Time and time again, polls and surveys have found that the majority of Americans have unfavorable views of Islam. Consider the following: 1) Muslims are viewed by the majority of Americans with suspicion; 2) Islamophobes claim that sharia, or Islamic law, is about to supersede the Constitution; and 3) President-elect Donald Trump has called for a total ban on Muslim immigration and has even suggested a “Muslim registry” for those who identify themselves with the Islamic faith.
This kind of religious intolerance is nothing new if we consider the history of “Catholicophobia” in the United States. Matt Pearce of the Los Angeles Times reveals the extent of anti-Catholic sentiments. I quote Lopez’s summary of this article: “… there was a real fear among Protestant Americans back then that Catholics were planning to take over the country. As Pearce reported, the fears led to serious violence: Lynch mobs killed Catholic Italians, arsonists burned down Catholic churches, and there were anti-Catholic riots. It was a similar sentiment to the kind of Islamophobia today that’s led many Americans to call for shutting down mosques, forcing Muslims to register in a national database, and even banning Islam.”
When Catholics launch diatribes against Islam and Muslims, they show a complete lack of historical awareness. The same prejudice shown today towards Muslims was shown to Catholics a century ago.