“Those Who Are Targeted Know What the State’s Agenda Has Been”

Janine Jackson: Anti-Muslim hatred, assaults, intimidation, vandalism have increased in this country since September 11, 2001, with investigation dishearteningly suggesting the sharpest spikes have been since 2015.

Media play a role. New research illustrates what we already knew, that attacks labeled “terrorist” get volumes more coverage—one new study says 357 percent more coverage—when the assailant can be connected with Islam.

It’s hard now to even measure what has been lost and willfully surrendered in the so-called “War on Terror.” One way is to look at Guantánamo Bay, where hundreds of Muslim men and boys were held and dozens remain, subject to torture, most never even charged with a crime.

Just as Guantánamo is not just a prison but a representation of state violence and lawlessness, sometimes an incident, as one reported recently by our next guest, can represent the intersecting layers of injustice that make up Islamophobia. Maha Hilal is co-director of Justice for Muslims Collective and an organizer with Witness Against Torture. She joins us now by phone from Arlington. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Maha Hilal.

Maha Hilal: Thank you so much, Janine.

I would just ask you, if you would, to tell the story of July 11, when you went to the US District Court in DC. Why were you there, first of all, and what happened?

Yes, so I went to the court on the morning of July 11, intending to hear the oral arguments in Al Bihani v. Trump, a case that’s based on the indefinite detention of 11 prisoners in Guantánamo Bay. And as you know, and probably as many of your viewers know, there has been very little justice for prisoners of Guantánamo, particularly those who have remained in detention for over a decade now. So I was…

Read more