Islamophobic Canards

breaking the stereotypes

Myth: Muslims hate America

This is a silly myth, but is borne out of ignorance. A news clip of a few Pakistanis overseas makes many people jump to conclusions about over 1.5 Billion people, as if they all think and act alike.

First, Muslims have had a pretty long relationship with America, and were some of the first explorers to set foot in the New World (Columbus’ crew and Chinese admiral Cheng He in 1421). It’s estimated that up to 1/3 of the African slaves brought to work in America were Muslim, and forcibly converted by slaveowners to Christianity. There are historical records of slaves with Muslim names and even huffaz (people who memorized the entire Quran) puzzling plantation owners who remarked at the “bizarre African writing” they copied down from memory.

When America declared independence from the British, the first country to formally recognize the United States was Morocco, the Sultan opened full diplomatic relations even before America’s ally France in the Revolutionary War. In 1796, America formalized its relationship with the Kingdom of Tripoli in 1796, when President John Adams had the senate unanimously ratify the Treaty of Tripoli, containing this quote:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Muslim countries, in Africa, the Middle East, and Far East, enjoyed good relations with America for an extremely long time, as they were not considered a colonialist power the way many European nations were.

Today, many Muslims around the world have a very positive opinion of America; for example a 2013 poll showed 81% of people in Senegal have a favorable view of the US and 59% of Malaysians view the US as a partner. Those who had a critical view tended to have specific gripes about US foreign policy, but didn’t express hatred of the people or culture. Certainly there are terrorist groups that hate America and threaten to attack it, but they are wildly unpopular in the Muslim world and certainly do not represent the majority.

When President George W. Bush visited Albania in 2007, he was given a hero’s welcome. This was due to the gratitude of the people for America’s support of the Albanians and Bosnians against the war criminal Slobodon Milosevic and the US’ support of Kosovo getting independence some years earlier. President Obama was greeted by an adoring public in Indonesia and elsewhere.

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