Islamophobia, defined as the irrational fear and distrust of Islam and Muslims, has been on the rise in recent years, facilitated by a small cottage industry of professional propagandists (See the Center for American Progress’s excellent publication, Fear Inc.).  Islamophobia threatens the soul of America by undermining America’s promise of freedom of religion.  American Muslims are part of the fabric of our country and contribute greatly to its richness.  Prejudice and bigotry against Muslims leads to discrimination in the workplace and schools, exclusion from mainstream civic and political life and finally hate crimes.   We believe that progressives and the Democratic Party must serve as a counterweight to these forces.