Maha Hilal on Innocent Until Proven Muslim

This week on CounterSpin: New Yorkers who were here 22 years ago remember the proliferation of signs and stickers reading “our grief is not a cry for war”—and then the way that voice was shouted over by corporate news media, calling for war crimes with US flags on their lapels. Hosting old general after old general, as peace and human rights activists and the overall public begged for an answer to violence that wasn’t just more violence, for a conversation that would allow us to see one another as human beings.

Pretend-neutral news media have done crucial work in selling Islamophobia, in weaponizing centuries of misinformation and demonization for wartime purposes, with the war being the undefined, unending “war on terror.” Media’s job has involved lying to us about many things—but, crucially, about what we believed, what we were capable of, and what we wanted to see as the way forward. Key to that campaign has been the idea that Muslims are the enemy—violent, dangerous, irrational—if not now, soon; if not your friend, his friend.

September 11, 2001, is the exemplar of a past that isn’t dead, or even past, and for no one more particularly than Muslims. We talk about that with Maha Hilal, author of the book Innocent Until Proven Muslim: Islamophobia, the War on Terror and the Muslim Experience Since 9/11.

Plus Janine Jackson takes a quick look at recent press coverage of Ukraine, the UAW strike and Biden’s trip to Vietnam.

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