"Islamophobia" is one of the most vapid and overused words in the multiculturalist lexicon, and it's intended to stifle critiques of Islam by portraying those who make them as anti-Muslim bigots. It's a bullying tactic meant to cow people into toeing the line that Islam can never have anything to do with religiously-motivated violence. We must never be intimidated by this tactic, and must advocate for the right of people to criticize, satirize, question, and mock religion, including religious figures such as the "prophet" Muhammad.
Many Muslims do not agree with my take, which is fine up to a point. They are obviously more than welcome to express their dismay at such developments. But the moment they or any other religious people attempt to impose their fable-based worldview on others is when we should grow worried.
It appears, however, that forcing a religious code on others was not on the agenda of Saturday's Stand with the Prophet In Honor & Respect conference in Garland, Texas. Decrying an alleged plot "to attack our Prophet and Islam," the conference's website says the group is "focused on building the Strategic Communication Center that will Inshallah [god willing] lead the effort against Islamophobia by keeping our neighbors as friends and young Muslims as strong Muslims and healthy citizens." As one attendee noted in the KSAX report below, “We’re not here to fight, we’re not here to argue. We’re just here to show that we’re Americans too.”
Unfortunately, these benign statements were insufficient to allay the fears of jingoistic protesters who picketed the event:
Protesters held signs reading, “You are not Americans. Don’t fly our flag,” "Go home and take Obama with you," and "Stand for Jesus," among others. One protester said, “We’re here to stand up for the American way of life from a faction of people who are trying to destroy us,” adding, "If they want to live their life like the Middle East, they can go back to the Middle East.”
These people -- not Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris or Bill Maher -- are the anti-Muslim bigots. They are people who don't consider American Muslims to be American They are people who tell Muslims to go back to the Middle East without having any idea where those Muslims are actually from. They are people who are bothered by the mere idea of Muslims exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. They are people who would and do seek to impose their own backward Abrahamic worldview on their fellow denizens.
To the critics of the critics of Islam, please do remember the difference between the frothy-mouthed rantings of these protesters and those who issue reasonable critiques of a faith that was created 1,400 years ago entirely on the say-so of an illiterate merchant who married a six-year old and said he rode a winged horse.