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Khan_Sebastian Ledwick CROPPED

White privilege and racism in American ‘justice’ laid bare

Khan_Sebastian Ledwick CROPPED

By Sameed Khan

TMO Contributing Writer

White privilege is a secret idea: a subtle, quiet thing that steals into many important aspects of our lives and the American situation. Whites routinely have an easier time finding jobs, are more likely to find adequate housing and are more likely to get accepted into institutions of higher education. However, the most stark contrast is when it comes to our criminal justice system—just look at the three examples below.

 

POSSESSION OF WEAPONS

Yuvette Henderson

Yuvette Henderson

Yuvette Henderson

Yuvette Henderson was gunned down by police in Emeryville, California, after leaving a Home Depot. Officers allege that she was armed and carrying a gun, shoplifted and was engaging in carjacking at the time. Witnesses claim differently, stating that she was simply “waving down a bus”. Whether she may or may not have been committing these crimes, the fact remains that Yuvette was gunned down by officers with a military-grade AR-15 automatic rifle. Police claim that she was armed, while multiple eyewitnesses have refuted this accusation.

Sebastian Ledwick

Sebastian Ledwick

Sebastian Ledwick

Two weeks before Yuvette’s tragic death, police officers were investigating a warehouse half a block away from the Home Depot where Yuvette was shot. They found Sebastian Ledwick there, or rather, he found them. Ledwick actually chased the cops and fired a handgun into the detectives’ car while the latter retreated. Eventually, they circled around and apprehended him—alive, even though he was armed and very dangerous.

 

STAND YOUR GROUND LAWS

Marissa Alexander

Marissa Alexander

Marissa Alexander

One highly controversial issue and pillar of white privilege is Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” laws—but who gets to use them? Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot when her abusive husband tried to assault her. Her legal defense cited the “Stand Your Ground” law, claiming that Marissa was obviously trying to defend herself—but it didn’t work.

George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman is infamous for the killing of Trayvon Martin, a case which has been historic in demonstrating the prevalence of racism in America. Zimmerman also relied on the “Stand Your Ground” law in defense of his killing of Martin—except it worked, thus proving that certain parts of our legal code are only reserved for use by white individuals.

 

POSSESSION OF DRUGS 

Telisha Watkins

 

Telisha Watkins

Telisha Watkins

Telisha is one of 46 inmates whose sentences Obama shortened. Her original sentence was 20 years, with 8 years of supervised release for simply the possession of cocaine and “cocaine base” (crack). Growing up in a poor community, Tanisha had problems with drugs beginning in her high school years.

Clifford Clark

Clifford Clark

Clifford Clark

Clifford Clark, from Montgomery, Alabama (a state with a long history of segregation and racism) was sentenced for the exact same crime as Telisha (possession of cocaine), but Mr. Clark was only sentenced to a mere 10 years.

***

White privilege is still alive and strong within this country, and the racism inherent within the criminal justice system is still a long way from its demise—just look at the stats:

  • According to the Department of Justice, 80 percent of cocaine users are white, and that “the typical cocaine user is a middle-class, white suburbanite.” But black people are 12.5 percent more likely to be pulled over for drug investigations.
  • Sentences for black criminals are 15 percent longer than they are for white criminals
  • Black people are 18 percent more likely to be in jail while they wait for trial.
  • In a North Carolina study, black jurors were twice as likely to be struck from juries when compared to white jurors.
  • In Iowa’s Sixth Judicial District, black people were 15 percent more likely to have their probation revoked.

What all this adds up to is an institution of racism that gives whites a different justice than it does blacks (white privilege). Even if segregation is dead by law, it still lives on in the biases of law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges and other officials at every stage of the criminal justice system. It creates a self-fulfilling prophecy—black people are targeted more because of a negative stereotype, resulting in more convictions and arrests. This shows in the statistics and further perpetuates the same stereotype, creating a vicious cycle that entrenches people of color within the tangles of an absurdly unjust “justice” system.

 

A homemade clock made by Ahmed Mohamed, 14, is seen in an undated picture released by the Irving Texas Police Department September 16. Irving Texas Police Department/Handout via Reuters

The story of Ahmed Mohamed shows the daily racism experienced by Muslim children in America

A homemade clock made by Ahmed Mohamed, 14, is seen in an undated picture released by the Irving Texas Police Department September 16. Irving Texas Police Department/Handout via Reuters

A homemade clock made by Ahmed Mohamed, 14, is seen in an undated picture released by the Irving Texas Police Department September 16. Irving Texas Police Department/Handout via Reuters

By Amer F. Ahmed
UmmahWide

As a Muslim with Ahmed in my name, I am acutely aware of how much it sucks to be a brown guy with my name in post-9/11 America. I know plenty about the experience of being racially profiled with a name that causes significant suspicion by law enforcement and others in our society. When I learned about the recent experience of 9th grader Ahmed Mohamed being arrested and interrogated by police without his parents present in Irvine, Texas, I was angry and deeply sympathetic. What a horrible experience for a child to be accused of creating a bomb when simply seeking the approval of your engineering teacher for building a clock at home.

In seeing Ahmed through the media, he reminds me of myself when I was a kid as well as so many of my friends, cousins, nieces and nephews who were all children of South Asian immigrant Muslims. He reminds me of all the beautiful kids that I always see running around at any mosques I visit. Ahmed’s parents and family remind me of all the “uncles” and “aunties” of my community that were all around me on a daily basis. I can almost hear the things they have been saying to Ahmed during his upbringing (like my parents and others in our community always said):

“Focus on your studies. Do not be distracted by other things. Don’t make any excuses, no matter how bad you are treated. You should be thankful that we are in America and they let us into their country. We have opportunity here that we did not have back home. Don’t cause any trouble or bring any attention to yourself. Try to be a doctor or an engineer, don’t get involved with politics and don’t talk to anyone about controversial things like religion. Be a good Muslim boy and respect your elders. Listen to what the teacher tells you. Always make the teacher happy and do what they say.”

It is that last part of the message that I believe led to Ahmed wanting to share his clock with his teacher. As soon as I found out that he was seeking this teacher’s approval, I immediately knew it was because he has been encouraged to desire that approval by his family and community. It’s so deeply engrained in our culture to want your teacher’s approval and for them to think positively of you. I can only imagine how painful it was for him to watch his teacher then transform the situation into one of deep suspicion, followed by irresponsible administrators exacerbating the situation by bringing in the police. As we now know, the police compounded the trauma by arresting and interrogating him.

On so many levels, I can relate to Ahmed and his family. However, despite the fact that I can relate to Ahmed in so many ways, there is one way in which I cannot relate to him. That is because I lived for 22 years in America prior to September 11th, 2001. I did not, as Ahmed and so many Muslim children in America are, grow up in post-9/11 America. When I look at my life, it is impossible to avoid the bifurcated reality of being Muslim in America before and after 9/11. For most Muslims, it fundamentally altered our experience in this country. We went from a largely unknown group to a vilified community with deeply held suspicions surrounding us. Although there were plenty of marginalizing experiences related to being a person of color before 9/11, it has been nothing like the persistent attack and vitriol directed at us since then.

Despite the sense of loss that emerges from the complete alteration of the American experience for American Muslims like myself, I hold much more concern for young Muslims like Ahmed. They only know an American experience that has consistently communicated openly bigoted views of them in the public discourse. In addition, they have grown up in a country that deems it to be acceptable to profile us, criminalize us, vilify us, and stereotype us as violent terrorists. I want you to imagine what it is like for the American Muslim children of this country who have watched Islamophobes like Bill Maher, Bill O’Reilly and Donald Trump hold mainstream appeal. Muslims are one of the few groups in which people who espouse overt hate towards us are not marginalized and/or discredited. If the same things that are said about Muslims were said about anyone else (e.g. Black, Jewish, etc.), there would be widespread condemnation. When someone spreads hate about us, it’s par for the course.

Every day through American media, Muslim kids are told that there is something wrong with them for being who they are and that they fundamentally are not American. Let’s just use the whole “Barack Obama is a Muslim” thing as an example (which ironically is rearing its ugly head once again at Trump town halls and campaign stops). The reasonable position on this issue is to say, “He’s not a Muslim, he’s a Christian.” What has never been the dominant response to that has been, “So what if he was?” The entire framing and response of the issue is predicated on the assumption that there is some sort of inherent problem with being a Muslim. This has been the message that Muslim children have been receiving for much of their lives. Quite honestly, this is the most benign aspect of the manner in which they have been vilified and articulated as being outside of the parameters of what it means to be American.

Given that there has been outrage over the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed, some may say that this proves that people do care and recognize that Muslim children should not be criminalized with this type of suspicion. However, given the bullying, hate and vilification that Muslim children have been subjected to in this country, why did it take this incident for people to develop some empathy? (In fact, in a recent interview, Ahmed mentioned that he has been teased for being Muslim and called terrorists by his peers prior to this incident.) I could ask the same question regarding the lack of empathy for children of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world? Why did it take seeing the horrific image of a toddler washing up to shore for people to realize the inhumanity of what is happening to Muslim children in this world? What is it going to take for people to realize that these children that are being criminalized, vilified and therefore dehumanized are part of the human family and are worthy of life, dignity and respect?

It is my hope that the case of Ahmed Mohamed can be a turning point for us to recognize that we must confront Islamophobia in real and serious ways in the country. Time will tell if people use this as an example that highlights our need to shift course. If we allow this vilification to continue, there are dark chapters in American history that reveal the extent of horror that can occur in this country. We must do so for the betterment of this entire country, not just for Muslims (and Muslim children).

Editor’s note: Amer F. Ahmed is an Associate Faculty member at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication and a member of SpeakOut: Institute for Democratic Leadership and Culture. An individual with eclectic personal and professional experience, he is a Hip Hop activist, spoken word poet, diversity consultant and college administrator, channeling his diverse experiences into work geared towards facilitating effective intercultural development. This article originally appeared in UmmahWide.

17-39

Beyond Skin

By Khadega Mohammed, guest writer

Racism. The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. Or for a less technical term, the belief that one race is superior to other races. When asked about racism, I think about my experiences, as well as the many other cases involving such injustice. Being a black, Arab, Muslim, and hijabi woman, I have faced a lot of discrimination throughout my life. I grew up in Saudi Arabia, where many of my memories consisted of hatred and pain because of racism. From a young age, I was taught to hate my skin color and myself. I always felt like I didn’t belong because I was different than everyone, weeping through the many nights spent trying to scrub the color off of my skin, tears rolling down my face. It all started from the first day of first grade, when I asked a young Saudi Arabian girl if I could sit next to her. She gave me a disgusted look and hissed, “You cannot sit next to me.”

Confused, I asked, “Why?”,

“Because you are black.”

My parents always taught me to be kind to others, and before that day, I thought the world was filled with smiles and love. I was taught to play with all the kids, no matter who they were. I really supposed everyone was meant to get along with each other, because we all had beating hearts willing to receive and give love. But after that day, my whole life turned upside down. One of the biggest problems dividing the ummah is the racism and discrimination within our mosques and communities. It may be subtle, but its effects cause so much tension and segregation between Muslim brothers and sisters. Islam is a loving religion — but its followers sometimes bring the baggage of racial bias deep within their cultures. Hatred will continue to exist in people’s hearts, because, most of the time, ignorance overpowers logic and humanity. After experiencing so much racism in my young life,
I decided to make a change. I made it my responsibility to spread as much love as I can. I would never want anyone to experience the emptiness I once felt. To solve this problem, people first need to realize as a problem, so I made it my mission to educate people on racism. Racial profiling does nothing but separate us as a human race. We are much more that what our skin color says about us. It is time that we stop separating ourselves into pieces, and start agreeing to one peace.

-Khadega Mohammed

Shante Needham and Sharon Cooper, sisters of Sandra Bland, and Bland's mother Geneva Reed-Veal attend the funeral in the Chicago suburb of Willow Springs

Who is Sandra Bland and why should you care?

Shante Needham (R) and Sharon Cooper (2nd R), sisters of Sandra Bland, and Bland’s mother Geneva Reed-Veal (L) attend the funeral in Illinois, July 25. Jim Young / Reuters

 

By Rashida Tlaib

Sandra Bland, only 28 years old, was one of five sisters who was a musician, loved to serve her community, a summer counselor and passionate about the #BlackLivesMatter movement. She headed to Texas for a new job that she was thrilled about, and family members even described her mood as “ecstatic.” Her sisters said that she was outgoing, truly filled with life and joy.

She was found hanging from her jail cell after she was arrested for a claimed assault of the officer who stopped her on an alleged traffic violation. Now, what you should know is that the officer was tailgating her and the reason she pulled to the side of the road in order to get out of his way. When she did that she didn’t use her turn signal and sadly that is the reason he pull her over. When Sandra asserts her right to know why she was being arrested. The officer then begins to threaten her, “I’m going to drag you out. I’m going to light you up.” He later slams her head to the ground while she cried out “you are doing all this for a traffic signal.”

Sandra was in jail for three days.

Although the medical examiner said it was suicide, too many unanswered questions arose to the point where it is now being investigated as a murder.

Her family is devastated and can’t fathom that she could take her life, especially because she was excited to start a new chapter in her life. Just like me and many other young American Muslims, she voiced strong opinions about police accountability, racism, and hate in America. There are strong suspicions by the #BlackLivesMatter movement that the arrest was illegal, she was a victim of a broken and corrupt police system, and she would not have ended her life in a jail cell. People knew her as an activist against a police system that is structurally racist, so undoubtedly, many fear that there was wrongdoing on the part of the police department.

Why should we all care about the circumstances of what happened to Sandra? Because this happened right here in our backyard. Not that many are surprised, but it is a story that is very similar to what we hear from El Salvador, with kidnappings of civilians, or from Mexico, where local police are behind the kidnapping of 43 young people. People today get pulled over and detained by police every day without reason or justification.

Sandra’s experience with the officer, the traffic stop, the arrest, and later her tragic death, should be an awakening that an overhaul of the way we police communities of color is desperately needed, because the current system is completely broken and killing people.

Editor’s note: Rashida Tlaib is the child of Palestinian immigrants. She lives in Detroit. Tlaib made history in 2008 becoming the first female Muslim woman elected to the Michigan House of Representatives and only second in the country. Tlaib currently works at the Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice on the community benefits movement in Michigan.

17-31

Photo credit: clipart.com.

Is racism a problem with Muslims?

Photo credit: clipart.com.

Photo credit: clipart.com.

By Marina Ali

Diversity is one of my many blessings that we feel when in the Muslim Ummah. You can go anywhere in the world and find a Muslim community. It’s amazing what we’ve accomplished as a whole in the past two thousand years, in terms of the sheer number of people who practice Islam. Personally, living in Atlanta, which has a huge community, has opened my eyes to all different types of Muslims. In my small hometown of Madison, Mississippi, I was only surrounded by Sunnis, but in Georgia, I got to meet Shiites, Ismailis, and people of other sects.

As a person who likes reading and learning about the faith, it was interesting to hear different viewpoints on our religion. I know it’s an asset to be able to have logical and peaceful discourse on differing interpretations of the Quran, when people in other parts of the world are tearing each other to pieces over what they think. Yet, it’s sometimes easy to forget the issues that plague our own neck of the woods when we’re worried about the wildfire in another part of the forest.

Racism has been a quiet issue in our religion, whether we care to acknowledge this fact or not. Technically, it shouldn’t be, because there are numerous Quranic passages that tell us to accept our Muslim brothers and sisters of every race, ethnicity, or “tribe.” Even so, a key passage from the Quran says “O men, We created you from a male and female, and formed you into nations and tribes that you may recognize each other. He who has more integrity has indeed greater honor with God. Surely God is all-knowing and well-informed” (Al-Hujurat:13). So, it’s there, plain and simple, you as a Muslim person shouldn’t discriminate against people by race or ethnicity, rather by their iman or their “integrity.”

Yet, as we see time and time again, what’s on the paper doesn’t necessarily correlate to everyday life. However, the piece that I just mentioned is one of the most fundamental in the way Muslims are supposed to act and think. It reiterates the age-old notion of mutual respect to your fellow man, but you know it’s not practiced.

Just the other day, my mother asked if I had met any new male acquaintances at university. She was hinting at whether or not I had I had found a brown parent approved potential suitor who usually went along the description of Bengali, well-educated, handsome, and from a respectable family. I was a bit surprised at this comment. As a Muslim women, didn’t I have the freedom to marry any other Muslim man I want, as long as it was done in a halal and consensual way? In my parents eyes, definitely not. Granted, I know that my parents want what’s best for me, I found her viewpoint a bit skewed. They simply wanted the perfect little Bengali boy for their golden girl.

I asked my mother, what was wrong with marrying a Muslim Arab or any other Muslim? After all, Islam prides itself in its diversity. Why should I limit myself to people of the Indian subcontinent when there were nice Muslims all over the world? Our Prophet (pbuh) was trendsetting in his day when he was marrying women of different ethnicities. The Quran even said that it was better to marry a Muslim slave than an attractive and rich non-Muslim (Al-Baqqarah:221). Her answer? If I didn’t find Bengali mate in the future, then our cultures would clash and it would be an unsuccessful relationship. I also knew how that could be an issue; however, wasn’t the whole point of marrying someone in your religion supposed to be about a stronger, spiritual connection, as opposed to a meager ethnic connection?

You see, my parents’ problem stems from their innate bias towards non-South Asians, even non-Bengalis. Generally speaking, Muslims, especially those of South Asian, Arab, and Persian descent, are going to say that they’re not racist. Most people aren’t blatantly discriminatory. Even so, most Muslims don’t even think they intend on being discriminatory towards another group of people. However, we all have a subconscious bias that’s been wrought upon us from the imperialistic and patriarchal notions of the past.

There is a hidden racism that exists in our Islamic communities that’s not being addressed. The aforementioned personal example is just one of the many ways it creeps upon us in unexpected ways.

You can’t even deny it. You’ve heard that auntie say something overtly racist after hearing something in the news about an unfortunate (usually African-American or Latin) individual. You might’ve noticed how there’s considerable news coverage of the systemic racism against Muslims on white Arabs, while we fail to talk about the equally insidious plight of Muslim ethnic minorities. For example, if you’re reading this magazine right now, you’ve heard about the ghastly murders of Deah, Yusor, and Razan, but you probably didn’t hear about Abdisamad, the Somali teen who got run over by a car in a hate crime, nor did you hear about the other innumerable acts of violence committed upon Muslim people of color, especially those who are African or African-American, in the U.S. and in Europe that week.

Why would you, though? Our media is a reflection of us. We have a veiled bias towards our Muslim brothers and sisters of color, especially those who are African, African-American, or Latin. We see racial hierarchies at masjids, our holy places of worship. One race will dominate the workings of the Islamic community in certain areas. In your area, it could be Arabs, Persians, Pakistanis, Bengalis, Nigerains, or any other ethnicity. There’s an unspoken rule in our Ummah that whoever donates the most money to a masjid or an Islamic center, those people get to reap and keep the benefits of having that community all to themselves.

Again, let me remind everyone that racism in Islam isn’t always blatantly in front of us, but it exists and it has to be eliminated. Depending on where we look at, it’s not just one group as the oppressors and the others as the oppressed. The same ethnic groups that appear as oppressors are also part of the oppressed in other parts of the world. We see a hierarchy approach in the Muslim community, with South Asians and Arabs generally retaining dominance. However, in places like the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, South Asians are regularly discriminated against and taken advantage of. So, the issue of solving the underlying racism in Islam isn’t just for the benefit of one race, it’s for the advancement of everybody.

I know it comes as a shock to some people who would’ve never thought they, the people at their masjid, or even their Islamic community could have racial biases. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but one that must be addressed more often in our congregations all over the world. The first place to start is to address it and admit to it straight up. Even though I try to be as impartial to everyone that I meet as I possibly can, but there will still be a bias lurking. The second step would be to teach ourselves and future generations of Muslims about the destructiveness of stereotypes and chauvinism. Then, I feel that it would be necessary to remove the man-made concept of race and replace it with genetic origin, which is less divisive than the latter term. Understanding racism and bigotry are important steps to forget the imperialistic past that many Muslim cultures have had to endure. It’s a way to heal the wounds left by our forefathers and to hope for a more enlightened, accepting, and open world for the future.

Editor’s note: the writer’s views are her own.

Two Murdered Women

By Walid El Hourican

* Neda and Marwa: One becomes an icon, the other is unmentioned

2009-07-17T180457Z_01_BER104_RTRMDNP_3_GERMANY

A girl holds a picture of murdered Marwa El-Sherbiny during a memorial in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin July 17, 2009.

REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

On June 20th 2009, Neda Agha Soltan was shot dead during the post-election protests in Iran. The protests occupied the largest news segments around the world, with analysts and commentators predicting the fall of the Iranian regime and the dawn of freedom breaking in “the axis of evil.”

Neda’s death became an icon of the Iranian opposition and a symbol for millions of people of the injustice of the Iranian regime and the defiance of the protesters. Neda’s death was put in context. It was taken from the personal realm of the death of an individual to the public realm of the just cause of a whole society.

On July 1st Marwa El Sherbini, an Egyptian researcher living in Germany, was stabbed to death 18 times inside a courtroom in the city of Dresden, in front of her 3-year-old son. She had won a verdict against a German man of Russian descent who had verbally assaulted her because of her veil. Her husband, who rushed in to save her when she was attacked in the courtroom, was shot by the police. Marwa’s death was not reported by any Western news media until protests in Egypt erupted after her burial. The reporting that followed focused on the protests; the murder was presented as the act of a “lone wolf,” thus depriving it of its context and its social meaning.

The fact that media are biased and choose what to report according to their own agenda is not the issue in this case. What the comparison of the two murders shows, is that European and Western societies have failed to grasp the significance and the importance of the second murder in its social, political, and historical context.

The “lone wolf” who stabbed Marwa 18 times inside the courtroom is the product of the society he lives in. If anything, the murder of Marwa should raise the discussion about the latent (perhaps not so latent anymore) racism against Muslims that has been growing in European societies in the last few decades, and noticeably so since the mid-90s.

It would be difficult to avoid relating the crime to the discussions about the banning of the Niqab, or the previous discussions about the wearing of the veil. These issues and others pertaining to the Muslim immigration in Europe have been occupying large parts of the public debates in several European countries. It would also be difficult not to notice the rapid rise of right wing populist parties to power in several European countries in the last decade, all of which have built their discourse on the fear of Islam and the “immigration problem.”

The absence of reporting, or adequate reporting of the murder, and the alarm bells that did not ring after this murder, reflect the denial in which European societies and public discourse are immersed.

While Europe preaches freedom of expression and the need to accept otherness, and while Europe preaches about the dangers of racism and sectarianism in third world countries, and while Europe warns about hate speech and anti-Semitism, we see race-driven crime, prejudice, and hate speech gaining both legitimacy and power in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Denmark and other democracies in the old continent. Race-driven crimes are constantly presented as exceptions within a tolerant society. However, the recurrence of exceptions puts in question their exceptional nature.

The absence of Marwa’s story from the mainstream media and the failure to start a debate about the immediate dangers of present European anti-Muslim racism shows the depth of the problem and draws us to expect a gl oomy future for Muslims in Europe. Muslims like Neda only get to the news if their story serves the dominant narrative that presents Islam as the primary threat to freedom, while Muslims like Marwa who expose the pervasive racism of the West and challenge the existing stereotypes fail to get their story told.

What is significant to note is that in Neda’s case the media accused the Iranian regime as the authority responsible for the context in which the crime was committed rather than looking for the person who actually shot her. The accused is the establishment or the institution rather than the individual shooter. However, in the case of Marwa’s murder the media were persistent in stressing on the individuality of the murderer, calling him a “lone wolf”, implying that he is a social outcast who holds no ties to the society he lives in. The murderer was given a name “Alex W.” and the institution, the society, and the establishment he lives in were taken away from the picture.

While Neda’s death enjoyed wide arrays of interpretations and readings in context, Marwa’s death was deprived of its context and was presented as a personal tragedy, featuring a madman and his victim. Meanwhile Europe keeps shifting to the right at an accelerating pace, and cultural stereotypes, failure to integrate (read: social and political alienation), miscommunication, and a growing financial crisis only nourish this trajectory and support the populist and chauvinistic discourse of various newborn and resurrected right wing parties.

In the 1930s, following the big economical crisis of the 1920s, a young populist right wing party suddenly rose to power in Germany and few predicted what was to follow. There is no realistic proof to say that Europe is a more tolerant society than any other, or to say that people necessarily learn from their history, or even that some societies are exempt from racist behavior. All the evidence points to the end of the European myth of post-war tolerance; and the media have yet to connect the dots before history repeats itself.

— Walid El Hourican be reached at: walid@menassat.com. This article appeared in CounterPunch.org.