"I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims… Ever since 2001 when they put down the Twin Towers, I've been beating them up."Muslim-Americans, as well as Hindus, Sikhs and others who purportedly "look Muslim" have been humiliated,assaulted and in many cases murdered by individuals often galvanised to violence by politicians and media figures who have enthusiastically engaged in public hatemongering against the Muslim community in the country.
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Leading figures in this movement such as Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer have led a crusade to vilify Muslims throughout the country and to exclude them from public life through campaigns of smears and hate-mongering which have cast Muslim-Americans as an insidious fifth column within the country.
Their views have gotten considerable popular attention, and thanks to a documented network of funders and media associates they have managed to bring their message to people across the United States.
In the past few months, a major controversy erupted when Geller's anti-Muslim organisation sponsored the placement of Islamophobic advertisements at major subway stations in New York as well as in other cities across the country.
Some advertisements depicted pictures of the 9/11 attacks with verses from the Quran superimposed, while others called Muslims "savages" and implored people to "fight Jihad". While the campaign has been challenged by many liberal commentators, including one infamous incident in which Egyptian-American activist Mona Eltahawy was arrested for attempting to cover a sign with pink spray paint, they continue to run across the country and to spread a message of indiscriminate, vitriolic hatred towards Muslim-Americans in a manner unlikely to be tolerated were it to pertain to any other minority group.
While correlation does not necessarily imply causation, the question must be asked - what effect do advertisements such as these have on the psyches' of people such as Erika Menendez? Was Sunando Sen, a law-abiding, hardworking immigrant who had given his life to achieving the American dream and who was pushed to his death by a woman who "hated Muslims" a direct victim of this campaign of bigotry? That he lost his life on the same subway system which for months has played host to hateful, incendiary advertisements such as Geller's is a tragic irony but is in many ways the natural result of a national culture of anti-Muslim bigotry that has become mainstream in both politics and popular culture.
The sad, inescapable truth is that Sen will likely not be the last victim of the accelerating phenomena of violence against Muslims in the United States - the only question today is how far into the darkness America must travel before it decides to take a stand against it.