulty understanding some of the blind spots in the _________ family tree.”

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Answer: C. During the 1950s, when prejudice towards Jews was commonplace, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was suspected of being a Jew who would bring about America’s downfall.

      The Christian Nationalist Crusade, a prominent anti-Semitic, white supremacist group of the time, promoted conspiracies about Eisenhower’s ties to Jews. These suspicions echo more recent charges brought against President Obama, whose place of birth was questioned and who is thought by many to be Muslim.

    3. 3. “This is the way they are taking over ... They are doing it culturally inch by inch. They don’t need to fire one bullet …”

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Answer: C. This was said about Muslims, but it is reminiscent of the fears drummed up about Jews and Catholics, too.

      Brigitte Gabriel, the head of an organization that pushes for unnecessary bans on Sharia law, said this in an interview with the New York Times in 2008. But she’s not the only one who promotes this narrative. Numerous commentators, like Frank Gaffney and Robert Spencer, appear on cable news channels to warn about the “threat” of Sharia and jihad.

    4. 4. “The left wingers, the internationalists, the Marxist intellectuals and ________ have entertained themselves by referring to our people as the ‘lunatic fringe’...”

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Answer: C. Gerald L.K. Smith, the head of the Christian Nationalist Crusade, wrote this about Jews in a 1956 issue of The Cross and the Flag, the organization’s publication.

      Smith’s worries about an alliance of his enemies bears resemblance to conspiracy theories about Muslims that circulate today. Take this line from blogger, Robert Spencer, who helped stir up controversy around the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque:” “Everywhere Islamic supremacists and their Leftist enablers have easy media access.”

    5. 5. “If a _____ realizes within himself a sense of duty to ________ over his duty to the sovereignty to the United States, he will throw his influence, heart, soul and body... against the United States.”

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Answer: B. “A papist” [Catholic] and “the papal sovereign”!

      Thomas R. Whitney, a U.S. Congressman, wrote this in his 1856 book, A Defence of the American Policy. It reflects many of the “dual allegiance” accusations that have been directed at Muslims and Jews as well. During the 2012 GOP presidential primary, candidate Herman Cain said he’d make a Muslim cabinet member sign a loyalty pledge.

    6. 6. “[Our organization] acts against the treason being committed by national, state, and local government officials, the mainstream media, and others in their capitulation to ________ and ________ ...”

      USA Today
      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Answer: A. This is the mission statement of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, the group run by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer dedicated to rooting out “Islamic supremacism.”

      Their group made recent headlines for their “Draw Muhammad” event in Garland, Texas. Thomas Whitney, the anti-Catholic Congressman, also spoke of “Romanism” as “encroaching,” and of Catholics as potentially treasonous.

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