Archive for Anti-Arab

Dean Obeidallah: Sacha Cohen’s Movie a Minstrel Show

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2012 by loonwatch

Danios wrote recently about Ashton Kutcher’s putting on ‘brown face,’ and ridiculing Indians in a Pop Chips commercial. He pointed out that though Kutcher’s ad was pulled we still have Sacha Baron Cohen’s anti-Arab minstrel show proceeding without much protestation or discussion–until now.

Muslim comedian Dean Obeidallah has weighed-in now, and if I didn’t know any better he must have read our article because he raises similar arguments,

To me, this is essentially the same as white performers in blackface portraying black people in buffoonish negative stereotypes for the enjoyment of white America.

But I am not advocating a ban on offensive comments or the telling of culturally insensitive jokes. I certainly am not calling for more PC comedy. I’m not calling for a boycott of anyone nor asking for one more insincere “I’m sorry to all those who were offended by me” from a celebrity.

I’m in no way arguing that Arab culture is off-limits or cannot be mocked. I’m a comedian of Arab heritage and have performed comedy shows not only for Arab-American groups across the United States, but also in the Middle East, from Egypt to Qatar to Saudi Arabia. I find the biggest laughs are elicited when performers hold up a comic mirror to Arab culture.

But for some reason, the entertainment industry appears to truly enjoy ridiculing “brown” people, Arabs and Indians, and has no qualms about casting people not of our heritage to portray us. Indeed, just last week Popchips snack company found itself embroiled in a controversy because an ad showed Ashton Kutcher playing an Indian character in brownface, similar to what Cohen is doing in “The Dictator.”

Sacha Cohen’s movie a minstrel show

by Dean Obeidallah

(CNN) – Sacha Baron Cohen’s new movie, “The Dictator,” is a modern-day minstrel show judging from the trailer and Cohen’s comments promoting the film while dressed as the film’s star, “Gen. Shabazz Aladeen,” the leader of a fictitious Arab country.

Cohen, who is not of Arab heritage, plays this Arab character while sporting a long fake beard and speaking in a strong Arabic accent, which would be fine, except the character is showcasing the worst stereotypes of Arabs.

For example, at a news conference in New York City this week promoting his film, Cohen exclaimed: “Welcome devils of the Zionist media and death to the West.” He then joked about liking TV shows that showed Arab terrorists killing Americans and admiring fashion designer John Galliano for hating the Jews.

To me, this is essentially the same as white performers in blackface portraying black people in buffoonish negative stereotypes for the enjoyment of white America.

But I am not advocating a ban on offensive comments or the telling of culturally insensitive jokes. I certainly am not calling for more PC comedy. I’m not calling for a boycott of anyone nor asking for one more insincere “I’m sorry to all those who were offended by me” from a celebrity.

I’m in no way arguing that Arab culture is off-limits or cannot be mocked. I’m a comedian of Arab heritage and have performed comedy shows not only for Arab-American groups across the United States, but also in the Middle East, from Egypt to Qatar to Saudi Arabia. I find the biggest laughs are elicited when performers hold up a comic mirror to Arab culture.

But for some reason, the entertainment industry appears to truly enjoy ridiculing “brown” people, Arabs and Indians, and has no qualms about casting people not of our heritage to portray us. Indeed, just last week Popchips snack company found itself embroiled in a controversy because an ad showed Ashton Kutcher playing an Indian character in brownface, similar to what Cohen is doing in “The Dictator.”

Read the rest here…

Dearborn Anti-Islam Conference Discriminates Against Muslim Women it Claims to Save

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2012 by loonwatch

Omar Baddar and a host of other organizations responded to the hateful anti-Islam and anti-Arab conference put on by professional bigots Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. The founders of SIOA crassly titled the event, “Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference.” Seeking to manipulate and abuse the memory of a young Muslim girl who was murdered by her step-father.

Her murder had nothing to do with Islam, but the hate-mongerers insist on trying to smear Islam at any opportunity.

In the following video we get the facts. We see how discriminatory and racist to the core the anti-Islam brigades behind the “conference” really are! We also see how scared they are of confrontation and being challenged on their hateful bigotry:

Forward: Israel Fails To Rein In Jewish Extremists

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by loonwatch

Israeli settlers attack Palestinians daily

Israeli settlers attack Palestinians daily

Something tells me the below numbers are very conservative:

Israel Fails To Rein In Jewish Extremists: Report

by JTA (Forward)

Israel is not doing enough to stop the large increase in attacks on Palestinians by Jewish extremists, according to an internal European Union report.

The report by the 22 heads of mission of EU countries’ ambassadors in Ramallah said there were 411 assaults in 2011, compared to 266 in 2010 and 132 in 2009, according to Euobserver.com, which saw the report. The Netherlands was the lone country that refused to endorse the report.

The attacks ranged from throwing stones to gunfire, and uprooting olive trees to burning mosques. Three Palestinians were reported dead and 183 injured by the attacks.

Eight Jewish settlers, including five members of the Fogel family, were killed and 37 injured.

The report said that a small “hard-core” group of Jewish settlers carried out the attacks, according to Euobserver. But the diplomats also called the settler attacks part of a broader Israeli campaign to get rid of the Palestinians, saying they “effectively force a withdrawal of the Palestinian population away from the vicinity of settlements, thereby increasing the scope for settlement expansion.”

The EU report said that more than 90 percent of complaints filed by Palestinians ended with no indictment.

Israel has set up a police task force to stop settler attacks and Israeli leaders have roundly condemned such attacks, an Israeli official told Euobserver. The EU report also acknowledged that Israeli soldiers helped prevent attacks during the Palestinian olive harvest last year.

Read more: http://www.forward.com/articles/153021/israel-fails-to-rein-in-jewish-extremists-report/#ixzz1pDnjTTRV

Israel: MK Hasson to Arab MKs: “You’re the devil”

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2012 by loonwatch

Wouldn’t it be interesting if the equivalent of MEMRI were created to monitor Hebrew news outlets and politicians. The selective editing and faulty translations wouldn’t even be necessary:

MK Hasson to Arab MKs: You’re the devil

Moran Azulay, (Ynet News)

The Knesset plenum convened Wednesday for a special session titled “the political, economical and social failures of Netanyahu’s government.” The session was called after 40 Knesset members signed a bill mandating the prime minister to face the House.

MK Limor Livnat shouted at her “You shouldn’t even be here!” and MK Ofir Akunis (Syrian parliament.” Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat shouted at her “You shouldn’t even be here!” and MK Ofir Akunis (Likud) added, “You have some nerve.” MK Zion Fanian (Likud) urges Zoabi to “go and join the Syrian parliament.”

MK Yoel Hasson’s (Kadima) speech went a step further: Addressing all Arab MKs, he said, “You are the ones impeding coexistence. You’re the devil. You’re the hurdle. Just wait and see – you will lose.”

He then turned his attention to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and urges him to end Hamas‘ rule of Gaza Strip and strike peace with the Palestinians.

MK Ofir Akunis (Likud) took the podium next, defended the Coalition and blasted the Opposition – especially the “self-hating Kadima Party.” MK Afu Aghbaria (Hadash) interrupted him and was answered with “You hate Israel – go to Gaza.”

MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beiteinu) also defended the Coalition, saying that the crisis in Syria, the Iranian threat and the volatile political situation in Egypt, “All constitute very serious problems – and dealing with serious problems requires serious people.”

MK Amir Peretz (Labor) surprised the plenum by defending the government’s actions vis-à-vis the latest round of escalation in the south: “To all those who say – ‘let’s topple Hamas’ rule, let’s take Gaza’ – ask yourself one question: what will happen afterwards?

“We could pay a heavy price. The IDFis capable of executing such an order, the question is – do we want the IDF to rule the Strip?”

Peretz also lauded Iron Dome, and urged the Netanyahu to put an end to the Defense Ministry and Treasury’s debate over its budget.

Must See Viral Video: Radio Show Host Michael Berry Promotes “No Arabs, No Muslims Allowed” Ad by Crockett Keller

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2011 by loonwatch

Crockett Keller is a right-wing gun-nut in Texas who owns Keller’s Riverside Store.  Keller is certified by the Department of Public Safety to teach people how to obtain and use a Concealed Handgun License.  He paid for an “interesting” radio ad, which ran for six days, in which he specifically says he refuses to teach “socialist liberals” and “non-Christian Arab[s] or Mozlem[s].”  In the ad, Crockett Keller says:

If you are a non-Christian Arab or Muslim, I will not teach you the class with no shame; I am Crockett Keller, thank you and God bless America.

He said later:

The fact is if you are a devout Muslim then you cannot be a true American. Why should I arm these people to kill me?  That’s suicide.

KVUE-TV News notes:

It’s a stance Keller isn’t alone on. During this interview the instructor fielded nearly 40 calls congratulating him for the ad.

In fact, Keller’s anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry will no doubt be a boon for business, something that speaks volumes about how prevalent Islamophobia has become.

Keller and his supporters claim he has a right to discriminate against Muslims, but the Department of Public Safety, the same government agency that certified him to teach, says otherwise; they released the following statement:

The Texas Department of Public Safety certifies individuals to teach coursework and provide training required to be taken by individuals seeking to qualify for a Texas concealed handgun license. Certified instructors are required to comply with all applicable state and federal statutes. Conduct by an instructor that denied service to individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity or religion would place that instructor’s certification by the Department at risk of suspension or revocation. The Department became aware of the statements in question yesterday and has begun an investigation into the matter. The Department will take appropriate administrative action based on the findings from the investigation.

Here’s a video of the ad, which would normally be amusing but we must take seriously the fact that many Americans feel the same way as him:

What’s not getting as much attention is the fact that this radio ad is shamelessly being promoted by radio host Michael Berry:

Berry gushed over this ad, calling it “the best gun commercial ever” and promised viewers “you’re gonna love it.”  This is the same Michael Berry who said he hoped someone would blow up a mosque.  Can you imagine, just for a second, a Muslim-American radio show host still on the air if he said he thought a synagogue should be blown up or if he promoted the same radio ad except it was “Jews” instead of “Muslims?”  How fast do you think such a person’s career would be over?

Book Review: Ornament of the World by Maria Rosa Menocal

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2011 by loonwatch

Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain, by Maria Rosa Menocal, ISBN-13: 978-0316566889

Maria Rosa Menocal published this gem of a book just before the events of September 11th, 2001, when a cadre of young Arab Muslim men driven by the politics of occupation, empire and rage combined their grievances with a religio-ideological veneer and flew out of a clear blue sky into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

The infamous day was seared into our collective conscious just as deeply as the burning aftermath that smoldered into the earth at Ground Zero, and with it a whole new era was upon us. One in which our confidence, our ideas, our principles and our policies were shook in a seismic way.

How did we react as a society and as a nation?

We clamped down on civil liberties, expanded surveillance on citizens to unfathomable and previously unheard of levels. We compromised the Constitution, built and invested even more in the Military Industrial Complex and invaded two nations while outsourcing torture. We paid lip service to Democracy while compromising with despots and apartheid regimes.

Initially, politicians, including President George W. Bush made statements to the effect that “we aren’t at war with Islam” and “Islam is a religion of peace.” Despite these fluffy statements, Islamophobia increased and cynical politicians and organizations oiled the machinery that would churn out the new bogeymen: Islam and Muslims.

Fear-mongering, especially amongst the Right continued apace and was given a new impetus with the election of Barack Hussein Obama (the “secret Mooslim”). This past summer 2010 saw the greatest backlash against Muslims since 9/11, the scene once again was Ground Zero.

A group of Muslim developers led by Sharif El-Gamal and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf created a project that according to them would mirror all the best in Islamic values, while also being an inclusive space that welcomed all faiths. It would be designed to facilitate events, programs, lectures, debates, studies, and in theory would be quite similar to the 92nd StreetY– they named the project Cordoba House.

Cordoba House was the perfect name for a project with such lofty aims. It immediately evokes images of the beautiful palm-like arches of the Cordoba Mosque and stirs the memory of Andalusia.

Anti-Muslims opposed to the mosque raised hackles at the name Cordoba, and with their usual blustering ignorance and foolhardy arrogance put forward the bizarre and illogical lie, that, by using the name Cordoba for their project, the developers were trying to build a “triumphal mosque” to mark the conquest of Islam.

Such mendacity is dangerous because it seeks to alter reality by revisiting history and washing it of truth so as to fit a particular agenda. Cordoba was the capital of Andalus, a culture, in fact a civilization that stands as a beacon and a warning to humanity.

Menocal’s book deals with this subject, and in contradistinction to the Islamophobes, relates that Cordoba and Andalus was for a moment in history the epitome of tolerance, culture, civility and harmony.

The story of Andalus is about,

a genuine, foundational European cultural moment that qualifies as “first rate,” in the sense of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wonderful formula (laid out in his essay “The Crack-Up”)–namely, that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time.” (p.10-11)

Cordoba is therefore not separate from the West, it is not the “other” as some wish to cast it, but rather it is quintessentially Western.

Andalusian culture viewed contradictions within oneself and ones culture as having the possibility of being “positive and productive.” These contradictions consisted of differing religions, philosophies, languages, races, etc. Something which we take for granted in our societies but which is under pressure from fanatical and retrograde forces who mirror the forces that brought down the Andalusian civilization.

The founding stone of this culture was one of the last survivors of the Umayyad dynasty, Abd al-Rahman who traversed from Damascus to Muslim Spain “Aeneas-like,”  to become “the first, rather than the last, of his line.”

His arduous journey and homesickness for his native land were evident throughout his life. He wrote in verse his feelings of “exile”:

A palm tree stands in the middle of Rusafa,

Born in the West, far from the land of palms.

I said to it: How like me you are, far away in exile,

In long separation from family and friends.

You have sprung from soil in which you are a stranger;

And I, like you, am far from home. (p.61)

Not for much longer were his descendants to feel like “strangers.” Andalus and its jewel, Cordoba became home to a glorious civilization in which everyone, Muslims, Jews and Christians alike took part:

It was there that the profoundly Arabized Jews rediscovered and reinvented Hebrew; there that Christians embraced nearly every aspect of Arabic style–not only while living in Islamic dominions but especially after wresting political control from them; there that men of unshakable faith, like Abelard and Maimonides and Averroes, saw no contradiction in pursuing the truth, whether philosophical or scientific or religious, across confessional lines. (p.11) (emphasis mine)

Andalus produced such prominent Jewish poets, military leaders, governmental leaders, philosophers, theologians, architects, and intellectuals as: Dunash Ben Labrat, Hasdai Ibn Sharput, Maimonides, Samuel the Nagid, Ibn Ezra, Judah Halevi, Moses of Leon and a plethora of others. I cannot do justice to their contributions to humanity in this short review, for more on their works and lives read Menocal’s book.

These Arabized Jews ushered in a Jewish Golden Age and contributed to the redemption of Hebrew which had become a near dead language, relegated to the realm of liturgy,

The brilliance of the Golden Age came from Hebrew’s redemption from its profound exile, locked inside temples, never speaking about life itself. Maimonides, born in Cordoba just five years before Halevi left al-Andalus, described this post-exilic, pre-Andalusian state of things in his Laws on Prayer: ‘When anyone of them prayed in Hebrew, he was unable adequately to express his needs or recount the praises of God, without mixing Hebrew with other languages.’ It was not that Jews should speak other languages but that the Hebrew they spoke was no longer the language of true love, of complex emotion, of seemingly contrary ideas and feelings: maternal, erotic, spiritual, material, transcendent. Maimonides, Andalusian that he was, believed that God needed and wanted to be spoken to in a language alive with that whole range of possible emotions. It was an attitude that later allowed English to find its voice in the love sonnets of Shakespeare as well as in the prayers of the King James Bible. The prayers prove more satisfying, perhaps even more true, for being in the language of the love songs.

Hebrew’s redemption had come at the hands of writers who were masters of Arabic rhetoric, the Andalusian Jews, men as thoroughly and successfully a part of the cult of Arabic grammar, rhetoric, and style as any of their Muslim neighbors and associates. A century before Halevi took his final leave to find Jerusalem, Samuel the Nagid had first made Hebrew perform all the magic tricks that his native tongue, Arabic, could and did. He had been made vizier because his skill in writing letters and court documents in Arabic surpassed that of all others. He then went on to write poems in the new Hebrew style, among them verses recounting his glories leading his taifa’s armies to victory. In one fell swoop, Samuel’s Hebrew poetry, with its Arabic accents and prosody –the features essential to making alive for the Arabic-speaking Andalusian Jews–vindicated and completely exceeded all the small steps that others had taken in the centuries before him to revive the ancestral language, to reinvent it as a living tongue. Everyone, from Halevi to the nineteenth- century Germans who made the Andalusians into the noble heroes of Jewish history, knew that Hebrew had been redeemed from its exile thanks to the Andalusian Jews’ extraordinary secular successes, first during the several Umayyad centuries and then in the taifas. Because they had absorbed, mastered, and loved the principles that made Arabic easily able to sing to God and Beloved in the same language, they had been able to revive Hebrew so it could, once again, sing like the Hebrew of David’s songs, and Solomon’s songs. It was a great triumph…(p.161-62) (emphasis mine)

One of those whose story I found very intriguing was Judah Halevi who encapsulated all the contradictions and creativeness that was Andalusia. He was a profound poet, much admired by his peers and was considered one of the “greatest champions” of the Andalusian ethic. However, he transformed over time and turned his back on Andalusian culture, “he declared that it was all folly and inimical to Jewishness and had to be forsaken, in spirit certainly and — if possible, as he intended to do — physically. People were astonished, and some of them offended.”(p.163)

This sort of destructive change and move away from the Andalusian ethos afflicted Muslims and Christians as well.

[T]he first significant instances of cultural puritanism in the Iberian Peninsula were imported from places with little of the Andalusian experience. The Berber Muslims of North Africa never quite understood the Andalusian application of the dhimma, and they mostly disapproved of the syncretic culture that resulted from it. From the Berber sack of Cordoba at the beginning of the eleventh century on, a variety of “reform” movements swarming northward from across the Strait of Gibraltar always threatened to remake Andalusian politics and culture in their own image of Islam. At the same time, the Berber obtuseness was mirrored by the incomprehension with which the peninsula’s Christans were viewed by their coreligionists north of the Pyrenees. This was especially evident after Castile began to expand into territories that had been under Islamic rule for three and four centuries, and to incorporate their thoroughly Arabized populations, Muslims, Jews, and Mozarab Christians alike. An often stark difference in worldview separated the Roman Church as it had evolved outside the peninsula from the Christian communities within it. And these differences grew more profound in the decades and centuries that followed the Christian expansion southward…

During the second half of the twelfth century and the beginning of the thirteenth, more puritanical visions of these cultures converged in Iberia. The determinedly crusading forces from Latin Christendom and the equally fanatic Berber Almohads became influential parts of the landscape and inevitably met, head-on, on the plains between New Castile and old al-Andalus, at Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, with disastrous results for the Almohads. The effects of the long-term presence of two expansive religious ideologies, each originally foreign to the Andalusian ethic, transformed the nature of the conflicts at hand. They made religious-ideological warfare a reality, cultural orthodoxy a real possibility, and monochromatic identity a realizable ideal.(267-68)

I have not recounted the amazing and spectacular contribution of Muslim scholars, philosophers, scientists, poets, musicians, theologians, architects, statesmen and leaders. This review would become very long if we recounted the lives of: Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Ibn Tufayl,  Ibn Hazm, Abd al-Rahman, Abd al-Rahman III, Muhammad Ibn Abbad, Ibn Arabi, Ibn al-Khatib, al-Idrisi and the many others.

AlCazar, the Church on top of the hill

Nor have I recounted the glorious arabized Christian production and contribution in this period: the Alcazar, the syncretic identity of theMozarabs, the development of Mudejar architecture, the “for hire” activities and sagas of ElCidPeter of Castile, the Abbot of Cluny’sQur’an, the translations by Christians of Arabic works into European languages and how it effected the diffusion of knowledge in Europe and the age of exploration.

How can I do all this justice, when even Menocal’s book seems to only give us a tantalizing glimpse and a thirst for more?

The dynamic, intellectual, creative, unique output in regards to language, literature, philosophy, theology, politics, and science serves as an ultimate rebuke to the concerted effort of Anti-Arabs and Islamophobes who claim that Muslim peoples accomplished nothing, were intellectually bereft, culturally barren and uncreative. The well worn talking point that makes frequent rounds in Islamophobic circles, the idea that ‘anything of value that Muslims created or invented was stolen’ is forever put to rest and quietly mocked by al-Andalus.

Menocal’s book on Andalusia gives us insight into the possibilities of various religions, ideas, identities to not only coexist but to exalt in differences and to view them positively. It also warns us against the insular, narrow view of nationalism, fanaticism, supremacism, both religious and cultural. It is a warning that we would do well to listen to and comprehend for our own time and place.

For our readers to savor a bit of the Andalusian experience, I provide two beautiful examples of Andalusian Music:

Ibn Arabi–”Her Words Bring Me Back to Life”:

Mozarabic Chant: “Alleluia” and Mauritanian Samaa:

David Horowitz: “Islam is Religion of Hate…Palestinians are Morally Sick”

Posted in Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2011 by loonwatch
David Horowitz

David Horowitz, founder and editor of FrontPageMag as well as Robert Spencer’s financier and boss is at it again, targeting Palestinians and Islam. Horowitz said of the Palestinians,

“No people have shown themselves as so morally sick as the Palestinians”, adding, “In the history of all mankind, there was never a people who strapped bombs on their bodies and killed innocent people. No other people has sunk so low as the Palestinians, and everyone is afraid to say it.”

About Islam Horowitz was likewise unrestrained, describing Islam as a religion possessed by,

“hate, violence and racism”,

This is the radical anti-Muslim and racist anti-Palestinian agenda that drives both Horowitz and Spencer. While Spencer’s anti-Muslim and anti-Islam animus is clear and copiously documented it is unknown whether he shares the same opinion about Palestinians/Arabs as his boss. What is certain however is that Spencer does not mind these statements, nor does he condemn them and therefore he is complicit in his boss’s hateful rhetoric about Arabs.

The full article can be read at Israel National News,

FrontPage Editor at Bklyn College: Palestinians are Morally Sick

by Fern Sidman, INN New York Correspondent

David Horowitz,  conservative commentator, prolific author and founder of theFrontPage Mag web site, spoke out  in response to ongoing Israeli Apartheid Week on campus. A full house gathered at the Brooklyn College library auditorium on Thursday evening,  under exceptionally heavy security, to hear him.

The speech, delivered one day before the barbaricmassacre of five members of the Fogel family on Friday night in Itamar, became tragically prescient..

Describing the Palestinians, Horowitz said:  ”No people have shown themselves as so morally sick as the Palestinians”, adding, “In the history of all mankind, there was never a people who strapped bombs on their bodies and killed innocent people. No other people has sunk so low as the Palestinians, and everyone is afraid to say it.”

Describing Islam as a religion possessed by “hate, violence and racism”, he said that a resolution to the protracted Israeli-Palestinian imbroglio could is not beyond reach. “If you disarm the Palestinians in the Middle East there will be peace, but if you disarm the Jews, there wil be further death and destruction.”