Arsalan Iftikhar is the author of Scapegoats: How Islamophobia Helps Our Enemies and Threatens Our Freedoms. From the transcript of his interview with NPR's Michel Martin:
MARTIN: Now I want to talk about the second part of the title of the book, though, which is that it helps our enemies and threatens our freedoms. That's what you say islamophobia does. I mean, the premise of your book is that there is a broader, corrosive effect on the society if that mentality is maintained. Tell me why you think that.--Marshal Zeringue
IFTIKHAR: Well, because as I look at American history, right? Because even though the fill-in-the-blanks is Muslims today, tomorrow it could be anyone else. I mean, when the USA Patriot Act came out in 2001, you know, this was a 348-page document that trumped 50 federal laws. And it wasn't just targeted at brown Muslims who were suspected of terrorism. This allows the federal government to come in and, without a warrant, get all of your information without even notifying you, going to college registrars, getting all their information. I mean, it affects everybody.
You know, political rhetoric leads to laws. And that's important to keep in mind, is that again, you know, the internment camps of World War II didn't come out of a vacuum. You had people - President Roosevelt's general, who was the head of Pacific Command, James DeWitt, was quoted in Congress as saying once a Jap, always a Jap. I mean, this sort of anti-Japanese rhetoric was actually what led to the internment camps.
And that's the thing, is that, you know, we can't just see this as, you know, ha ha, this is just kind of silly political rhetoric that's coming out. This could - you know, if somebody - if Donald Trump comes out tomorrow and says, you know, we should put Muslims in internment camps - well, you know, we've had them in the past. Who's to say that...[read on]