Did you know that you can get rich, famous and powerful in America today just by hating Muslims? Well, of course you do! President Donald J. Trump is just the most obvious of many examples.
But as Trump’s political career demonstrates, you have to do more than just hate.
You just have to sell your Islamophobia…your hatred of Muslims…you have to make it public; loudly, shrilly, endlessly public…on street-corners and in church halls, at seminars at universities or for groups of police officers or prosecutors… and from this you can make a living.
And if you can take your anti-Muslim rage successfully to the internet or to TV, or even better — to Congress…you can make a handsome living. Ask Frank Gaffney, David Horowitz, Steve Emerson, Pamela Geller or Robert Spencer.
These are the public faces, the public voices of what our guest today, investigative reporter Simon Boazman calls Islamophobia Inc in a documentary recently broadcast worldwide by Al Jazeera English.
Like any good corporation, Islamophobia Inc is an agglomeration of linked organizations, all of which start from the same place, money from funders.
There are a lot of small-dollar contributors who underwrite the anti-Islam insults and confrontations of street-corner preachers like Ruben Israel. And there are also plenty of big money donors who finance the K Street lobbyists and small and tiny-screen spewers and help spread their hate-Muslim messages to potential audiences of millions.
They are the third link in the Islamophobic corporate chain…funders…messengers…and a receptive audience, ready to believe that their own personal, and America’s national security are threatened by insidious Islamic forces pushing Jihad and Shariah law.
The hate-Islam business is booming: an uninformed but absolute hater of Muslims is now America’s President, and his message, and those of his media surrogates are getting through. The FBI’s hate crime statistics show that. Hate crimes continue to grow, by 7% in 2015 over 2015, by another 5% in 2016, the last year for which data has been published. But over that same period, hate crimes against Muslims went up by 67% between 2014 and 15, and then jumped another 19% in 2016.
We won’t get the hate crime statistics for the first year of the Trump Presidency until November, but we know how spoke out about the confrontations at Charlottesville, VA, and we know he stayed silent about a terrorist bomb attack on an Islamic Center in Bloomington, MN.
Of course, the hater-in-chief is rich, powerful and famous, and we are not.
Simon Boazman is one of the UK’s leading investigative reporters, having gone undercover to penetrate a host of challenging subjects such as people trafficking, drugs, organised crime, football hooliganism and racism.
Simon started his TV career as an undercover reporter on The Real Story for BBC1. His film Detention Undercover went on to win the Royal Television Society Journalism Award in the Home Current Affairs category.
Simon later became part of the award-winning team of BBC1’s Panorama presenting hard-hitting and thought-provoking films. He has also presented for BBC3 on documentaries such as Stag Weekends: The Dirty Secrets.
Simon now works for the Al Jazeera investigations unit, his most recent films are Islamophobia Inc. and Spy Merchants