Islamophobia is spreading like wildfire around the country ever since the Paris terrorist attacks, at least according to Chuck Todd and his Meet the Press panel on NBC Sunday.
Arsalan Iftikhar, senior editor at The Islamic Monthly and currently writing a book on Islamophobia in America, was asked by Todd, "How tough has it been to be a Muslim-American this week?" Spurring Iftikhar to labor through a short, non-detailed list of instances, including two mosque "attacks," "two or three" Southwest flights where Muslims were pulled off just for being Muslim, and some loon in Florida who was arrested by the FBI for saying he was going to shoot and kill every Muslim child he sees.
"And so, it's pretty much been par for the course since September 11th," Iftikhar added.
He then said a recent poll was conducted with Iowa Republicans that showed 33% -- a minority, mind you -- of them believe Islam should be illegal in America.
Todd wanted to know, "How do we change this?" -- in light of 56% of Americans who see Islam as not matching American values.
The Washington Post's Kathleen Parker had an idea: "Re-education camps," she said laughing. "For adult Americans," she added, with more laughter.
According to Newsbusters, Ron Fournier of National Journal helped Iftikhar take the issue one step further by throwing him a why-don't-you-add-a-little-racism-softball to the Islamophobia mix:
[Y]ou asked on your Twitter feed, I think just yesterday, why is it that so many people put the French flag in their avatar, but very few people put the flag of an African – Mali in their Twitter feed?... Why do you think so few people have rallied behind Mali in that public of a way?
Iftikhar responded, "I mean, I think that race has a lot to do with it. I mean, you have a black predominantly Muslim country in Mali, which is 92% Muslim and then you have a white European country like France.”
But what took the cake was Iftikhar's belief that the Republican "politics of fear" will inevitably lead straight to Muslim imprisonment camps:
I wonder if this forum will take place in, you know, these American-Muslim internment camps which I'm sure is going to be the next step in the rhetoric. And I hope you all come visit me in these internment camps because it's getting absurd.
That is indeed absurd, Iftikhar. On that we agree.