Archive for Al-Qaida

Corsica: Racist Arson Attack on Muslim Prayer Room

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , on April 10, 2012 by loonwatch

Corsica: Racist Arson Attack on Muslim Prayer Room 

France’s interior ministry says an arsonist has partially destroyed a Muslim prayer room in the Mediterranean island of Corsica’s capital city.

A ministry statement said racist inscriptions were found Monday on the front of the building housing the prayer room in Ajaccio after it was damaged in the early morning fire.

French Muslim leaders have voiced fear of renewed stigmatization following March attacks that killed seven people in southern France that were attributed to an Islamist who claimed al-Qaida links. Mohamed Merah was shot dead by police.

Rivals of conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy in presidential elections starting April 22 claim a recent sweep of terror suspects is an electoral ploy.

AFP, 9 April 2012

Attorney General: FBI Hurt Terror Fight With ‘Violent Muslim’ Training

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , on November 9, 2011 by loonwatch

Eric HolderEric Holder

Attorney General: FBI Hurt Terror Fight With ‘Violent Muslim’ Training

By Spencer Ackerman

The FBI wasn’t just wrong in teaching its agents that average Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers, Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress Tuesday. That bigoted Bureau training undermined the government’s efforts to stop the next terror attack.

The FBI briefings, given to Bureau counterterrorism agents at its academy in Quantico, were not only “flat-out wrong,” Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee. They “really have a negative impact on our ability to communicate effectively” with American Muslims on counterterrorism, civil rights and other issues.

An array of elected and appointed government leaders have denounced the FBI training, since it was first revealed by Danger Room in September. Holder’s comments were the most strident — and highest-level — official condemnation yet. And it reinforces a key point that critics of the Islamophobic briefings have made all along: that tarring “mainstream” Muslims as “radical” and “violent” only helps the real terrorists evade their government pursuers.

That kind of training, Holder insisted, was “inconsistent with what we have been trying to do here at the Department. Those views do not reflect those views of the Justice Department [and] the FBI.”

Without using his name, Holder also rebuked FBI counterterrorism analyst William Gawthrop, who conducted the training at Quantico and in New York. Gawthrop, as Danger Room has extensively reported, likened Islam to the Death Star and said al-Qaida was “irrelevant” compared to the threat of Islam itself. Holder told the panel: “We have distanced ourselves from that person and those statements.”

The statements, maybe. But not the person.

Nearly two months after Danger Room began its FBI expose, Gawthrop is still employed at the Bureau. He’s been put on a leash, prevented from teaching at Quantico or delivering freelance lectures — though the FBI says it won’t comment on what he teaches to veterans in his side gig at the online American Military University.

And it’s not clear how deeply the FBI or the Justice Department will go in purging Gawthrop-like statements from its counterterrorism curriculum. There are reviews at both the FBI and Justice to do just that. But it’s unclear whether they go deeper than recommending against teaching certain offensive material. And both agencies have employed people who taught that Muslim “juries” threaten American values and even that Muslims are genocidal.

But Holder went further in his rebuke of the FBI training materials than did Bureau Director Robert Mueller. Last month, Mueller told a House panel that the instructions were “very unusual.” Holder, by contrast, said flatly that he hesitated to distinguish U.S. Muslims from non-Muslims. American Muslims are “American citizens who have the same desires as we have,” he said.

Holder’s argument echoes that of Texas Muslim leader Mohamed Elibiary, who received a September commendation from Mueller himself to recognize his partnership with the FBI on counterterrorism. The anti-Islam training “makes my job — and the FBI field offices’ jobs — much harder,” Elibiary told Danger Room recently.

Muslim Store Owner Harassed due to Ignorance

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2010 by loonwatch

Hat tip: Halfwit

Photo that went viral is a big headache for store

By MOISES MENDOZA
HOUSTON CHRONICLE

Sajid Master wants the phone calls and angry letters to stop. He wants people to quit coming into Perfume Planet in west Houston to yell at his workers. He’d especially like folks to stop castigating his landlord.

Nearly a year after the Internet painted Master as an Al Qaida sympathizer, outrage toward the store at the Harwin Central Mart shows no sign of waning.

“They’ve threatened to kill me; sometimes they’re cursing when they call,” a resigned Master said Thursday in his shop.

Trouble is, all the indignation is the product of a massive misunderstanding, illustrating the awesome — and sometimes damaging – power of the Internet.

Master, who describes himself as a proud American citizen, isn’t a terrorist sympathizer. He’s just a shopkeeper who inadvertently touched a very raw nerve.

It started when the Muslim merchant posted a sign at his shop during Ramadan explaining the store would be closed Sept. 11 to remember the death of Imam Ali, a sacred Muslim figure. Master failed, however, to explain that Ali, who is remembered on a different date each year during Ramadan, died in 661 A.D. and was in no way related to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Someone snapped a picture of the sign and started sending it around online, claiming Imam Ali was one of the Sept. 11 hijackers.

Before long the photo went viral, showing up on countless conservative Internet forums and prompting statements like this one that appeared at 2Aforum.com: “Picket, protest, and through lawful means, strangle their business.”

Soon the phone calls started, befuddling and overwhelming store manager Hasan Kolsawala, who tried to explain that no offense was intended.

Photo passed around

People also called Master’s cell phone to denounce him.

He probably could have shrugged off the incident as a temporary annoyance, but 10 months later the consequences of that sign still reverberate.

Phone calls to Perfume Planet often come in waves as people send around new e-mail chains urging recipients to voice their anger.

Giving explanations

Workers try to explain things.

“But some people don’t want to listen,” Kolsawala said. “They scream at me.”

Then there are the people who stomp into the store holding printouts of the infamous photo and demanding explanations.

And there are the countless angry letters flooding the shop’s mailbox. Master dutifully pens responses to each one.

Luckily for Master, some websites, like the popular snopes.com, have taken pity on him, dedicating space to debunking the controversy.

But that doesn’t seem to have done much good.

The parade of phone calls keeps coming, not only to the shop but to the management of Harwin Central Mart, the mall that houses Master’s business.

Myong Yi, the mall’s manager, said he’s almost at his breaking point.

“Sometimes I want to just kick him out,” he said. “I get at least one or two calls each day. I want it to stop.”

This year, Perfume Planet will close to commemorate Imam Ali’s death in early September.

But the sign will be different, Kolsawala said.

“It’ll just say, ‘We’re closed today,’ ” he said.

moises.mendoza@chron.com