Nathan Lean, the Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims (Book Review)

Book review

Nathan Lean, the Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims, Pluto Press (2012)

by Elias Davidsson, 12 October 2016

The book represents genuine efforts by the author to expose the racist nature of Islamophobia, particularly as it affects the United States, and the main promoters of such racist propaganda. He focuses on what could be termed the lunatic fringe of US Islamophobia, i.e. on individuals and outfits whose main agenda is to incite the population against Muslims and Islam. His book provides very useful, und largely unknown, details about this coterie, including on the nexus between this lunatic fringe and mainstream media and politics. Largely due to this focus, the author ignores institutional and less blatant efforts that induce popular  distrust towards Muslims and Islam.  In his study of Islamophobia, the author hardly mentions the decades-long demonization of Arabs by Hollywood.

The author describes in some detail FBI-led stings in Muslim communities, which understandably created a lack of trust among Muslims towards law-enforcement authorities. Unfortunately, the author erroneously designates these FBI efforts as efforts to merely “monitor” these communities.  In fact, most FBI stings consist of actively nurturing extremism and inducing terrorist plots by vulnerable Muslims. Trevor Aaronson’s book, The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism, presents conclusive details about such FBI policy. Ignoring such important evidence about FBI efforts to manufacture terrorism does not speak favorably about the author’s scholarship.

The author downplays the public impact of the official Global War on Terror, which is largely understood and presented as an “Islamic terrorist threat”.  When governments and mainstream media harp on a particular threat, their message has far greater impact on public opinion than hysterical rantings by Zionist zealots.  By focusing on the lunatic fringe, the author unwittingly paints a distorted reality.

Apart from a number of minor errors that do not affect the author’s tenor but tar his scholarly rigor (see below), his book suffers from two major factual errors, that lead the author to false conclusions about the purpose of Islamophobia:

First, the author claims that Muslim terrorists carried out the mass-murders of 9/11, and in Madrid and London (pp. 3, 17-18, 38-39, 41, 63). Such claims are baseless. There is no evidence whatsoever that these mass-murders were carried out by Muslims. Available evidence supports far better the presumption that the US government, or more specifically, the Pentagon, planned and carried out 9/11 and that the events in Madrid and London were similarly covert state operations. The present book review does not permit even a short substantiation of this argument. Those who are interested in reviewing the arguments are invited to consult my study “Hijacking America’s Mind on 9/11”, also available on Amazon. It contains all necessary facts – richly annotated – that allow the definite dismissal of the official legend on 9/11.

Second, the author claims that Osama bin Laden was “the villainous mastermind of 9/11” (p. 9). There is no evidence either for this claim, notwithstanding his reference to a statement allegedly made by bin Laden, in which he allegedly claimed responsibility. In any case,  the FBI was not convinced by such statements, as it refrained from accusing Bin Laden for 9/11 (see FBI’s own poster on Osama bin Laden on FBI’s website). Asked why the FBI has not accused Bin Laden for 9/11, FBI’s spokesperson Rex Tomb said in June 2006, that the FBI has no hard evidence to link him to the mass-murder. Anyone interested in that issue, can simply google these names and terms and verify what I am writing.

Relying on a flawed factual base, it is not surprising that the author wrote: “[I]t must have felt quite natural and right after September 11, 2001 to ask uncomfortable questions about Islam.” Natural? The preoccupation with Islam was not at all natural: It was not prompted by personal experience but induced by unverified media accounts. Far more surprising is, that no journalist asked the following uncomfortable questions: “Why has no one been allowed to see the authentic passenger lists of the four aircraft that were allegedly hijacked on 9/11?  Who saw the alleged hijackers board these planes?  Why did the FBI refuse to forensically identify the wreckage of the allegedly crashed planes? Why did the White House oppose a public investigation of 9/11?  Why has no person, including those interned in Guantánamo, been charged and prosecuted for planning, financing, coordinating or participating in 9/11?

These blind spots undermine the implicit thesis of the author, namely that Islamophobia is essentially the work of a fringe cabal of Zionist Islam-haters. The truth is that Islamophobia is part and parcel of the institutional Global War On Terror needed to keep the military-industrial complex churning profits, to justify wars of aggression and the military occupation of African countries, and to establish a national security state within the United States. Islamophobia in today’s world serves a similar purpose as antisemitism was by the Nazi regime: To serve the interests of the ruling wealthy elite and pit ordinary people against each other.

I recommend this book for those who wish to know more about the professional Islam-bashers of the United States (although the coverage of this scene is by far not comprehensive). For those who wish to understand the political agenda of Islamophobia, its strategical role for US imperialism and to the role played by government-manufactured “Islamic terrorism”, the book will be of little value.

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