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Mark Zuckerberg's statement in support of American Muslims shows how Islamophobic politics may fail

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg came out with a strong statement today "in support of Muslims in our community and around the world." In a sense, it's clearly prompted by Donald Trump's recent call to ban all Muslim immigration into the United States. But importantly, Zuckerberg doesn't mention Trump by name or limit his remarks to the specifics of Trump's proposal. After all, America's rising tide of Islamophobia goes well beyond Trump.

Instead, Zuckerberg situates himself in the general context that "[a]fter the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others."

I want to add my voice in support of Muslims in our community and around the world.After the Paris attacks and hate...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, December 9, 2015

In terms of understanding the broader political situation, Zuckerberg's reference to his Jewish background is significant. I'm also Jewish, and that resonates with me. And that's also been true in the larger Jewish community, where not only has the Anti-Defamation League denounced Trump but the US Holocaust Museum has also come out with strong statements in defense of Syrian refugees.

The question of to what extent Islamophobic politics succeeds in an increasingly diverse America (white Christians are no longer a majority) is ultimately going to come down to how many members of other non-Muslim minority groups end up seeing this the way Zuckerberg (and the New York Daily News) does — seeing themselves as potential future victims of the demagogic tide rather than privileged to be exempted from the panic of the moment.

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