As we're all aware, the American media has a new favorite word to describe what's wrong with their favorite targets of derision, the American people, that word being "Islamophobia", that is, "the fear of encountering someone who spontaneously yells 'Allah Akbar!' and takes you with him to a violent and fiery demise".
While we can certainly debate just how real and pervasive Islamophobia is in this country, let's accept for the purpose of discussion the premise that Islamophobia is on the upswing in this country and ask the next obvious question: Why is this happening?
The media will, of course, lay blame on its usual favorite suspects: Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Andrew Breitbart and whoever else in the conservative movement is currently annoying them. But I would submit that the media is overlooking the prime contributor to this new American mood: the one they'd see if they bothered to look in the mirror.
Ever since 9/11, what has the media told us about Muslims over and over again? That you have to be really, really careful what you say about them, because any perceived slight is liable to throw them into a violent rage, quite possibly ending in people getting killed.
Every act of Muslim violence, the media tells us again and again, was provoked by someone else's actions, which themselves were almost always non-violent in nature. Whether it's a suicide bomb in a public space, or a public beheading, or the 9/11 attacks themselves, an excuse is always found for it. We're always told that it happened because something "set them off".
And even now, any action someone might take, like sketching Mohammed or asking that a mosque not be erected two blocks from Ground Zero, is cast as being liable to send Muslims around the world into yet another violent rage that will end in bloodshed.
In short, for the past nine years, even casual followers of the American media have been fed a steady diet of opinion to the effect that every single Muslim is a walking powderkeg just waiting to explode at the slightest, unintentional provocation.
And then the same media wonders out loud why people seem to be afraid.