Archive for the Anti-Loons Category

Kamal Saleem Says U.S. Generals Pledged to ‘Destroy the United States’ and Obama Will ‘Legalize Terrorism’

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2012 by loonwatch

More from the looniverse of the fake ex-terrorist Kamal Saleem. Have a good laugh:

Kamal Saleem Says U.S. Generals Pledged to ‘Destroy the United States’ and Obama Will ‘Legalize Terrorism’

RIGHT WING WATCH

Kamal Saleem spoke to Janet Parshall yesterday where the phony “ex-terrorist” alleged that radical Muslims are going to “penetrate” every sphere of American society and that there are even United States generals who are secretly trying to “destroy” the country from within:

Saleem: From military, infrastructure to the church and synagogues, also to the banking and the education system, and also to pharmaceutical and medical, every level that there is that they were going to go ahead and penetrate and so far they were able to penetrate every level. Unfortunately, this government has not stopped them from advancing forward, but helped them advance forward to overcome many things. Now there are many generals who swore to destroy the United States of America are generals in the United States.

Seeing that Saleem works frequently with former General and anti-Muslim activist Jerry Boykin, it would be nice of Saleem to offer Boykin and the public at large the names of generals who “swore to destroy the United States.”

Later, Saleem talked to Parshall about his life story. Saleem has implausibly claimed to have worked for the Muslim Brotherhood in Lebanon, the Syrian government, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Libyan government (even dined with Gaddafi!), Saudi Arabia and terrorists in Tora Bora.

He told Parshall that before going to Tora Bora he worked in Europe in the “culture jihad,” and after training terrorists there he came to America to diminish the conservative Bible Belt’s political and cultural clout!

Saleem also claimed 450,000 illegal immigrants came to America in 2010 to wait for Obama to “legalize terrorism,” even though the border control said the year had exceptionally low rates of crossings.

He insisted that if state legislatures don’t pass laws banning Sharia law then the United Nations throughResolution 16/18, which reaffirms “freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression” and opposes religious discrimination, will force the church to “go underground.” Then after the church isn’t allowed to write their own sermons or canonize priests, Saleem claims, “our country will become Islamist by default because only Islam can fight back” against the United Nations, or something:

Saleem: This is what’s happening in America right now, the invasion of the United States of America is happening through the borders where in 2010 over 450,000 illegals crossed through Mexican borders and these guys are waiting for amnesty to be citizens as soon as our President changes the immigration law and are granted amnesty, legalizing terrorism will be just the first cut in the United States of America.

Parshall: Wow. So now we’ve got you in the European continent and eventually you make your way to the United States, correct?

Saleem: That’s correct. My last battle was in Tora Bora and from Tora Bora I came to the United States of America and we were in the northern sector, the American people are weaker over there and they are not as the Bible Belt area, they are not as strong. So our stronghold was in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, all that region over there, and from there I was sent specifically to the Bible Belt because they asked us to take on this because in order to bring the American culture down we have to overthrow their weight of voting, of power, of everything so we have to penetrate the area and bring about the light of Islam so we can change that culture and change the future of the United States from that area.

Parshall: Wow.

Saleem: If this [anti-Sharia law] bill does not pass and Americans do not support it then UN Resolution 16/18 will take place and that is the hate crime bill which is the American people, simply, the church cannot talk about their belief anymore, the church will have to go underground and they will have to submit their sermon and what so have you, and we are fighting on both area to disable the Islamists from taking over. That’s why the Catholic Church is fighting so hard because how they canonize their priests and what so have you, this will disable them from doing all this, and now our country will become Islamist by default because only Islam can fight back.

Parshall: Wow.

Church shows support for Murfreesboro Islamic Center

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on June 4, 2012 by loonwatch

Those who seek peace, harmony and co-existence will overcome the voices of hate and bigotry, especially when members of different faiths and perspectives gather together and lend each other a hand.

(via. IslamophobiaToday.com)

Church shows support for Murfreesboro Islamic Center

Christian and Muslim leaders came together to support the Murfreesboro Islamic community and imam Ossama Bahloul Sunday afternoon at The Village Church in East Nashville. “We just really wanted to reach out to him and to let him know that we cared about his community and him and that we would be praying with them,” said Dr. Andrew Anyabwile, Village Church pastor.

On Tuesday, a Rutherford County judge nullified the permit to build a multimillion dollar Islamic center in Murfreesboro after ruling that not enough public notice was given before a planning commission meeting where the construction was approved.

“It seems like the Muslim community being singled out in this because we did follow the exact process of everyone else,” said Ossama Bahloul, the Murfreesboro Islamic center imam. “If we respect our constitution, then we’ll have no choice but to support each other because the freedom of religion is the core of our constitution.”

While the congregation at the Village Church had a very vocal support for the imam’s words, the Murfreesboro Islamic center still has plenty of opponents. “If they’re this peaceful, loving religion, that they claim they are, they need to abide by the laws that all of us have to,” said attorney Joe Brandon, who has been representing clients that oppose the construction of the Islamic center.

Brandon has voiced several controversial claims like the stance that Islam was not an actual religion, and the group is out to spread Sharia law. “Sharia law provides that their law dominates the law of Tennessee, the laws of all 50 states, the law of the U.S. constitution,” Brandon said.

“It seems like this is a small group with a very vocal voice against the freedom of religion in Murfreesboro,” Bahloul said. “But I am really optimistic because I know that what’s right will prevail by the end.” Bahloul said he hopes the Islamic center will open in July to celebrate the month of Ramadan.

WZTV, 4 June 2012

See also “Murfreesboro mosque ruling stirs confusion”, The Tennessean, 3 June 2012

Nathan Lean: The Islamophobia Industry Strikes in Kansas

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on June 2, 2012 by loonwatch

Our friend Nathan Lean recently wrote on the Islamophobia network’s efforts in Kansas.

(Nathan also has a new book out, ‘The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims.’ Check it out!)

The Islamophobia Industry Strikes in Kansas

by Nathan Lean (Huffington Post)

Just like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Republican Governor Sam Brownback had a feeling he was not in Kansas anymore. At least not the Kansas that he once knew. His Sunflower State was teeming with unfamiliar creatures and though not tin-men or scarecrows or wicked witches, they were nonetheless outsiders and were apparently so unsettling that a law was required to prevent their influence: They were Muslims.

Last Friday, Brownback signed a bill prohibiting local courts from relying on sharia, or Islamic law, as well as other non-U.S. laws when making decisions. The fact that such a thing had never occurred in the Midwestern wheat capital did not matter. The bill was approved in a landslide vote: 33-1 in the Senate and 120-0 in the House.

Like other similar bills in 20 states, including recently enacted laws in Arizona, Louisiana and Tennessee, the blueprint for the controversial Kansas legislation comes from a familiar and influential source: a growing right-wing network of anti-Muslim fear mongers. They are the Islamophobia industry and laws such as this are hallmark achievements in their quest to frighten the American population about a minority group they view with great suspicion and scorn.

The deluge of anti-Muslim legislation that has unnecessarily clogged the corridors of power (and the minds of otherwise rational politicians) can be traced back to David Yerushalmi, a 57-year-old Hasidic Jew with a library’s worth of controversial statements about African Americans, fellow Jews and immigrants. A shadow agent of this fear industry, Yerushalmi has worked behind the scenes since 2001 to ratchet up an image of Islam and Muslims that is heavy on sensationalism and gore and short on context and fact. It was his organization, the Society of Americans for National Existence (with the ironic acronym SANE) that once suggested that the U.S government should declare a war on the Muslim community, that Muslims should not be granted entry visas to the U.S., and that practicing Islam should be a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The Kansas law, and the majority of the bills that were brought before state congresses, are based on a single piece of blueprint legislation crafted by Yerushalmi titled “American Laws for American Courts.” Along with former Reagan official Frank Gaffney, who is famous for suggesting that Barack Obama is a secret member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yerushalmi marketed the plan to lawmakers throughout the country, tapping into Tea Party bases and Republican activist groups such as ACT For America that welcomed the opportunity to institutionalize discrimination in their respective states.

In drumming up support for Kansas’s ban, bloggers Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller spread the word to their online bases through “Action Alerts” that warned of “Islamic supremacists” who were “seeking to impose the Sharia on non-Muslims.” They urged their supporters to “flood [Brownback’s] Twitter” and “jam his phones” with strong support for the bill.

Spencer and Geller co-founded Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) in 2010, an American offshoot of Stop the Islamization of Europe (SIOE), a hate group that the European Union calls a “neo-Nazi organization.” They also led the protests in 2010 to the Park51 Community Center (remember the Ground Zero Mosque?) in New York City. Yerushalmi and Gaffney serve as their legal counsel. When the Kansas bill was signed, Geller reacted with her usual flamboyance: “U Da Best,” she wrote. “What a disaster defeat for Hamas-CAIR,” she added.

Supporters of the Kansas law point to the fact that it does not explicitly mention sharia and that it only refers to “foreign legal codes.” But it is clear from the people who are behind this newest manifestation of state-sanctioned Islamophobia that the statute is hardly intended to be an equal opportunity regulator. In fact, after court’s ruled last year that Oklahoma’s sharia ban violated the establishment clause of the Constitution’s First Amendment, Yerushalmi took note of the bill’s language and wiped out language that could be interpreted as targeting Muslims specifically. This growing network operates on slyness and persistence.

The Islamophobia industry is a dangerous and influential group. They have successfully attached anti-Muslim sentiment to the banner of right-wing populism and it is fast becoming identical to anti-Semitism and other such structural racisms that have the potential to spill out into the ghastly displays of violence. The Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik, for example, listed Spencer, Geller and Gaffney multiple times in the manifesto that served as a guidebook for his massacre in July 2011. This network clings to the notion that foreign is bad and that Muslims are not a natural part of America’s national fabric. They believe that they must not only be chastised and harassed but that local government’s should discriminate against them on the basis of their religion and foreign systems of order that the everyday, law-abiding, peace-loving Muslims of America don’t even follow to begin with.

There is no sharia law in Kansas. There is no sharia law anywhere in the United States. What there is, though, is a hateful band of anti-pluralists who take great joy (and make great money) in cleaving society into various fragments that war with one another. It is time to shine a bright and damning light on the Islamophobia industry.

Nathan Lean is the Editor-In-Chief of AslanMedia.com. He is the co-author of ‘Iran, Israel, and the United States’ (2010) and the author of ‘The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims.’ Visit him online at www.nathanlean.com and follow him on Twitter at @nathanlean.

David J. Wasserstein: “Islam Saved Jewry”

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on June 2, 2012 by loonwatch

David J. Wasserstein, professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University penned an interesting and refreshing article that likely caused the heads of Islamophobes to explode, titled, So, What did the Muslims do for the Jews?

He argues that before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, Judaism under the Byzantines was near extinction, and under Persian rule was endanger of being relegated to a cult.

Had Islam not come along, Jewry in the west would have declined to disappearance and Jewry in the east would have become just another oriental cult.

Wasserstein doesn’t fall into the trap of painting a too utopian, rosy picture of Jewish life under Muslim rule, but does highlight the fact that in many places Jewish life and culture flourished, (for example in Andalusia).

by David Wasserstein (The JC)

Islam saved Jewry. This is an unpopular, discomforting claim in the modern world. But it is a historical truth. The argument for it is double. First, in 570 CE, when the Prophet Mohammad was born, the Jews and Judaism were on the way to oblivion. And second, the coming of Islam saved them, providing a new context in which they not only survived, but flourished, laying foundations for subsequent Jewish cultural prosperity – also in Christendom – through the medieval period into the modern world.

By the fourth century, Christianity had become the dominant religion in the Roman empire. One aspect of this success was opposition to rival faiths, including Judaism, along with massive conversion of members of such faiths, sometimes by force, to Christianity. Much of our testimony about Jewish existence in the Roman empire from this time on consists of accounts of conversions.

Great and permanent reductions in numbers through conversion, between the fourth and the seventh centuries, brought with them a gradual but relentless whittling away of the status, rights, social and economic existence, and religious and cultural life of Jews all over the Roman empire.

A long series of enactments deprived Jewish people of their rights as citizens, prevented them from fulfilling their religious obligations, and excluded them from the society of their fellows.

This went along with the centuries-long military and political struggle with Persia. As a tiny element in the Christian world, the Jews should not have been affected much by this broad, political issue. Yet it affected them critically, because the Persian empire at this time included Babylon – now Iraq – at the time home to the world’s greatest concentration of Jews.

Here also were the greatest centres of Jewish intellectual life. The most important single work of Jewish cultural creativity in over 3,000 years, apart from the Bible itself – the Talmud – came into being in Babylon. The struggle between Persia and Byzantium, in our period, led increasingly to a separation between Jews under Byzantine, Christian rule and Jews under Persian rule.

Beyond all this, the Jews who lived under Christian rule seemed to have lost the knowledge of their own culturally specific languages – Hebrew and Aramaic – and to have taken on the use of Latin or Greek or other non-Jewish, local, languages. This in turn must have meant that they also lost access to the central literary works of Jewish culture – the Torah, Mishnah, poetry, midrash, even liturgy.

The loss of the unifying force represented by language – and of the associated literature – was a major step towards assimilation and disappearance. In these circumstances, with contact with the one place where Jewish cultural life continued to prosper – Babylon – cut off by conflict with Persia, Jewish life in the Christian world of late antiquity was not simply a pale shadow of what it had been three or four centuries earlier. It was doomed.

Had Islam not come along, the conflict with Persia would have continued. The separation between western Judaism, that of Christendom, and Babylonian Judaism, that of Mesopotamia, would have intensified. Jewry in the west would have declined to disappearance in many areas. And Jewry in the east would have become just another oriental cult.

But this was all prevented by the rise of Islam. The Islamic conquests of the seventh century changed the world, and did so with dramatic, wide-ranging and permanent effect for the Jews.

Within a century of the death of Mohammad, in 632, Muslim armies had conquered almost the whole of the world where Jews lived, from Spain eastward across North Africa and the Middle East as far as the eastern frontier of Iran and beyond. Almost all the Jews in the world were now ruled by Islam. This new situation transformed Jewish existence. Their fortunes changed in legal, demographic, social, religious, political, geographical, economic, linguistic and cultural terms – all for the better.

First, things improved politically. Almost everywhere in Christendom where Jews had lived now formed part of the same political space as Babylon – Cordoba and Basra lay in the same political world. The old frontier between the vital centre in Babylonia and the Jews of the Mediterranean basin was swept away, forever.

Political change was partnered by change in the legal status of the Jewish population: although it is not always clear what happened during the Muslim conquests, one thing is certain. The result of the conquests was, by and large, to make the Jews second-class citizens.

This should not be misunderstood: to be a second-class citizen was a far better thing to be than not to be a citizen at all. For most of these Jews, second-class citizenship represented a major advance. In Visigothic Spain, for example, shortly before the Muslim conquest in 711, the Jews had seen their children removed from them and forcibly converted to Christianity and had themselves been enslaved.

In the developing Islamic societies of the classical and medieval periods, being a Jew meant belonging to a category defined under law, enjoying certain rights and protections, alongside various obligations. These rights and protections were not as extensive or as generous as those enjoyed by Muslims, and the obligations were greater but, for the first few centuries, the Muslims themselves were a minority, and the practical differences were not all that great.

Along with legal near-equality came social and economic equality. Jews were not confined to ghettos, either literally or in terms of economic activity. The societies of Islam were, in effect, open societies. In religious terms, too, Jews enjoyed virtually full freedom. They might not build many new synagogues – in theory – and they might not make too public their profession of their faith, but there was no really significant restriction on the practice of their religion. Along with internal legal autonomy, they also enjoyed formal representation, through leaders of their own, before the authorities of the state. Imperfect and often not quite as rosy as this might sound, it was at least the broad norm.

Read the rest…

ThinkProgress: The American Enterprise Institute’s Islamophobia Problem

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2012 by loonwatch

Ali Gharib and Eli Clifton recently wrote a 2 part report on the Islamophobic views held by some of the “prominent” think tankers at the neo-Conservative American Enterprise Institute.

One such think tanker is Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In the first part of the report below Gharib discusses Ali’s recent speech in which she sympathizes with terrorist Anders Behring Breivik and shifts blame for his massacre onto the “advocates of silence,” i.e. liberals. Gharib also tip us for flagging the speech.

(Make sure to check out the second part of this report as well here.)

Conservative Think Tank Scholar Promotes Claim That Norway Terrorist Attacked Because He Was Censored

by Ali Gharib (ThinkProgress)

In a speech earlier this month, a scholar at an influential think tank and flagship of contemporary Washington conservatism, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), gave voice to one of the justifications for Norwegian anti-Muslim terrorist Anders Breivik‘s attacks, explaining that Breivik said “he had no other choice but to use violence” because his fringe views were “censored.” While accepting a prize this month from the German multimedia company Axel Springer, Somali-born Dutch AEI scholar Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke on the “advocates of silence” — those she admonishes for purportedly stifling criticisms of radical Islamic extremism.

In the speech, flagged by the website Loonwatch, Hirsi Ali noted that she herself appeared in Breivik’s 1,500-word manifesto (Breivik reprinted a European right-wing article saying Hirsi Ali should win the Nobel Peace Prize). While she denounced Breivik’s views as an “abhorrant” form of “neo-fascism,” she then postulated that Breivik was driven to violence because his militant anti-multicultural views were not given a fair airing in the public discourse.

After speaking about how the “advocates of silence” repress discussion about radical Islamism, Hirsi Ali said:

Fourthly and finally, that one man who killed 77 people in Norway, because he fears that Europe will be overrun by Islam, may have cited the work of those who speak and write against political Islam in Europe and America – myself among them – but he does not say in his 1500 page manifesto that it was these people who inspired him to kill. He says very clearly that it was the advocates of silence. Because all outlets to express his views were censored, he says, he had no other choice but to use violence.

Watch a clip of the speech:

Hirsi Ali’s exclamation that the “advocates of silence” stifle discourse so effectively that Breivik was driven last July to kill 77 people — 69 slaughtered at a summer youth camp — is contradicted even by her own speech. In closing, Hirsi Ali said, “The good news is that recently the leaders of established conservative parties in Europe have broken the pact of silence,” citing comments against multiculturalism by the leaders of Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, Hirsi Ali has herself been a Dutch parliamentarian, a frequent contributor to mainstream U.S. and international publications, and author of a New York Times best-selling autobiography. Dutch anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders enjoys considerable success in Hirsi Ali’s own Netherlands. Views against multiculturalism don’t get censored, though some of the most bigoted ideologies are often driven to the margins in free societies.

Neither AEI nor Ayaan Hirsi Ali replied to requests for comments about her talk. But a public affairs official at AEI wrote to ThinkProgress, “AEI does not take institutional positions on policy issues. When our scholars speak, they speak for themselves.”

In her speech, Hirsi Ali said that “to speak out against radical Islamism is to be condemned as an Islamophobe.” But as detailed in the Center For American Progress’s report on Islamophobia, “Fear, Inc.,” the Islamophobe label applies not to those who rail against “radical Islam,” but rather against Islam as a whole. Not surprisingly, Hirsi Ali is herself in this latter category — yet another indication that Islamophobic views are not censored. In a 2007 interview with Reason Magazine, Hirsi Ali called for Islam to be “defeated.” The interviewer asked: “Don’t you mean defeatingradical Islam?” Hirsi Ali replied bluntly: “No. Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace.”

American Muslims Working to Protect Equal Rights of Minorities in Middle East

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , on June 1, 2012 by loonwatch

Working for equal rights across the globe for minorities is a priority for many American Muslims who have themselves learned from their own “minority experience.” American Muslims were recently in Doha developing ways of ensuring the “protection of equal rights of minorities in the Middle East” (h/t: MF):

American Muslims Working to Protect Equal Rights of Minorities in Middle East

(StraightRecord.org)

Muslim American’s continue with their persistent and consistent efforts at highlighting the critical importance of promoting and protecting “equal rights” for minorities in the Middle East.

Central to the struggles and reforms emerging across the Middle East from the Arab Spring are questions of how to ensure the protection of freedom, tolerance, and economic sustainability for all people, particularly minority groups.

In an effort to develop an international strategy for social stability and economic development in the Middle East, the State of Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UCLA Center for Middle East Development gathered community leaders and activists from across the globe this week in Doha for a conference focusing on enriching the future of the Middle East.  The conference was held in conjunction with the 12th Annual Doha Forum.

ISNA Director of Community Outreach Mohamed Elsanousi participated in a workshop focusing on the “Future of Religious Minorities in the Region.” Elsanousi’s participation in the workshop was a part of ISNA’s ongoing work with Muslim leaders worldwide to promote Islamic standards and develop protocols that protect religious freedom, particularly for religious minorities, in Muslim-majority countries.

“In Islam, we are taught that all people are equal and should not be discriminated against in any way based on their religion,” stated Elsanousi.  “It is our responsibility as Muslims to promote programs and policies that protect freedom of religion for all people in the emerging democracies across the Arab Spring to ensure the repression of the old regimes is never allowed to take root again.”

The workshop highlighted examples from Islamic history, such as the covenant of Medina, which thrived under a system of law that guaranteed equal rights for all people in a Muslim majority community.

The workshop also echoed many of the strategies shared by ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid and other leaders during last week’s ISNA co-sponsored symposium on the Rights of Religious Minorities in Islam.

Read the rest…

Cheryl Baisden: Fear Propels Religious Attacks

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2012 by loonwatch

A very good article by Cheryl Baisden on the movement against sharia, and what they fundamentally don’t understand about American history and law:

Fear Propels Religious Attacks

by Cheryl Baisden (njsbf.org)

A guarantee of religious freedom was what compelled the Pilgrims to risk their lives to cross the Atlantic Ocean and settle along the inhospitable Massachusetts coast in 1620. And yet it didn’t take long for these new inhabitants of America to begin railing against individuals with different religious views and practices. Failing to follow the Puritan way of life could leave you condemned to a dark, dank prison cell; sentenced to a painful and public punishment clamped in the town square’s stockade; or banished from the village altogether.

In those early days of America’s settlement, religious and civil law were one and the same. In fact, each community enforced its own laws, based on the dictates of their church leaders. With the passage of the U.S. Constitution, religious freedom became a right guaranteed to all citizens, explains Grayson Barber, a New Jersey attorney whose practice focuses on individual rights issues.

“The First Amendment says ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…,’” Barber says. “Notice that there are two main provisions, the establishment clause and the free exercise clause. The first makes the United States very unusual. Unlike most countries, the U.S. has no official or ‘established’ church. The free exercise clause provides that in the U.S. we are free to pray wherever and whenever we want, and the government cannot force us to participate in religious activities we disagree with. As a result, the U.S. is the best place in the world to be religious. You can practice any religion you want.”

One religion singled out

In the past few years, however, several states have passed or are considering legislation that would restrict the way followers of one specific religion practice their faith. The legislative movement was launched following

a 2010 family court ruling involving a Moroccan couple in New Jersey, where a Hudson County judge denied a wife a restraining order against her husband because he claimed his alleged sexual assaults on his wife were justified under Islamic religious law, known as sharia law. The ruling was later overturned by the appellate court, which found that the original decision in the case of S.D. v. M.J.R. was based on a misunderstanding of sharia law and its place in the court system. But by then, anti- Islamic groups like the Society of Americans for National Existence were strongly pushing lawmakers around the country for a ban on sharia law.

What is sharia law?

For followers of just about any religion there are certain rules that apply to their faith, from kosher laws among Jewish people to the disapproval of divorce among Catholics. In the same way, sharia is the law that governs certain aspects of everyday life for Muslims.

In an interview with Salon, Abed Awad, a New Jersey attorney who regularly handles Islamic law cases and is an adjunct professor at Rutgers Law School—Newark, explains that sharia is based on the Quran, which is the Muslim Holy Scripture, much like the New Testament is for Catholics and the Old Testament is for Jewish people.

Just like the religious laws in those faiths, sharia focuses on the ways and times followers pray and observe their faith, as well as rules regarding marriage, divorce, child rearing, business dealings and estate matters. These religious laws help followers live within the guidelines of their religion, but don’t take the place of the civil and criminal laws applied by our courts. Awad points out that the appellate ruling in the New Jersey case of S.D. v. M.J.R. was actually “consistent with Islamic law, which prohibits spousal abuse.”

While most people have some familiarity with Jewish and Catholic religious laws because they have been exposed to them for so many years in American culture, sharia is still unfamiliar to many. With an estimated eight million Americans now practicing Islam, sharia is becoming more visible, according to Awad.

“Islam is a major world religion,” explains Barber, “but largely unfamiliar in the U.S. Fear of the unknown is probably lurking behind the hostility to sharia. Of course the shadow of 9/11 is behind much of this, as the hijackers claimed to be Muslim. As we become more familiar with Islam, we will learn that every large group is comprised of a wide variety of people…. Apart from a radical criminal element, Muslims are peaceful, law-abiding people with the same variety of personalities and characteristics you would find in any other population.”

The movement against sharia

The first state to propose legislation against sharia law was Oklahoma, where in November 2010, 70 percent of voters approved an amendment to the state

constitution dictating that the Oklahoma courts “shall not consider international law or sharia law” when making judicial decisions.

Oklahoma State Representative Rex Duncan, one of the bill’s two sponsors, told CNN before the proposal received voter approval, that part of the legislation’s purpose was to ban religious forms of arbitration. “Parties would come to the courts and say we want to be bound by Islamic law and then ask the courts to enforce those agreements,” he said. “That is a backdoor way to get sharia law into courts. There…have been some efforts,

I believe, to explore bringing that to America, and it’s dangerous.”

Read the Rest…

Muslims Meet Restaurant Owner: Change His Mind through Dialogue

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on June 1, 2012 by loonwatch

Many, and I would venture to say most anti-Muslim bigots have never met a Muslim in their life.

Usually, when you meet an individual from a group that you have demonized and dehumanized you’re likely to drop your prejudiced attitude. Feelings of embarrasment, shame and guilt may surface, causing you to reflect and ponder on your actions.

It seems as if Michael Pollice, who posted a sign saying “Flying Remote Control Airplanes into Muslim People at the Mall is My Thing” has had a genuine change of heart after meeting local Muslims. The fact that he was getting a lot of negative attention might have had something to do with it as well:

Domenico’s Owner Takes Down Controversial Sign, Apologizes

by Jessica Sinichak (Cranberry Patch)

After the controversial sign he posted in front of Domenico’s Ristorante in Cranberry caused a stir in the community (including on the Cranberry Patch site), owner Michael Pollice has had a change of heart.

“I like to push stuff as far as it can go,” he said. “I will never do that again, because it hurts people.”

Pollice, who is known in the community for his thought-provoking—and sometimes controversial—signs, erected a sign last week that said “Flying Remote Control Airplanes into Muslim People at the Mall is My Thing.”

The sign, which received local—and even national—media coverage ignited a firestorm of responses that ranged from support of Pollice’s message—which he said was a joke—to defense of First Amendment rights to downright outrage and disgust.

In just a few days time, Cranberry Patch received close 100 responses from readers giving their opinion on the issue. Many threatened to boycott the restaurant.

According to Pollice—who said business at the restaurant actually increased—the responses at first inspired him to poke back (which he did in the comment section of the Cranberry Patch article) and to push the envelope even further. By Saturday, a new sign he posted in front of the restaurant read, “If This Sign Offends You, Call a Dead Soldier’s Parents to Complain.”

Then a phone call changed his mind.

Pollice said Asim Kokan, a board member of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, asked him Wednesday for a face-to-face get together to talk about the sign.

Pollice agreed to the meeting, which also was attended by Kazim Reza, a member of the Muslim Association of Greater Pittsburgh and a local realtor, Scott Rudolph, a pastor with the Unitarian Universalist Church in Franklin Park, and Donna McNamara, an active member with the North Hills Anti-Racism Coalition.

Pollice said he had never before spent time with Muslims, and doing so changed his attitude. After explaining he thought of the sign as a joke, he and the visitors got along fine.

“Those guys were great,” he said. “They could have been jerks to me.”

Pollice added he apologized numerous times to the group—and even offered to hold a fundraiser at the restaurant to benefit a new mosque for the Muslim Association of Greater Pittsburgh. The association currently rents a space in Wexford.

“I think it was good thing for me,” Pollice said of the meeting. “I’m better for the experience.”

Unsure at first of what to expect, Reza said he also was pleasantly surprised at the meeting.

“He was very calm and very apologetic for hurting the feelings of Muslims and others,” he said of Pollice.

The McCandless resident—who moved from India to the United States in 1954 to attend college—said the group learned about the Domenico’s sign from an email a woman originally sent to the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh that was forwarded to other mosques around the area.

“She felt is was very, very inappropriate,” Reza said of the emailer. “She felt hurt. She felt it was totally uncalled for.”

Part of CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, which is why the group—which meets up for North Hills Anti-Racism Coalition events— scheduled the meeting with Pollice. Reza also invited anyone with an interest in learning more about Islam to attend prayers at MAP’s mosque in Wexford.

“We do not stop anybody. Anybody can come,” he said. “You only have to follow the basic disciplines of the mosque.”

As for Pollice, he said the incident wouldn’t deter him from posting quirky signs in the future. By Thursday, he had a new sign up that he said shouldn’t offend anyone—except maybe marine life. It reads, “Dolphins are Just Sharks Who Watch Glee.”

Zarifa Qazizadah: An Amazing Afghan Woman

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on May 31, 2012 by loonwatch

I am unsure if she is actually the first female village chief in Afghanistan but Qazizadah certainly defies the stereotype of the “oppressed, burka-clad Afghan woman,” emerging as a committed and strong-willed politician who is actually getting things done. (h/t: MA):

First female village chief in Afghanistan defies gender roles

(AlArabiya English)

In a male-dominated society that has for years been controlled by the ultra-conservative Taliban, the emergence of the first female village chief took everyone by surprise.

After being ridiculed by male villagers for wanting to occupy political office, Zarifa Qazizadah, the mother of 15 children, managed to become the mayor of Naw Abad, a village in the northern Balkh province.

Qazizadah’s political ambition started in 2004 when she told her mocking fellow villagers that she wanted to represent them and promised to supply Naw Abad with electricity.

“I am telling the men in my village that if they have any problems, I will talk to the government on their behalf and in case of any trouble at night, I will carry my gun and come to your houses to solve the problem,” she said.

Qazizadah added that she is willing to be disguised as a man and drive a motorcycle in the middle of the night if this will enable her to help her people.

She lost the 2004 elections but kept her promise as far as connecting the village to electricity is concerned. Two years later, the same men who ridiculed Qazizadah asked her to run for head of the village and she finally succeeded.

Currently, Qazizadah’s priority is guarding the electricity supply in Naw Abad and making sure there are no power thefts in the neighborhood.

“I cannot allow this to happen,” she said. “It is against the law.”

Qazizadah also kept her promise about handling problems that occur at night – she dons men’s clothes, gets on her motorcycle, and heads to where the trouble is. According to her, disguise is better in a conservative society that would be shocked to see a woman on a motorcycle late at night.

Qazizadah also uses her own field tractor to tow cars that break down in the middle of the road or get stuck in the mud.

“She does things men are incapable of,” said Mulawi Sayed Mohamed, one of the villagers.

To make the electricity project materialize, Qazizadah sold her jewelry to be able to travel to the capital Kabul and negotiate with relevant bodies.

She also mortgaged her house in order to secure the amount required to supply the village with electricity. Five months later, she was able to supply all the houses in the village with electricity.

“Villagers only got to know what I did after they were connected. Then they started paying me back.”

Qazizadah used the money villagers paid for their electricity consumption to build a bridge that connects the village with the main road.

She also helped fund the construction of the first mosque in Naw Abad which is distinguished from all the other mosques in the country by the fact that both men and women pray in it together.

Qazizadah’s achievements look even more substantial when seen against the backdrop of her circumstances. The 50-year-old mayor was married at the age of 10 and had her first child at the age of 15. She lived for years with her husband in a remote village where she was “nothing but a servant” as she puts it.

When the Taliban took over, she moved with her family to Mazar-e-Sharif where she started community work with a vaccination campaign for children. She also started an initiative to teach children to read and write.

Qazizadah, now the grandmother of 36 children, is also head of the Women’s Council in the village and holds regular meetings for female villagers whom she advises to follow in her footsteps and teaches means of self-empowerment.

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)

Murfreesboro Mosque Saga Continues: Judge Voids Planning Commission’s Approval

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on May 30, 2012 by loonwatch

County Judge Robert Corlew III decided to void the county planning commission’s approval of the mosque project based not on the Mosque opponents wacky claims about stealth-jihad, islamization, Islam not being a religion, etc., but the narrow reason that the county did not give “adequate public notice about a request to build the mosque.” That is a helluva lot more rational reason than the hyperbolic, fear-mongering, hate-filled nonsense that we’ve become accustomed to hearing from the Lou Ann Zelenik anti-Murfreesboro mosque camp.

The judge did not however call for “construction to be stopped” and so County and Mosque officials are saying construction will continue for the time being:

County says it won’t order halt to mosque construction

by Bob Smietana (The Tennessean)

UPDATE: Rutherford County has no immediate plans revoke the building permit for an embattled Murfreesboro mosque.

“The county is going to look at all the possibilities,” said Jim Cope, attorney for Rutherford County. “This could take weeks.”

Construction at the new Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was set to continue today, despite a judge’s decision that voided the county planning commission’s approval of the project. But the judge did not order a stop to the construction.

Opponents of the mosque want construction to end immediately. Mosque officials say the work will continue until they get official word to stop.

“There are two sides here that disagree,” said Cope. “The county is not the umpire here.”

Cope said that county officials are waiting for a court order from Judge Robert Corlew III before taking their next step. They could file a motion to reconsider or appeal the judge’s decision.

Blocking the mosque project could lead to a federal lawsuit under the religious anti-discrimination laws.

“There are a lot of moving parts in this,” said Cope.

PREVIOUSLY REPORTED

A judge says the Rutherford County planning commission violated state law by not giving adequate public notice about a request to build a mosque in Murfreesboro. But the judge did not say whether work on the building has to stop.

Mosque supporters and opponents disagree on whether the ruling means construction work at the site should stop immediately until there is another planning meeting to discuss the request again. Essam Fathy, head of the construction committee for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, said workers will return to the Veals Road site today to continue building the 52,960-square-foot mosque because no one in county government has told them to stop. “This has all come as a big surprise,” he said.

Fathy said there is still about six weeks of work left on the first phase of the project — 12,000 square feet — which began in September.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Rutherford County Building Codes Department had not revoked the mosque’s building permit.

But Joe Brandon, attorney for the plaintiffs who filed suit against the county in 2010 challenging the public notice process, said the judge’s ruling means the work cannot legally continue. “At the present time, they (congregation members) are in violation of the law if they as much as lift a hammer,” Brandon said.

Brandon said the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was not a named party in the lawsuit and that’s probably why the judge’s order doesn’t specifically order construction halted.

But he said the judge’s ruling erases the site approval, and without that approval, the building permit should be invalid.

Chancellor Robert Corlew III ruled Tuesday that the commission failed to give adequate public notice of a May 24, 2010, meeting. At that meeting, commissioners approved the new building plans for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. But the judge said the commission’s actions were “null and void.”

State law requires that government bodies provide adequate public notice of meetings, but it does not offer many specifics beyond that. Attorneys for Rutherford County have argued that the notice in the printed edition of the Murfreesboro Post and on the paper’s website met the notice requirements.

The county’s legal department did not return calls late Tuesday.

Jim Cope, Rutherford County attorney, told The Tennessean in July 2011 that if the site plan approval was revoked, then mosque leaders probably would have to reapply to the planning commission. Because the Veals Road site is already zoned for religious use, there would be no public hearing or comments on the site plan.

“What we’d have in effect is a ‘do-over,’ ” Cope said last year.

The county attorney also could appeal the decision.

‘A huge victory’

The judge said the commission can meet again to discuss the mosque project, as long as it gives proper notice to the public. Mosque opponents and other members of the public have a right to attend that meeting, but they don’t have the right to speak at the meeting, Corlew wrote. And any future decision by the commission can’t discriminate against members of the mosque, he said.

The next commission meeting is set for June 11.

Imam Osama Bahloul said leaders of the Islamic center would do whatever the county asked of them. “We want to obey the law,” he said. “We want to be good citizens.”

Brandon repeated his belief that the Islamic center is a political organization, not a religious group. “Today is a huge victory. It’s the first time that the political movement of Islam has been stopped in its tracks.”

If the Islamic center gets approved for a new site plan, he said, then the plaintiffs would file a new lawsuit. “They are in this for the long haul.”

Salon.com, “Militants”: Media Propaganda

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on May 29, 2012 by loonwatch

 

The uncritical media rarely question or challenge official government assertions that all their drone strikes kill “militants” (h/t: Saladin):

“Militants”: media propaganda

by Glenn Greenwald (Salon.com)

Virtually every time the U.S. fires a missile from a drone and ends the lives of Muslims, American media outlets dutifully trumpet in headlines that the dead were ”militants” – even though those media outlets literally do not have the slightest idea of who was actually killed. They simply cite always-unnamed “officials” claiming that the dead were “militants.” It’s the most obvious and inexcusable form of rank propaganda: media outlets continuously propagating a vital claim without having the slightest idea if it’s true.

This practice continues even though key Obama officials have been caught lying, a term used advisedly, about how many civilians they’re killing. I’ve written and said many times before that in American media discourse, the definition of “militant” is any human being whose life is extinguished when an American missile or bomb detonates (that term was even used when Anwar Awlaki’s 16-year-old American son, Abdulrahman, was killed by a U.S. drone in Yemen two weeks after a drone killed his father, even though nobody claims the teenager was anything but completely innocent: “Another U.S. Drone Strike Kills Militants in Yemen”).

This morning, the New York Times has a very lengthy and detailed article about President Obama’s counter-Terrorism policies based on interviews with “three dozen of his current and former advisers.” I’m writing separately about the numerous revelations contained in that article, but want specifically to highlight this one vital passage about how the Obama administration determines who is a “militant.” The article explains that Obama’s rhetorical emphasis on avoiding civilian deaths “did not significantly change” the drone program, because Obama himself simply expanded the definition of a “militant” to ensure that it includes virtually everyone killed by his drone strikes. Just read this remarkable passage:

Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.

Counterterrorism officials insist this approach is one of simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good. “Al Qaeda is an insular, paranoid organization — innocent neighbors don’t hitchhike rides in the back of trucks headed for the border with guns and bombs,” said one official, who requested anonymity to speak about what is still a classified program.

This counting method may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths. In a speech last year Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s trusted adviser, said that not a single noncombatant had been killed in a year of strikes. And in a recent interview, a senior administration official said that the number of civilians killed in drone strikes in Pakistan under Mr. Obama was in the “single digits” — and that independent counts of scores or hundreds of civilian deaths unwittingly draw on false propaganda claims by militants.

But in interviews, three former senior intelligence officials expressed disbelief that the number could be so low. The C.I.A. accounting has so troubled some administration officials outside the agency that they have brought their concerns to the White House. One called it “guilt by association” that has led to “deceptive” estimates of civilian casualties.

“It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants,” the official said. “They count the corpses and they’re not really sure who they are.”

For the moment, leave the ethical issues to the side that arise from viewing “all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants”; that’s nothing less than sociopathic, a term I use advisedly, but I discuss that in the separate, longer piece I’m writing to be published a bit later this morning. For now, consider what this means for American media outlets. Any of them which use the term “militants” to describe those killed by U.S. strikes are knowingly disseminating a false and misleading term of propaganda. By “militant,” the Obama administration literally means nothing more than: any military-age male whom we kill, even when we know nothing else about them. They have no idea whether the person killed is really a militant: if they’re male and of a certain age they just call them one in order to whitewash their behavior and propagandize the citizenry (unless conclusive evidence somehow later emerges proving their innocence).

Read the rest…

Redditch Unites as EDL March Ends Peacefully

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2012 by loonwatch

Those who oppose fascism outnumber the hate-mongering EDL:

Redditch unites as EDL march ends peacefully

(Redditch Standard)

REDDITCH residents put on a show of unity and defiance as a march through the town from the EDL passed off peacefully.

More than 100 officers were drafted in from across the West Mercia force area as well as Warwickshire, West Midlands and British Transport Police to help control the event and tensions were high throuhgout the day as a large counter demonstration, made up of residents from all sections of Redditch’s community and members of United Against Facism, attemped to get near to the main EDL rally.

Between 100 and 150 members of the EDL from across the region turned out for Saturday’s rally which saw speeches made from the bandstand although police officially estimate the figure at about 40.

The event lasted for about half an hour during which members of the group urged people to ‘wake up to the facts’ about Islam and made a number of anti-islamic statements and chants.

Trouble flared when passers-by from the afro-caribbean community angered by some of the comments attempted to intervene with the rally and a lager can appeared to be thrown from the EDL side, but officers quickly intervened. In total there were three arrests – one for a breach of the peace and two on suspicion of assault – and police say they were all men and believed to have been attached to the counter EDL demonstration.

EDL member Ed Stevens said they were trying to raise awareness about the threat of Islamic grooming of young white girls.

“It’s an awareness campaign, more than anything particularly connected to Redditch. There have been one or two minor incidents around this town but the main thing is we are coming to town and cities everywhere to say take notice of what’s going on in your country.”

But after the group left about 3pm the larger counter demonstration, with an estimated 500 people involved and which had been held back for most of the day in Easemore Road, marched through the town down to the railway station and back again before holding a brief rally also at the bandstand.

There are now plans to set-up a Redditch Against Facism group.

Safder Hussain, one of the organisers of the counter-protest, said: “The message we have sent to day is straightforward, we do not want the EDL here, we are united and we are strong in that.

“Redditch is a mixed community, I have personally lived here for 40 years and I have never had race relation problems, 99 per cent of Redditch people are the friendlist, nicest people you could ever hope to meet. These people from outside Redditch are coming in to Redditch to spread their malicious, evil, garbage.”

Smallwood resident Charlotte Gallen added: “I have lived here all my life, we are proud of the diversity in our town and we always have been.”

Other faith groups across Redditch also lent their support to the counter-protest.

Read more: Redditch unites as EDL march ends peacefully | Redditch Standard

Star-Ledger: Chris Christie, AG wrong to conclude NYPD Muslim probe was justified

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2012 by loonwatch

We are supposed to take Gov. Christie and his Attorney General’s word that the NYPD did nothing wrong when they spied on Muslims in Newark.

Chris Christie, AG wrong to conclude NYPD Muslim probe was justified

(Star-Ledger Editorial Board)

It was disturbing to learn several months ago that the New York Police Department was conducting secret spy missions on Muslims in Newark, building dossiers on their mosques and shops, taking photographs and eavesdropping on their conversations.

It is more disturbing to learn that Gov.Chris Christie and his attorney general, Jeffrey Chiesa, have concluded that it was all justified. Throwing this kind of wide net of surveillance over a community, based on its religion, strikes us as a sloppy overreach of police powers.

Chiesa said Thursday that, after a three-month investigation, he could find no evidence that NYPD officers broke any laws. The NYPD, he says, was acting on legitimate intelligence tips when it began its ethnic mapping project in 2007.

Given the confidential nature of this, the public will never know for sure. But what tip could possibly justify such blanket surveillance of a community based on its religion? Did the tipster suggest all Muslims were dangerous? And if the threat was more specific, why did the search have to be so broad?

Read the rest…

Swiss Pastor who Runs Racist Website Faces Probe

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by loonwatch

(via. Islamophobia-Watch)

Swiss pastor who runs racist website faces probe

A Reformist priest from a tiny Bernese village is under investigation by church leaders after it emerged that she helped run a fanatical anti-Islamic website.

The Council of Reformist Churches for Bern, Solothurn and Jura has criticised the priest, and declared her activities on website ‘Politically Incorrect’ to be “incompatible” with her position as a priest due to the “Islam-baiting” that takes place on it, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported.

The priest has been involved for a long time with the Politically Incorrect forum, a website frequented mainly by Germans, and has been operating clandestinely, the newspaper reported.

It has been alleged that the priest has been funding the website herself, the Tages Anzeiger reported. The prosecutor also believes it possible that she has been contributing some of the racist content, albeit under pseudonyms.

The Council had already warned the priest previously for her participation at extreme-right Islamophobic events in Germany. Having reviewed the content of the website, the Council described the articles posted there as “inflammatory and derogatory”.

The priest is now accused of breaching anti-racism laws and of failing to prevent criminal acts. Despite the accusations, she has still been permitted by her immediate superiors to continue to preach in the village.

The Local, 25 May 2012

Egyptian Elections: Islamophobes Will Be Unable to Explain this Picture

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by loonwatch

Of course anti-Islam bigots like “John C. Drew, Ph.D” will be unable to explain the picture below. According to them, Muslims are all persecuting Christians in Egypt, who are supposedly in the same position as Jews on the eve of the Kristalnacht (h/t: Amir):

The picture is taken from the Facebook group, The Official Page for the Coalition of Coptic Egyptians.

They wrote this as a caption for the picture:
دى بقى من أجمل صور المصراوية فى الإنتخابات الرئاسية لمصوّر جريدة الأهرام “بسّام الزغبى” .. سأختارها حتما ضمن أفضل صور العام.
انشرها وعرف غيرك اننا هنفضل مسلم ومسيحى مش كلام لكن حقيقة

Translation: “One of the most beautiful photos of Egyptians during the presidential elections from photographer for Al-Ahram newspaper, “Bustaam Al-Zoghbi.” We choose it amongst the best pictures of the year. Spread it. And let others besides yourself know that verily we remain Muslims and Christians, not just “talk” but “reality.”

But who wants to hear the voice of Copts themselves, when “John C. Drew, PhD” can speak for them?

Hamid Dabashi: Merci, Monsieur Badiou

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by loonwatch

Hamid Dabashi has an excellent article replying to a piece by prominent French philosopher Alain Badiou on the complicity of the celebrated French “intellectuals” such as faux philosopher Bernard Henri Levy in stirring up Islamophobia:

Merci, Monsieur Badiou

by Hamid Dabashi (AlJazeera English)

New York, NY – In a powerful new essay for Le Monde [Fr], Alain Badiou, arguably the greatest living French philosopher, pinpoints the principal culprit in the success of the far-right in the recent French presidential election that resulted in the presidency of Francois Hollande.

At issue is the evidently not-so-surprising success of the French far-right, anti-immigration, Islamophobe nationalist politician Marine Le Pen – to whom the French electorate handed a handsome 20 per cent and third place prestige.

As Neni Panourgia has recently warned, “the phenomenon of Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi in Greek), the neo-Nazi organisation that received almost seven per cent of the vote in the Greek elections of May 6″ is a clear indication that this rise of the right is not limited to France. The gruesome mass murderer Anders Breivik signalled from Northern Europe a common spectre that hovers over the entirety of the continent – most recently marked by the trial of the Bosnian Serb mass murderer General Ratko Mladic – accused of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including orchestrating the week-long massacre of more than 7,000 Muslim boys and men at Srebrenica in 1995 during the Bosnian war.

As Refik Hodzic, a justice activist from Bosnia and Herzegovina puts it, the implications of that murderous incident are not to be missed:

“The statement that will haunt the consciousness of Bosnians, Serbs and the world for decades to come was recorded in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Srebrenica, a UN-protected enclave in eastern Bosnia: ‘On this day I give Srebrenica to the Serb people,’ he announced into a TV camera. ‘The time has finally come for revenge against Turks [Bosnian Muslims] who live in this area.’ These chilling words were the prelude to a systematic execution of some 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys who had sought refuge with the Dutch UN battalion or tried to reach safety through the woods surrounding Srebrenica. Years later, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice would judge the massacre, directed by Mladic and carried out by his subordinates, to be the first act of genocide committed on European soil after World War II.”

Who is responsible? 

In this poignant and timely essay, Alain Badiou dismisses the pop sociology of blaming the rise of the right on the poor and the disenfranchised French, supposedly fearful of globalisation. He denounces the blaming of the poor French by the educated elite for all its ills – and instead offers a far more sensible and factual evidence of what seems to be the matter with the French – and, by extension, other Europeans.

Blaming the poor, Alain Badiou retorts, is reminiscent of Berthold Brecht’s famous sarcasm that the French government evidently does not have the people it richly deserves. Turning the table against the French politicians and the French intellectuals, Badiou blames them directly for the rise of the right. Badiou turns to a list of the most recent anti-labour and anti-immigrant statements uttered by socialist politicians and charges them with the responsibility for the rise of the right.

“The succession of restrictive laws, attacking, on the pretext of being foreigners, the freedom and equality of millions of people who live and work here, is not the work of unrestricted ‘populists’.” He accuses Nicolas Sarkozy and his gang of “cultural racism”, of “raising high the banner of ‘superiority’ of Western civilisation” and “an endless succession of discriminatory laws”.

But Badiou does not spare the left and, in fact, accuses them of complacency: “We did not see the left rise forcefully to oppose… such reactionary” laws. Quite to the contrary, this segment of the left maintained that it understood this demand for “security”, and had no qualms about the public space being cleansed of women who opted to veil themselves.

Badiou accuses the French intellectuals of having fomented Islamophobia, as he accuses successive French governments of having been “unable to build a civil society of peace and justice”, and for having Arabs and Muslims abused as the boogymen of French politics.

Read the Rest…

Islam and the Religious Demographic Shifts in the USA

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by loonwatch

American_Islam

Rather than viewing the apparent growth of the Muslim populace with alarm, it should be viewed in perspective and historical context:

Islam and the Religious Demographic Shifts in the USA

(StraightRecord.org)

The Puritans, colonial settlers in New England were originally Protestants from Great Britain, they helped to shape the early religious makeup and cultural milieu of what would become the republic of the United States of America.

As colonial settlers expanded their control over the land, forcing Native American populations further West, pre-existing indigenous religions became marginalized and the first seeds of manifest destiny were planted.

While a complete book would be necessary to do justice to this topic alone, it is important to note that many Natives have until this day preserved, to varying degrees of success, their religious stories and practices.

In the end, the descendants of the Protestants, possessing military advantage and missionary zeal, became the religious hegemons of the early United States.

“Protestant work ethic” and Protestant concepts of “morality” became deeply ingrained within the fabric and history of the United States, and have survived as catch-phrases and concepts in our culture to this day.

Over time, the religious hegemony of Protestants in the USA would eventually encounter change, first with the forced arrival of African slaves, and then with the arrival of Catholic and Jewish immigrants from Europe.

One of the most significant changes has occurred in the past half century, as America has been introduced to religions that it had hitherto been unfamiliar with, or only knew through exotic tales of the Orient.

Today, the religious landscape of America is a mosaic, including varying Christian denominations, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Atheists and of course Muslims.

While Islam first arrived on American shores long ago, its sojourn into the nation’s conscious has been more recent.

A study by Hartford Institute for Religion Research (Hartford Seminary), the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, as well as the nation’s largest Islamic civic and religious groups found that the number of mosques in the US has increased 74% since 2000.

While protests against new mosques in New York, Tennessee and California made headlines, the overall number of mosques quietly rose from 1,209 in 2000 to 2,106 in 2010.

The number of Muslims in the United States is also believed to have increased,

A new survey reveals the dramatically changing face of religion in America, with the number of Muslims in the U.S. soaring 67% in the decade since the 9/11 attacks.

Data released Tuesday from the 2010 U.S. Religion Census shows Islam was the fastest growing religion in America in the last 10 years, with 2.6 million living in the U.S. today, up from 1 million in 2000.

Statistical studies are never an exact science and are open to interpretation, but what these numbers indicate is a definite growing presence of Islam and Muslims in the USA. According to Dale Jones, data analyst and mapping specialist for the Religion Census, one ironic contribution to the rise in Muslim numbers may be the strong anti-Islam sentiment prevalent today in certain sectors of society,

“Persecution is sometimes good for a religious group — in the sense of being able to attract more followers, for some reason,” Jones said. “Rarely is opposition a very effective tool in stopping the growth of a movement.”

Dr. Tariq Ramadan, speaking in the context of Europe, notes that instead of such growth in the “visible” presence of Muslims being viewed with suspicion and alarm, it should be viewed positively, for what it actually is, signs of healthy Muslim integration into the fabric of the nation.

Millions of Muslims are, in fact, already proving every day that “religious integration” is an accomplished fact, that they are indeed at home in the Western countries whose tastes, culture and psychology they have made their own. (Manifesto for a new “We”)

Ramadan notes that Muslims are already integrated within Western societies. Millions of Muslims, by going about their daily lives working, respecting the law, partaking in all aspects of the larger culture such as politics, sports, music, etc. have already proven that they are integrated.

The growing Muslim population should not be seen as a threat to the USA but rather as one more manifestation of the religious tolerance and freedom of religion that has made the US great.

Fear-mongers have existed in every age, and Muslims are not the first religious group to face heightened scrutiny and bigoted attacks. Similar language and rhetoric as we see employed against the growing Muslim presence today have been used against Jews and Catholics in the past.

We should not forget the very real “fear” that existed in the 19th and early 20th century regarding the Catholicization of America, or the “fear” of our first Catholic President, John F. Kennedy possibly taking orders from the Pope. Such hysteria eventually died down over time and will with Islam as well.

Wilfredo Amr Ruiz: ‘We Are Not at War With Islam’

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2012 by loonwatch

Wildredo Amr Ruiz

Wilfredo Amr Ruiz

Is the oft-repeated phrase by both presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama, “We are not at war with Islam” just hollow political-speak?

Wilfredo A Ruiz discusses:

Wilfredo Amr Ruiz: ‘We Are Not at War With Islam’

Former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama have persistently affirmed: “We are not at war with Islam,” trying to assure 1.7 billion Muslims that the military actions of the so-called “war against terrorism” do not constitute belligerence against Islam or Muslims. This incessant message of denial is hard to swallow by many sectors of our society, and the world at large, since the United States has engaged in multiple wars of occupation in Muslim countries including Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, it conducts routine military incursions and bombardment campaigns on Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and other Muslim countries.
Furthermore, thousands of Muslim citizens around the world are subjected to arrest without formal accusations or due process of law. Incarcerations and even torture takes place at a network of international secret prisons and “black hole” locations operated or accessed by the CIA and other intelligence agencies.Unfortunately, in the American political arena there is also the perception that the government security and intelligence agencies and military apparatus are at war with Islam and Muslims.
They substantiate this notion with continuous discriminatory and prejudiced policies affecting American Muslims and their institutions. Let us take, for example, the harsh experience New York Muslims are undergoing with the NYPD. They are subject to widespread and ongoing espionage policies from their own police department, which include the opening of dossiers based on ethnic and religious profiling.
This openly unconstitutional practice is not based on suspiciousness of them committing crimes or being engaged in an ongoing criminal enterprise. Rather, the information recorded documents the restaurants they frequent, the books they check out, and even the times and places where they conduct their daily prayers.Evidently, the constant Islamophobic discourses have resonated to the military branches, resulting in the offering of multiple training courses with discriminatory, bigoted and offensive materials.
Some of these academic materials recently discovered are taught at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., in which mainstream Muslim persons and organizations are characterized as radical, violent extremists. The course even calls for treating the Muslim civilian population the way the Japanese were dealt with at Hiroshima, with nuclear attacks on the holy cities of Mecca and Medina and wiping out civilians.
It promotes a total war on Islam affirming that there is no such thing as moderate Islam. The military training course participants are encouraged to think of themselves as a “resistance movement to Islam.” Other various training courses with xenophobic and bigoted content offered to the FBI have also been exposed. These are not isolated and unique classes, but multiple trainings held at numerous venues to hundreds of military officers and intelligence agents that are responsible for the safety and security of our nation.
Notwithstanding the military and FBI’s promises to review their courses and purge the training curriculums of Islamophobic materials, we need ask ourselves: How many other courses (most of them classified as “Secret”) have been offered and, perhaps, are still being offered in these highly secured and secret agencies without public exposure?
The sad reality is that our nation has institutionalized vigilance based on stereotypical ethnic and religious profiling. Let us just examine for a moment the recent incident at Fort Lauderdale International Airport, where an 18-month-old toddler, a daughter of American parents of Middle Eastern descent, was ordered off a plane by Jet Blue Airline’s officials who claimed she was on the TSA’s “no fly” list: a list obviously fed with the names of people selected based on ethnic and religious profiling. The toddler case is not the only one of its kind, as another 500 American citizens are also in these puzzling and sinister lists in the absence of due process. The lists are not only ineffective, but openly unconstitutional because individuals are included without notification or being told why they are on the list and without the chance to rebut the basis of their inclusion.

What will our political leaders do to try to erase the idea that the Nation is engaged in a war against Islam and Muslims? The major challenge they confront in this task is that the more time elapses, the more discrimination, oppression, persecution and injustices cements against American Muslims and their institutions.

President Obama still has the option and opportunity to rise to the occasion and confront this most delicate situation at the level it merits. He might, perhaps, start cleaning and straightening the Executive Branch from head to toe. The president should take steps that truly guarantee the elimination of racial and religious profiling exercised by law enforcement agencies and should swiftly end all the futile wars on Muslim countries once and for all. Perhaps, he should follow the Executive Order he signed back on Jan. 22, 2009, mandating the “Closure of Detention Facilities at Guantanamo” and the “Immediate Review of All Guantanamo Detentions.” Only such decisive actions will sustain the hollowed presidential words: “We are not at war with Islam.”

 Follow Wilfredo Amr Ruiz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AnalistaInter

OC GOP Removes Islamophobe Deborah Pauly from her Post as Vice Chair

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , on May 23, 2012 by loonwatch

Deborah Pauly

Deborah Pauly

A year ago, Pauly called local Muslims “terrorists” and was quoted saying she knew “quite a few marines who would be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in paradise.”

OC GOP Removes Islamophobe Deborah Pauly from her Post as Vice Chair

Last night, the Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee voted 47 to 16 in favor of removing Deborah Pauly from her post as First Vice Chair of the OCGOP.  The motion to remove Pauly was brought on by OCGOP Chairman Scott Baugh stating that Pauly’s behavior has been divisive, vulgar and has caused much distraction and division within the Republican party.  At 9:28pm, the votes were announced and Pauly was officially removed as First Vice Chair.

Minutes from last nights Central Committee meeting are captured here.

A year ago, Pauly called local Muslims “terrorists” and was quoted saying she knew “quite a few marines who would be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in paradise.”  The Villa Park City Council adopted a weak statement distancing itself from her comments.

Salon.com: Likely victory for MeK shills

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , on May 23, 2012 by loonwatch

MEK fighters in Iraq. (Credit: AP/Brennan Linsley)

MEK fighters in Iraq. (Credit: AP/Brennan Linsley)

We’ve reported on the MeK terrorist organization and the powerful politicians who have lobbied on their behalf to have them de-listed as a terror group. All these politicians are guilty of “material support” but because they come from the privileged and powerful class the rule of law does not apply to them.

Now it seems likely that due to the lobbying efforts of the said politicians, the MeK will be removed from the list. (h/t: JD)

Likely victory for MeK shills

BY 

Former U.S. officials, paid to advocate for a designated Terror group, are now on the verge of succeeding.

(updated below)

bipartisan band of former Washington officials and politicians has spent the last two years aggressively advocating on behalf of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK), an Iranian dissident group that has been formally designated for the last 15 years by the U.S. State Department as a “foreign Terrorist organization.” Most of those former officials have been paid large sums of money to speak at MeK events and meet with its leaders, thus developing far more extensive relations with this Terror group than many marginalized Muslims who have been prosecuted and punished with lengthy prison terms for “materially supporting a Terrorist organization.” These bipartisan MeK advocates have been demanding the group’s removal from the Terror list, advocacy that has continued unabated despite (or, more accurately, because of ) reports that MeK is trained and funded by the Israelis and has been perpetrating acts of violence on Iranian soil aimed at that country’s civilian nuclear scientists and facilities (also known as: Terrorism).

Now, needless to say, the State Department appears likely to accede to the demands of these paid bipartisan shills:

The Obama administration is moving to remove an Iranian opposition group from the State Department’s terrorism list, say officials briefed on the talks, in an action that could further poison Washington’s relations with Tehran at a time of renewed diplomatic efforts to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.

The exile organization, the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MeK, was originally named as a terrorist entity 15 years ago for its alleged role in assassinating U.S. citizens in the years before the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran and for allying with Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein against Tehran.

The MeK has engaged in an aggressive legal and lobbying campaign in Washington over the past two years to win its removal from the State Department’s list. . . . Senior U.S. officials said on Monday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has yet to make any final decision on the MeK’s status. But they said the State Department was looking favorably at delisting MeK if it continued cooperating by vacating a former paramilitary base inside Iraq, called Camp Ashraf, which the group had used to stage cross-border strikes into Iran.

This highlights almost every salient fact about how Washington functions with regard to such matters. First, if you pay a sufficiently large and bipartisan group of officials to lobby on your behalf, you will get your way, even when it comes to vaunted National Security and Terrorism decisions; if you pay the likes of Howard Dean, Fran Townsend, Wesley Clark, Ed Rendell, Rudy Giuliani, Tom Ridge and others like them to peddle their political influence for you, you will be able to bend Washington policy and law to your will. As Andrew Exum put it this morning: “I guess Hizballah and LeT just need to buy off more former administration officials.”

Second, the application of the term “Terrorist” by the U.S. Government has nothing to do with how that term is commonly understood, but is instead exploited solely as a means to punish those who defy U.S. dictates and reward those who advance American interests and those of its allies (especially Israel). Thus, this Terror group is complying with U.S. demands, has been previously trained by the U.S. itself, and is perpetrating its violence on behalf of a key American client state and against a key American enemy, and — presto — it is no longer a “foreign Terrorist organization.”

Third, this yet again underscores who the actual aggressors are in the tensions with Iran. Imagine if multiple, high-level former Iranian officials received large sums of money from a group of Americans dedicated to violently overthrowing the U.S. government and committing acts of violence on American soil, and the Iranian Government then removed it from its list of Terror groups, thus allowing funding and other means of support to flow freely to that group.

Fourth, the rule of law is not even a purported constraint on the conduct of Washington political elites. Here, the behavior of these paid MeK shills is so blatantly illegal that even the Obama administration felt compelled to commence investigations to determine who was paying them and for what. As a strictly legal matter, removing MeK from the Terror list should have no effect on the criminality of their acts: it’s a felony to provide material support to a designated Terror group — which the Obama DOJ, backed by the U.S. Supreme Court, has argued, in a full frontal assault on free speech rights, even includes coordinating advocacy with such a group (ironically, some of this Terror group’s paid advocates, such as former Bush Homeland Security adviser Fran Townsend, cheered that Supreme Court ruling when they thought it would only restrict the political advocacy of Muslims, not themselves).

The fact that the Terror group is subsequently removed from the list does not render that material support non-criminal. But as a practical matter, it is virtually impossible to envision the Obama DOJ prosecuting any of these elite officials for supporting a group which the Obama administration itself concedes does not belong on the list. The removal of this group — if, as appears highly likely, it happens — will basically have the same effect, by design, as corrupt acts such as retroactive telecom immunity and the shielding of Bush war crimes and Wall Street fraud from any form of investigation: it will once again bolster the prime Washington dictate that D.C. political elites reside above the rule of law even when committing violations of the criminal law for which ordinary citizens are harshly punished.

* * * * *

Speaking of the assault on the free speech rights of Muslim critics of the U.S. under the guise of “material support” prosecutions (an assault which also erodes free speech rights for everyone), Michael May hasa great long article in The American Prospect on the horrendous, free-speech-threatening prosecution of Tarek Mehanna, whose extraordinary sentencing statement I published here.

UPDATE: In 2003, when the Bush adminstration was advocating an attack on Iraq, one of the prime reasons it cited was “Saddam Hussein’s Support for International Terrorism.” It circulated a document purporting to prove that claim (h/t Hernlem), and one of the first specific accusations listed was this:

Iraq shelters terrorist groups including the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO), which has used terrorist violence against Iran and in the 1970s was responsible for killing several U.S. military personnel and U.S. civilians.

So the group that was pointed to less than a decade ago as proof of Saddam’s Terrorist Evil is now glorified by both political parties in Washington and — now that it’s fighting for the U.S. and Israel rather than for Saddam — is no longer a Terror group.