Speaking of the bigotry that Americans of Arab and Muslim have had to endure since 9/11, on my way to work I passed by the Connecticut Avenue international-magazine shop where I like to kill time. The proprietors display the latest titles, usually a mix of inscrutable European fashion glossies and specialist trades — Christina Ricci’s face against a mess of Italian hyperventilation beside Shotgun Enthusiast, etc. — and today was no exception. Except.

In the window was the Summer issue of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History (which is apparently not online). Summer’s cover is about the 1683 battle for Vienna, in which an Army raised and led by King Sobieski of Poland repulsed the Ottoman Empire. All fine — that’s the sort of thing that one should read about in MHQ. The coverline, however, is another story. Celebrating Sobieski, it spreads across the glossy front page the words MUSLIM SLAYER.

Now, if I were walking to work and saw an issue of, say, Technical Mujahid (it’s a real magazine) celebrating, say, Imad Mugniyeh as JEW SLAYER, I’d be pretty fucking agitated. Were I a Christian and saw — sorry, I can’t think of any killers of Christians-qua-Christians right now, but if I saw a magazine that ran the line CHRISTIAN SLAYER, I wouldn’t just be upset, I’d take comfort in the inevitability of a massive Christian backlash, with Fox News anchors holding up the issue as if it heralded the collapse of civilization. Same thing with JEW SLAYER — Professional Jewry would not be having that, and all to the good. Yet you can print this kind of casual two-minutes-hate about Muslims in America with no fear of popular or market-driven reprisal.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

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