Muslims decide to hitch their narcissistic pity party wagon to the Japanese experience in America following Pearl Harbor.
California Watch – When Rascha Anayah first heard about a program to bring together Japanese American and Muslim high-school students, she thought “weird.” But in a good way. “You never hear about Japanese and Muslim people getting together and talking,” said the 16-year-old Palestinian-American from Danville. “It’s weird, it’s different.”
The Bridging Communities program was created three years ago by the Los Angeles chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League out of concern that Muslims were struggling with some of the same burdens Japanese faced in the years after the Pearl Harbor bombing. (In that case, we need to put ALL the Muslims into internment camps)
Funded by a $150,000 grant from the National Park Service, the project is co-run with the Council on American Islamic Relations (why am I not surprised?) and the Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress.
While organizers acknowledge the Japanese experience during WWII – when more than 100,000 were forced into camps – was much more intense than what Muslims have faced in a post-9/11 world, they say there are similarities in the fear and
suspicion aimed at a specific group during wartime.
“Following 9/11, all three (organizing) groups noticed a parallel between how Japanese Americans were treated after World War II and how American Muslims were treated after 9/11,” said Alex Margolin, a program associate with the Japanese American Citizens League in LA.
After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, the U.S. government ordered all ethnic Japanese on the West Coast interned in camps. Most were American citizens and many lost their property in the process. (Name one muslim who has lost property since 9/11)
About 70 students are currently enrolled in Bridging Communities classes in LA, San Francisco and Seattle, Margolin said. While relatively small, the existence of such a program speaks to the bond that has developed between Japanese Americans and Muslims, especially in California, since 9/11.
As Muslims increasingly feel they are the target of suspicion (Gee, I wonder if
that’s because they keep getting caught in plots to kill Americans?)– a presenter from the Council on American Islamic Relations told students at a recent meeting that the running joke among Bay Area Muslims is “Am I really Muslim enough if I haven’t been visited by the FBI?” (Apparently not, better start visiting jihadi websites like your friends)– Japanese American groups have rushed to their defense.
The Japanese American Citizens League was also among the first to issue a statement warning against intolerance toward Muslims immediately after the World Trade Center attacks, said Patty Wada, the league’s regional director.(And rightly so considering Muslims have been behind dozens of other attacks and potential attacks. Fort Hood ring a bell? Times Square bomber? Chistmas Day panty bomber, among others? No, Muslims are not like the Japanese in this country, nothing like them at all)
Wada said many Japanese Americans, especially those who lived through internment, feel a sense of déjà vu as they see the animosity often directed at Muslims today. (I’m still waiting for us to open the camps for muslims)
“You’d hope that we’d be a little more enlightened and that we would have learned,” Wada said. “It’s sad and disappointing. The mentality just keeps repeating itself.” (No, it’s the terrorism that keeps repeating itself)
Hiroshi Shimizu, president of the league’s Bay Area chapter, agrees. Shimizu said he sees flickers of the xenophobic sentiment that imprisoned his parents.(Yet only the Muslim terrorists are in prison now)
“In many ways, it’s so parallel,” he said. “It shows up on the fringes,” he said. “We have to really take notice and defend against that. Once it starts, if you don’t oppose it, some little crazy spark might drive it bigger.” (That’s right, a little spark like the one that took down the Town Towers)