Archive for America

Raphael Magrik: Commentary Whitewashes Discrimination

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2012 by loonwatch

Muslims women gather for a special Eid ul-Fitr morning prayer at the Los Angeles Convention Center on August 30, 2011 in Los Angeles, California (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

Muslims women gather for a special Eid ul-Fitr morning prayer at the Los Angeles Convention Center on August 30, 2011 in Los Angeles, California (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

Commentary Whitewashes Discrimination

by , The Daily Beast

Only three weeks since Passover, and some people already need refreshers.

Over at Commentary, Jonathan Tobin argues that Islamophobia in the United States must be a myth because… look! the Muslims are breeding like rabbits. Citing newly released census data showing that the population of American Muslims more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, Tobin asks: “Is it possible or even likely that Islam would be thriving in the United States if it were not a society that is welcoming Muslims with open arms and providing a safe environment for people to openly practice this faith?”

Yes, it’€™s very possible. Let’s start with the Passover story: in particular, Exodus 1:12, in which the Egyptians discover that, “€œthe more they afflicted [the Israelites], the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad.” It looks like Tobin skipped that section of the haggadah.

And this Biblical wisdom holds up well under scrutiny: historically, discrimination and prejudice haven’€™t done much to hinder population growth. The African American population quadrupled (from under five million to nearly twenty million) between the end of the Civil War and the 1964 Civil Rights Act: does Tobin think that a century of Jim Crow, housing discrimination and the Ku Klux Klan provided Blacks “€œa safe environment”€? The fact is, Islam is growing everywhere: doubling over the last thirty years in Europe, and on pace to reach 2.2 billion worldwide by 2030 (it’€™s currently 1.6 billion). Its growth in America is just one piece of this broader trend.

Here’s another fact: Islamophobia is alive and well in America. Tobin claims that there are “€œno obstacles to Muslim advancement or systematic ill treatment.” Tell it toHani Khan, who was fired from her job at Abercrombie & Fitch when she wouldn’€™t remove her headscarf. In 2009, Muslims filed 803 religious discrimination claims with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That’€™s about 25% of the total claims, even though Muslims make up, according to the Pew Research Center, less than 1% of the American population. Resumes with Muslim names get lower response rates from employment firms than resumes with names from any other ethnic or religious group. And it extends beyond employment. In a 2010 Gallup poll, 43% of Americans self-reported some prejudice against Muslims, compared to 15% for Jews and 18% for Christians.

What’€™s sad is that we’€™ve seen all this before. Muslims aren’€™t the first religious group to be accused of cooperating with America’€™s international enemies. Just as Muslims today are called terrorists, American Jews were once tarred as the servants of Moscow. Similarly, attempts to outlaw Sharia recall centuries of anti-Semitic paranoia about Jewish religious law. In every generation, my haggadah teaches me, bigots rise up to discriminate against and attack minorities. If Jonathan Tobin cannot see that, if he continues to turn a blind eye to the oppression of Muslims among us, well then, I’€™ve got a couple more Bible verses he ought to read.

Sean Hannity Interview Geert Wilders About Radical Islam (FOX NEWS)

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2012 by loonwatch

Is it a happy coincidence that both Geert Wilders and Robert Spencer are out hawking their books for sale?

(h/t: Haywood)

Sean Hannity Interview Geert Wilders About Radical Islam (FOX NEWS)

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales and America’s “Abysmal” Record in Prosecuting War Crimes

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2012 by loonwatch

(H/T: JD) How should one even discuss the ethical implications of the “death penalty” when such a consideration is absurd in light of the USA’s abysmal record in prosecuting war crimes committed by its soldiers and leaders.

Usually those involved in massacres are treated with sympathy, given a slap on the wrist and or exonerated in one form or another:

Robert Bales, Afghanistan Shootings Suspect, Not Likely To Face Death Penalty

(HuffingtonPost)

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the death penalty is possible if a U.S. military court finds an Army staff sergeant guilty of gunning down Afghan children and family members. But it isn’t likely.

History shows that the U.S. military system is slow to convict Americans, particularly service members, of alleged war crimes. And when a punishment is imposed, it can range anywhere from life in prison all the way down to house arrest. Other factors can seem to play more of a role than the crime itself.

In the case of Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the suspect in the March 11 Kandahar shootings, legal experts say the 38-year-old married father of two young children could face a lengthy prison sentence if convicted of the crime, which has threatened U.S.-Afghan relations. But on his fourth combat tour and with a head injury on his record – the sergeant remembers little about that night, Bales’ lawyer says – he might well be shown some leniency by the military jury, even if convicted.

“Political pressure is going to drive the push for the death penalty. Doesn’t mean they’re going to get it,” said Charles Gittins, a Virginia-based defense attorney who represents service members and has handled capital cases.

Of the long list of alleged U.S. atrocities – from prison massacres in World War II to the slaughter of civilians at My Lai in Vietnam – relatively few high-profile war crimes believed to involve Americans in the past century have resulted in convictions, let alone the death penalty.

In the case of My Lai, President Richard Nixon reduced the only prison sentence given to three years of house arrest. In the 2005 Haditha shooting of Iraqi civilians, eight Marines were charged but plea deals and promises of immunity in exchange for testimony meant no prison sentences.

Prosecution against Blackwater employees in the 2007 shootings in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square similarly floundered as civilian prosecutors tried to assemble the case. Charges eventually were thrown out on the grounds that prosecutors mishandled evidence, although a federal appeals court last year resurrected the case.

Legal experts say a big part of the challenge is assembling forensic evidence and eyewitness testimony from remote, often dangerous parts of the battlefield thousands of miles away from the United States. And there’s an emotional component, too, in prosecuting U.S. citizens who have risked their lives in combat.

“Terms like `fog of war’ mean nothing legally,” said Eugene Fidell, who teaches military law at Yale University. “But there’s a reluctance to invoke the full moral sanction of criminal justice in these cases.”

The military hasn’t executed a service member since 1961. And like that case in 1961, in which an Army ammunition handler was hanged for raping an 11-year-old girl in Austria, none of the six men on death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., today were convicted for atrocities against foreign civilians. All of their crimes involved the killing of U.S. civilians or fellow service members.

The military doesn’t even have the equipment necessary to carry out an execution. If a service member were to be put to death, the military would rely on the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind.

Of note is that U.S. service members – as well as contractors supporting them in war zones – are subject to a different set of rules than civilians when it comes to capital punishment. Unlike in the civilian world, the president must personally agree to the death sentence of a service member.

Gittins estimates that since 1961, more than half of the death penalty cases involving U.S. service members have been overturned by military appeals courts. He attributes that high percentage in part to the lack of experience that military judges and prosecutors have in pursuing capital cases. Inexperience means making mistakes, he says, which higher courts use to knock down rulings.

“If someone does two (military death penalty cases) in their entire career, that would be miraculous,” he said. The question Panetta and others will have to ask, Gittins says, is whether pursuing the death penalty for Bales is worthwhile, given the likelihood such a punishment wouldn’t stick anyway.

Human Rights Watch in Washington, which opposes the death penalty, says it’s not clear the U.S. has the political stomach to follow through with the prosecution of war crimes involving its own citizens.

Andrea Prasow, the organization’s senior counterterrorism counsel, said there was only one word to describe America’s track record for punishing war crimes: “abysmal.”

She says she is most troubled by a lack of accountability in suspected abuse of detainees, including the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq and secret interrogations led by the CIA.

“Every time a case is not prosecuted, it contributes to a culture of impunity,” Prasow said.

Much of U.S. policy in recent years has focused on protecting troops from prosecution by foreign states. In the 1990s, the U.S. objected to the creation of an international court to prosecute war crimes, in part because of the potential that such a court might try to claim jurisdiction over American troops fighting abroad.

And while Congress in 1996 agreed that the standards for treating prisoners of war as outlined by the Geneva Conventions should be put into law, lawmakers revised the rules 10 years later under pressure by the Bush administration out of concern that U.S. interrogators could be prosecuted for alleged war crimes.

The U.S. also has insisted on maintaining immunity from local prosecution for its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, signing specific agreements with those countries that preserve the military’s legal jurisdiction in all cases involving service members.

While the U.S. track record for prosecuting alleged war crimes is spotty, some say the tide is changing.

In one 2006 case, four soldiers were given substantial prison sentences for raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killing her and her family. Steven Dale Green, a former 101st Airborne soldier, is serving five life terms after jurors couldn’t agree on whether to impose the death penalty.

Stephen Carter, a Yale law professor who writes frequently about the ethics of war, notes that many of the cases that are prosecuted are aided by other service members tipping off authorities.

“Nearly all of our military forces serve with enormous honor and courage. It bears mention that at Abu Ghraib, just as at My Lai, it was fellow soldiers who blew the whistle on the perpetrators,” Carter wrote in a Newsweek Magazine editorial.

The Daily Show: Why Did the USA Cut All Funding to UNESCO?

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2012 by loonwatch

Jon Stewart

Can anyone guess why?

America’s Problem with UNESCO – Pt. 1

http://media.mtvnservices.com/embed/mgid:cms:video:thedailyshow.com:410705

The Daily Show
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook

Let’s Face it: It’s the Radical Right, not Islam, that is the Greatest Threat to the American Way

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Media with tags , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2011 by loonwatch

Hand Star Crescent

One of the most thorough and insightful pieces regarding the Lowe’s fiasco and the Muslim reality show, All American Muslim.

Let’s Face it: It’s the Radical Right, not Islam, that is the Greatest Threat to the American Way

by Ahmed Rehab (MindfulOfDreams)

Imagine if a major American advertiser were to pull its ads off of Jersey Shore because they received objections that the show while portraying a group of Italian-Americans, made the glaring error of excluding Mafiosi.

Imagine if the absence of characters “whacking knee caps” and “making offers you cannot refuse” was deemed as an “omission” and therefore pro-Italian propaganda, and as a result too controversial to sponsor.

Pathetic? Incredulous?

Well imagine no more.

Such is the pitiful state that Islamophobia has reached in this country, and it’s very real.

All-American Muslim is an American reality show like any other. It portrays the trials and travails of five Michigan families with typical reality show themes like marriage, birth, business, faith, food and of course drama queens.

There is one problem however, at least for the Florida Family Association:  the characters in the show are American Muslims.

The Florida Family Association got its members to send in dozens of emails to the show’s advertisers based on a pre-written template that stated in part:

“The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to the liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.”

So basically, their objection is that the show is portraying “ordinary Muslims” as – you may need to sit down for this – “ordinary Muslims”! Of course this runs the risk that unsuspecting Americans may come to view their ordinary Muslim neighbors as ordinary. According to this Florida group of nuts, this would be a travesty that American corporations must not contribute to.

We are more or less used to the unfortunate fact that there are anti-Muslim loons lurking about out there. There’s the burn-a-Quran-day pastor from Florida, there’s the group from Florida that tried to ban a Muslim professor from the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission because he was Muslim, and there’s that guy who tried to organize against Muslim family day at a Six Flags Texas theme park in Texas. Yes, yes, he was from Florida.

But what is real cause for alarm is the creeping influence of Islamophobia into mainstream American politics and culture.  From the Peter King radicalization hearings that use taxpayer funds to put mainstream American Muslims and their institutions on mock trial, to the frequent anti-Muslim rantings of the Congressman from Florida, Allen “Islam is not really a religion” West all the way to presidential hopeful Newt “Palestinians don’t really exist” Gingrich. And now, we have the weak-kneed primetime corporate sponsors.

That a group of extremists from Florida would exercise their first amendment right to carry out bigoted campaigns is unfortunate but not all that shocking. That 65 out of 67 advertisers (according to the Florida Family Association’s website of which only Lowe’s is independently confirmed) would capitulate to their nonsensical complaints that “ordinary Muslims are being portrayed as ordinary” is an alarming new milestone in the mainstreaming of bigotry in this country. For that reason, it ought to catch the attention of Americans who, for far too long, have stayed on the sidelines of the Islamophobia horror picture show.

Lowe’s admitted that they cut their ads short as a result of the emails they were receiving and after reviewing some websites and blogs out there (in the “bigotosphere”). Lowe’s is not just a tool in the hands of the far right, it’s the entire hardware store.

What Lowe’s is essentially saying by choosing to pull its sponsorship is that NOT portraying American Muslims as terrorists is just, well, too controversial for its brand:

“We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance. We strongly support and respect the right of our customers, the community at large, and our employees to have different views. If we have made anyone question that commitment, we apologize.”

Lowe’s is putting forth a very dangerous argument: that the far right bigots and the mainstream Muslim voices with their pro-tolerance allies of all faiths are equal opposites; that those who wish to humanize a faith community that comprises 25% of humanity and those who wish to demonize them are equal opposites; that the forces of bigotry and the forces of anti-bigotry are equal opposites. The pervasive assumption that there is a moral equivalency between the two sparring sides is a major factor in the rise of Islamophobia in the US. But Lowe’s goes further than to claim moral equivalency. It actually takes sides, the wrong side: the side of the bigots.

The running complaint used to be that Muslims are always portrayed as terrorists. But now, the message being sent is that “not portraying American Muslims as terrorists” is sufficient for complaint and controversy. It’s moving the goal posts to a dangerous new “lowe”.

There are three lessons to be extracted from this episode:

First, it is a confirmation of what we have been stating all along:  Islamophobia is not merely a reaction to terrorism or radical ideologies (which would have been a welcome exercise), but, in fact, it is a form of bigotry that targets an entire faith community: the religion of Islam itself and its mainstream practitioners.

Second, Islamophobia is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s sort of like “we hate you because you are terrorists, but when you’re not terrorists, we want you to be terrorists so we can hate you.” In the case of American Muslim leaders and organizations, the line is “we hate you because you are terror-linked, but when you’re not, we need you to be terror-linked so we can hate you.”

Third, Islamophobia is but a smokescreen, a projection of sorts. We are often told that Muslims are trying to Islamize America and institute Islamic Shariah law (“Sharrorize” America as Imam Suhaib Webb puts it). We are told that the less than 1% of American Muslims is but a fifth column who is here to take over and subjugate the remaining 99% plus. Setting aside the obvious ludicrousness of the claim for a second, ask yourself when was the last time American Muslims organized to pull advertisements off the air from shows that do not conform with their faith values (and trust me there are many)? Our organizing campaigns are themed around anti-bigotry and social justice, not the imposition of our faith.

To the contrary, it is the Christian right, the same folks who comprise many of the leading anti-Muslim alarmists, groups like the Florida Family Association (and trust me there are many) that are time and again organizing to force their way of thinking on other Americans. A quick visit to their website shows that this is not the first time they have successfully harassed advertisers for advertising on shows that do not conform to their ideology. They’ve targeted gays, sexually liberal shows, and others they disagree with.

It is not a coincidence that the organized Islamophobia networks in this country often include the same people who are trying to force-feed the Bible into government, schools, and public life.

And so comes the most important realization:

The organized American Muslim community’s agenda is in fact a social justice agenda. Any objective scrutiny of our organizations, campaigns, projects, and discourse reveals that this is widely and consistently the case.

On the other hand, as I already mentioned, you will find that it is it is none other than the far right that is out to force their narrowly conceived socio-religious ideology and way of life on Americans.

They conveniently promulgate the whole Islamist supremacist takeover fantasy and the Shariah scare as a divergence, a distraction, a smokescreen.

Projection is the name of the game.

They often use soft namesakes like “family” and “freedom” to give the impression of docility, and they inundate their websites and blogs with American flags and eagles to give the impression that they are the tried and true patriotic Americans who are best poised to speak for the majority.

They are not the majority, but they are not less than 1% either. They are in the millions, have access to billions of dollars, and have sufficiently organized at both the grassroots level and onas well as the internet in recent years to start to flex some muscle. (It is often stated that if fascism were to ever come to America, it would be wrapped in the US flag and bearing a cross.)

There is a ray of light. More Americans are beginning to wake up to the Islamophobia disease and the attempts at divergence from the real threat to our freedoms and democracy.

A year ago, the scorching Park51 controversy, while contrived and sensationalized at the end of the day, failed to impress the media or the public. In the case of the Lowe’s controversy, Americans are joining hands in speaking out against bigotry. Muslim, Catholic, and Jewish groups, as well as notable individuals, including 2010 Spirit of Anne Frank awardee Anya Cordell, California State Senator Ted Lieu, music mogul Russell Simmons, actress Mia Farrow, and several other celebrities, have come out strongly to say “enough is enough.”

For Lowe’s and other companies that gave in to bigotry, the choice is simple: own up to your error and do the right thing – or risk being chalked up on the wrong side of history (not to mention the wrong side of an impending boycott).

Message from Iran: Tell All Americans We Love Them

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Media, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2011 by loonwatch
Green MovementDemonstrators from Iran’s Green Movement

The Islamic Republic of Iran isn’t a top tourist destination for most Americans.

Iran is portrayed in the Western media as a country run by fanatical, bloodthirsty Mullahs, ruling in concert with the often outrageous President  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As for the Iranian people, angry mobs are often shown in the streets, burning American flags and shouting “Death to America!”

No wonder it is easy to convince Americans that Iranians are consumed by hatred and eager to reduce American cities to rubble.  Yet Americans brave enough to visit Iran quickly discover Iranians are a friendly, gracious people. They love Americans, and they are not bashful about sharing their  affection. Tourists from California said they were amazed by their experience:

“We were besieged, mobbed almost, by whole classrooms of up to 50 or 60 individuals who would come up to us and smother us with hugs and kisses,” reports Caroleen Williams, of Coronado. “‘Are you Americans?’ they asked. ‘We love Americans.’ Women walking down the sidewalks in full black burqas would wave to us and tap their hearts.”

In fact, Williams says they were repeatedly urged to take home a message: “Tell all Americans we love them.”

The experience is not unusual. An American Rabbi who visited Iran described a similar experience in his blog. He concluded that Iran is misunderstood by Americans, and especially by American Jews, many of whom are convinced the Iranians harbor a special hatred for them:

The most essential thing I’ve learned is in some ways the most basic: Iran is a beautiful country with a venerable history and wonderful, gracious people. It is also a powerfully complicated country, marked by a myriad of cultural/political/religious/historical layers. I am now more convinced than ever that we in the West harbor egregiously stereotypical assumptions about this country – and that we harbor them at our mutual peril.  ~ Rabbi Shalom Rav

A journalist from the Christian Science Monitor confirmed that the affection Iranians have for Americans is not confined to secular liberals:

After speaking with numerous Iranians from all walks of life – lower and upper class, religious and secular, Westernized and traditional, government- affiliated and civilian – I became convinced that this vilified member of the ‘Axis of Evil‘ is actually one of the most welcoming places for Americans to travel in the Middle East. Indeed, all Iranians with whom I spoke shared a positive opinion of Ameri-cans.

Iranian admiration for America is not a new phenomenon. In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks more than a decade ago, Iranians held spontaneous candlelight vigils, mourning, praying for the victims, and expressing solidarity with the American people.

The New York Times reported that an opinion poll showed 74% of Iranians want to renew relations and start a dialogue with the US. Iranian authorities were so incensed by the results, they arrested the pollster. The regime has always capitalized on legitimate grievances against Western foreign policy to rally Iranians against America, but many Iranians are no longer listening.

Refusing anti-Americanism is one way to swipe at the hated regime. Iran has an overwhelmingly young, vibrant population fed up with the oppressive theocracy that began more than three decades ago when the late Ayatollah Khomeini and his allies established the system of Vilayat-i-Faqih, “Rule of the Jurist”.

In some ways Iranians are more American than Americans themselves, because Iranians truly cherish liberty and have struggled for over 100 years to be free. ~ Iranians love America – But – Americans Hate Iran

Paradoxically, the US is largely responsible for setting back Iranian democracy and self-rule by decades. In 1953, the US and Britain overthrew Iran’s democracy, imposed the tyrannical Shah of Iran as the new leader, and divided up the country’s oil wealth among themselves. The operation was not a secret, and is chronicled in mainstream sources here, here, and here.

Hostage CrisisAmerican Protester

In 1979, the Iranian people deposed the Shah. Later that same year, rumors circulated that the US was poised to retake the Iranian government, and the infamous Iranian Hostage Crisis ensued.

In the wake of the crisis, the late Ayatollah Khomeini dubbed America the Great Satan, a term that has been co-opted ever since by Islamophobes determined to portray Iranian leaders as hateful and irrational. The Iranian Hostage Crisis enraged Americans, and spawned Iranophobia, a special strain of fear and hatred that has never entirely faded from public memory.

Apparently emboldened by the dispute, Saddam Hussein subsequently waged war on Iran. The US supported and armed Saddam Hussein, who was an ally at the time. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians were killed during the Iran-Iraq War.

In the years since, US policy has remained aggressive and hypocritical in the eyes of many Iranians, and for good reason. Sanctions hurt the people of Iran and do little to weaken the regime, and frequent saber rattling by the US and Israel is unsettling:

When Iranians burn the American flag in street demonstrations – they are NOT showing hatred toward Americans; they are in fact pointing out the the U.S. government has and is continuing to try to destroy Iran and Iranians.

Who is the U.S. government fooling? Maybe Americans – but not Iranians. We know the truth and understand fully the harm that is being imposed on Iran – every single day.

As much as Iranians despise their current regime and adore Americans on a personal level, they are united in the opposition to foreign intervention. If the US attacks Iran, Iranians will rally around the flag. As the aforementioned article  in the New York Times states:

Left to its own devices, the Islamic revolution is headed for collapse, and there is a better chance of a strongly pro-American democratic government in Tehran in a decade than in Baghdad. The ayatollahs’ best hope is that hard-liners in Washington will continue their inept diplomacy, creating a wave of Iranian nationalism that bolsters the regime — as happened to a lesser degree after President Bush put Iran in the axis of evil.

Like the people of Iran, most Americans support diplomacy and are opposed to war. While it’s true that most Americans don’t reciprocate the love Iranians feel for them, it is largely because they glimpse into Iranian society exclusively through the corporate media.

Hardliners on both sides fan the flames of hatred and mutual distrust because it serves their nefarious agendas. The interests of the people lie in recognizing each others’ common humanity.

LGF: Pamela Geller-Robert Spencer Allies Arrested in London for Planning Attacks

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2011 by loonwatch

Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller have had a lot to say about the Occupy movement, except when a group they wholeheartedly support were planning to attack peaceful protesters.

Pamela Geller-Robert Spencer Allies Arrested in London for Planning Attacks

by Charles Johnson

Anti-Muslim demagogues Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer have expressed their unqualified support for the fascist English Defence League on many occasions, despite the EDL’s frequently violent demonstrations and the presence of many outright neo-Nazis among their ranks.

Yesterday in Britain, police arrested nearly 200 members of the EDL for planning to attack Occupy protesters at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

This is the kind of thuggish, violent bigotry Geller and Spencer are working to bring to America.

Police arrested 179 members of the English Defence League after reports of repeated threats to attack Occupy protesters camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral on Armistice Day.

Scotland Yard said they believed a breach of the peace was about to take place after they got intelligence that the EDL were planning the Armistice Day attack. The law states officers can arrest if they believe the breach of the peace to be “imminent.” …

The English Defence League had issued statements and made threats on Facebook to burn down protesters tents if they were still outside St Paul’s on Remembrance Sunday, according to Phillips.

Some members of the EDL had also attempted to enter the encampment, most recently on Thursday night.

A statement by the EDL on Thursday was read to the Occupy LSX general assembly on Friday morning to make people aware that there was a threat being made. “They called us all sorts of names in the statement and said we should leave “their” church and stop violating their religion,” said Phillips.