Archive for Anti-Semitism

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…

Advertisements

Guenter Grass Being Labeled an Anti-Semite for Critical Poem of Israel

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2012 by loonwatch

The New York Times like many newspapers will not print Guenter Grass’ anti-War poem, I wonder if the hatemongers are going to compare this to the Danish cartoons that were supposedly “silenced” in attacks on “free speech” as they claimed at the time?

Quite a few commenters are calling Grass an “anti-Semite” and making hay out of his being drafted into the Waffen-SS in the final two months of World War II which dented his moral authority in Germany. Grass, for his part claims to have never fired a single bullet.

An opinion article in Haaretz has termed the poem “pathetic” but exonerates Grass from being an “anti-Semite,” which if anyone has read his works knows he is not.

Perhaps Guenter Grass is not the most astute individual when it comes to commenting on the geo-political intrigues playing out with regards to the war rhetoric between Israel and Iran, but it is a mistake to censor his work, not to take his points about double standards and hypocrisy seriously and to label him an anti-Semite.

Laureate accuses Israel of plotting to ‘wipe out’ Iran Israel to build 1,121 settler homes – Hebron squatters evicted

BERLIN: German Nobel literature laureate Gunter Grass touched off a firestorm of protest yesterday with a poem accusing Israel of plotting Iran’s annihilation and threatening world peace. The 84-year-old longtime leftist activist wrote in “What must be said” that he worried Israel “could wipe out the Iranian people” with a “first strike” due to the threat it sees in Tehran’s disputed nuclear program. “Why do I only say now, aged and with my last ink: the atomic power Israel is endangering the already fragile world peace?” reads the poem, which appeared in the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung yesterday.

Grass answers that Nazi Germany’s “incomparable” crimes against Jews and his own fear of accusations of anti-Semitism kept him from openly criticising Israel. But now, “tomorrow could already be too late” and Germany could become a “supplier to a crime”, Grass wrote, referring to a deal sealed last month for Berlin to sell Israel a sixth nuclear-capable Dolphin-class submarine. “I admit: I will be silent no longer, because I am sick of the hypocrisy of the West”.

Israel slammed the poem, which also sparked a fevered debate on German-language news and culture websites. “What must be said is that it belongs to European tradition to accuse the Jews of ritual murder before the Passover celebration,” said Emmanuel Nahshon, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Israeli embassy in Berlin, in a statement. “It used to be Christian children whose blood the Jews used to make matza (unleavened bread), today it is the Iranian people that the Jewish state purportedly wants to wipe out.” Nahshon said Israel was “the only state in the world whose right to exist is publicly doubted”. “We want to live in peace with our neighbours in the region. And we are not prepared to assume the role that Gunter Grass assigns us in the German people’s process of coming to terms with its history.”

The Israel director of the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Efraim Zuroff, accused Grass of making himself the spokesman “for anti-Semitic Germans sick of the Holocaust and seeking to rid themselves of any responsibility for its aftermath”. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle released a statement without mentioning Grass by name in which he warned against “making light of the dangers of the Iranian nuclear program”. “Iran obtaining nuclear weapons is not only a threat to Israel and the entire region but also a danger for the world’s security architecture,” he said, underlining Germany’s efforts to prevent Iran from having nuclear arms.

Grass, author of the renowned anti-war novel “The Tin Drum”, shocked his admirers in 2006 when he admitted, six decades after World War II, that he had been a member of the notorious Waffen SS – a revelation that severely undermined his until then substantial moral authority in Germany. Grass said he long kept silent on Israel’s own nuclear program because his country committed “crimes that are without comparison”, but he has come to see that silence as a “burdensome lie and a coercion” whose disregard carries a punishment – “the verdict ‘anti-Semitism’ is commonly used”.

Henryk M Broder, a prominent German Jewish columnist, accused Grass in light of his poem of having become “the prototype of the educated anti-Semite”. “Grass has always had a problem with Jews but he has never articulated it as clearly as with this ‘poem’,” Broder wrote in the daily Die Welt. The country’s most influential media commentators were unanimous in their criticism, saying Grass had offered up a one-sided portrayal of Israel as the aggressor and Iran as a victim of a mortal threat. “Never before in the history of the republic has a prominent intellectual waged a battle against Israel in such a cliched way,” wrote the website of news weekly Der Spiegel. Only Wolfgang Gehrcke of the far-left Die Linke party defended Grass in public, saying he had the “courage” to express “what is widely kept silent”.

Israel, the sole if undeclared nuclear power in the Middle East, has said it is keeping all options open for responding to Iran’s program which it says is aimed at securing atomic weapons, posing an existential threat to the Jewish state. Iran, whose President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad frequently questions Israel’s right to exist, has consistently denied that its sensitive nuclear work is aimed at making weapons.

Separately, Israel’s government yesterday published tenders for 1,121 new settler homes as it faced settler anger over its decision to evict Israeli families from a disputed home in the Palestinian city of Hebron. Documents published on the Israeli housing ministry website showed the government had issued tenders for 872 new homes in Har Homa, a contentious settlement neighbourhood in the southern part of Arab east Jerusalem. Another 180 are to be built in Givat Zeev, just to the north of Jerusalem in the West Bank, while the remaining 69 are to be built in Katzrin in the occupied Golan Heights, the documents showed. Read rest here

The full text of the poem:

Why I am silent, silent for too much time,
how much is clear and we made it
in war games, where, as survivors,
we are just the footnotes

That is the claimed right to the formal preventive aggression
which could erase the Iranian people
dominated by a bouncer and moved to an organized jubilation,
because in the area of his competence there is
the construction of the atomic bomb

And then why do I avoid myself
to call the other country with its name,
where since years – even if secretly covered –
there is an increasing nuclear power,
without control, because unreachable
by every inspection?

I feel the everybody silence on this state of affairs,
which my silence is slave to,
as an oppressive lie and an inhibition that presents punishment
we don’t pay attention to;
the verdict “anti-Semitism” is common

Now, since my country,
from time to time touched by unique and exclusive crimes,
obliged to justify itself,
again for pure business aims – even if
with fast tongue we call it “reparation” –
should deliver another submarine to Israel,
with the specialty of addressing
annihilating warheads where the
existence of one atomic bomb is not proved
but it wants evidence as a scarecrow,
I say what must be said

Why did I stay silent until now?
Because the thought about my origin,
burdened by an unclearing stain,
had avoiding to wait this fact
like a truth declared by the State of Israel
that I want to be connected to

Why did I say it only now,
old and with the last ink:
the nuclear power of Israel
threat the world peace?
Because it must be said
what tomorrow will be too late;
Because – as Germans and with
enough faults on the back –
we might also become deliverers of a predictable
crime, and no excuse would erase our complicity

And I admit: I won’t be silent
because I had enough of the Western hypocrisy;
Because I wish that many will want
to get rid of the silence,
exhorting the cause of a recognizable
risk to the abdication, asking that a free and permanent control
of the Israel atomic power
and the Iran nuclear bases
will be made by both the governments
with an international supervision

Only in this way, Israelis, Palestinians, and everybody,
all people living hostile face to face in that
country occupied by the craziness,
will have a way out,
so us too

(The original German):

Warum schweige ich, verschweige zu lange,
was offensichtlich ist und in Planspielen
geübt wurde, an deren Ende als Überlebende
wir allenfalls Fußnoten sind.

Es ist das behauptete Recht auf den Erstschlag,
der das von einem Maulhelden unterjochte
und zum organisierten Jubel gelenkte
iranische Volk auslöschen könnte,
weil in dessen Machtbereich der Bau
einer Atombombe vermutet wird.

Doch warum untersage ich mir,
jenes andere Land beim Namen zu nennen,
in dem seit Jahren – wenn auch geheimgehalten –
ein wachsend nukleares Potential verfügbar
aber außer Kontrolle, weil keiner Prüfung
zugänglich ist?

Das allgemeine Verschweigen dieses Tatbestandes,
dem sich mein Schweigen untergeordnet hat,
empfinde ich als belastende Lüge
und Zwang, der Strafe in Aussicht stellt,
sobald er mißachtet wird;
das Verdikt ‘Antisemitismus’ ist geläufig.

Jetzt aber, weil aus meinem Land,
das von ureigenen Verbrechen,
die ohne Vergleich sind,
Mal um Mal eingeholt und zur Rede gestellt wird,
wiederum und rein geschäftsmäßig, wenn auch
mit flinker Lippe als Wiedergutmachung deklariert,
ein weiteres U-Boot nach Israel
geliefert werden soll, dessen Spezialität
darin besteht, allesvernichtende Sprengköpfe
dorthin lenken zu können, wo die Existenz
einer einzigen Atombombe unbewiesen ist,
doch als Befürchtung von Beweiskraft sein will,
sage ich, was gesagt werden muß.

Warum aber schwieg ich bislang?
Weil ich meinte, meine Herkunft,
die von nie zu tilgendem Makel behaftet ist,
verbiete, diese Tatsache als ausgesprochene Wahrheit
dem Land Israel, dem ich verbunden bin
und bleiben will, zuzumuten.

Warum sage ich jetzt erst,
gealtert und mit letzter Tinte:
Die Atommacht Israel gefährdet
den ohnehin brüchigen Weltfrieden?

Weil gesagt werden muß,
was schon morgen zu spät sein könnte;
auch weil wir – als Deutsche belastet genug –
Zulieferer eines Verbrechens werden könnten,
das voraussehbar ist, weshalb unsere Mitschuld
durch keine der üblichen Ausreden
zu tilgen wäre.

Und zugegeben: ich schweige nicht mehr,
weil ich der Heuchelei des Westens
überdrüssig bin; zudem ist zu hoffen,
es mögen sich viele vom Schweigen befreien,
den Verursacher der erkennbaren Gefahr
zum Verzicht auf Gewalt auffordern und
gleichfalls darauf bestehen,
daß eine unbehinderte und permanente Kontrolle
des israelischen atomaren Potentials
und der iranischen Atomanlagen
durch eine internationale Instanz
von den Regierungen beider Länder zugelassen wird.

Nur so ist allen, den Israelis und Palästinensern,
mehr noch, allen Menschen, die in dieser
vom Wahn okkupierten Region
dicht bei dicht verfeindet leben
und letztlich auch uns zu helfen.

Mohammed Merah: Al-Qaeda Linked Terrorist is Chief Suspect Behind French Murders

Posted in Feature, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2012 by loonwatch

French_Shooting

The chief suspect in the murders of three French soldiers (2 North Africans, 1 Caribbean), and four Jews, including three children, is a 23 year old man named Mohammed Merah we are being told. The French interior minister, Claude Gueant alleges that the motive behind the attack was to,

“take revenge for Palestinian children” killed in the Middle East, and [he] was angry at the French military for its operations abroad.

The explanation of a motive will give little comfort to the bereaved families. How can Merah purport to be acting in the cause of Palestine when he TARGETED innocents? What demented, twisting acrobatics enabled him to let go of the innate morals within his humanity and kill children? Did he not realize he was betraying Islam, its core principles and the causes he claimed to be fighting for when he went on this killing spree?

The sort of callousness and cold precision with which he operated reveals the mind of a sickening sociopath.

Islamophobes in their haste had pinned their hopes on this murderer being a Muslim, so that they could once again smear and condemn Islam and Muslims. They attempt to minimize and cover for the role that occupation, war, invasion and murder plays in producing anger and…terrorists.

The double standards from them are expected, when an Anders Behring Breivik exterminates 60+ children he is, according to them, a “lone gunman,” a “nutter.” No discussion about the ideology, the anti-Muslim Islamophobic extremism that inspired Breivik’s terrorist Crusade, and which they propagate daily, is mentioned. When a US soldier goes on a rampage and eliminates 16+ civilians as they sleep, including 9 children we do not even learn their names and the soldier is treated with sympathy in the media and PRAISE amongst the Muslim haters.

If the allegations against Mohammed Merah are true, and they likely are, he should face the full brunt of the law for his crimes, but lets hope that the anti-Muslims do not attempt to use these horrific incidents to shift the focus from the true enemy, radical violent extremism whether Islamist (AlQaeda) or Radical Right (Anders Breivik, EDL, etc.). Life in Europe and particularly France, which is already seeing a campaign feeding off of right-wing populism and anti-Muslim rhetoric, will most likely get more difficult now.

What will be missing from all this is the fact that as long as wars of occupation, daily bombing and hate-mongering persist against Muslim majority nations you can rest assured that you will create more Mohammed Merah’s.

*Update I: If it’s not abundantly clear from the above, let me say it, Merah and the AlQaedah ideology is responsible for this crime, no one else, he stands completely condemned by Loonwatch as he does by nearly every honest and humane person. There is no apology above or blame shifting, just stating the facts. Merah himself claims to be acting out in revenge due to the killing of Palestinians and Afghans, I didn’t say this, the French Interior Minister did. Many seem to think we can’t even discuss the motives of these attacks?

Update II (via B-Boy Blue): Having tracked live updates on various online news outlets all day the contraditory information being released is painting a confusing picture of Merah’s background & history.

It was stated with some authority that he has been to Afghanistan & Pakistan to fight for the Mujehadeen. It was claimed that he’d actually been arrested, jailed & then escaped from prison in a Taliban jailbreak. Here are some excerpts:

“Reuters report that the suspect had been serving a three year sentence when he escaped from jail, quoting the director of Kandahar prison.”

“According to Reuters news agency, the head of Kandahar prison in Afghanistan, says the suspect Mohammed Merah, escaped from the prison in a mass Taliban jailbreak.”

“Details of the suspect’s time in Afghanistan are still sketchy, but Le Monde is reporting that he went twice to Pakistan, once in 2010 and again 2011, to speak with groups of fighters based in the tribal regions near the border with Afghanistan. The paper claims that he trained in the camps there alongside the Pakistani Taliban, foreign jihadis and members of the Haqqani network — and that he even crossed the border into Afghanistan as part of groups sent to fight Nato troops.

It says he is understood to have stopped off in Waziristan before heading to Kandahar and Zabul in the south of Afghanistan. Interestingly, it also says that he was stopped by police on the outskirts of Kandahar city. Although he was not arrested, his presence in the region as a foreign national was unusual enough for the police to report him to the Afghan intelligence services, who reportedly then passed on the information to western intelligence services.”

Jawed Faisal, a spokesman for the Kandahar provincial government, said:

I can’t confirm it was the same person but there was someone in Kandahar prison with the name Mohammed Merah, who was famous as ‘the French guy’. His father and grandfather had Afghan names, and he could pass as an Afghan. His father’s name was Mohammad Seddiq, grandfather was Mohammad Shah.

“His crime was that he was captured laying IEDs, and he was sentenced to three years in jail, but only served five months of it when the prison break happened and he escaped.

“We don’t know which part of Kandahar province he was caught in.”
Faisal added that he didn’t know how long Merah had been in Afghanistan or how long he stayed after prison break.

Lt Col Jimmie Cummings, a spokesman for the Nato-led coalition, said he was aware of reports that Merah had been held in an Afghan prison, but refered all questions to Afghan officials.”

This is all extremely detailed & seemingly conclusive. If it wasn’t for the fact the official twitter account of the Kandahar Governor’s Media office refuted the claim that he had been imprisoned there.

https://twitter.com/#!/KandaharMediaOf

@KandaharMediaOf
Security Forces in Kandahar have never detained a French citizen named Mohammad Merah.

@KandaharMediaOf
@SkyNewsBreak He wasn’t the 1 responsible for the school shooting, but another 1 responsible for bomb blasts in Kandahar. 2 separate cases.

@KandaharMediaOf
@MaryFitzgerldIT Toulouse gunman wasn’t arrested in Kandahar, he is not the one that escaped from Kandahar prison, perhaps names r the same.

It appears that a man with the same name was but not a French national. This fact calls into question many of the previous assertions & casts doubt on much of the official narrative up until this point.

Some other pertinent quotes to consider.

“As for political or religious beliefs, he was very discreet. He never said anything that might lead one to believe he had these views.”

“He didn’t have a dad. This has absolutely nothing to do with Islam, or with us, and I really hope that all the young people of our type of neighbourhood won’t be sullied by this.”

“He wasn’t into having fun, he became harder. He didn’t really go to the mosque, he seemed more likely to meet people in obscure flats.”

“The North African community is doubly hit, first by the grief for the victims and what happened, and also that we’re from the Magreb and people will be pointing fingers at us. I appeal to the French, don’t mix up the whole community with what has happened. Never never has Islam said to kill people.”

A group of four 24-year-old men who said they were friends of Merah tried to go to his apartment block on Wednesday to persuade him to surrender but were stopped at a police roadblock.

“All told a Reuters reporter he had never talked to them about religion and they had no idea he had been to Afghanistan.”

“He never spoke about Islam but he did pray. But we all pray five times a day. There’s nothing strange about that.”

Another friend of Moroccan origin said Merah had tried to enlist in the French army but had been rejected. He said he had seen Merah in a city centre nightclub just last week.

Merah did not drink “but I don’t think he is any more religious than I am. I think he has just lost the plot,” Danny Dem said.

A third contemporary, who declined to give his name, said he went to primary school with Merah and they had remained friends.

“He likes football and motor-bikes like any other guy his age,” said the man, dressed in a blue French national soccer shirt. “I didn’t even know he prayed.”

The head of the French Muslim Council, Mohammed Moussaoui, says: “These acts are in total contradiction with the foundations of this religion”. In remarks quoted by AFP he added: “France’s Muslims are offended by this claim of belonging to this religion.”

A little more background via AFP on the suspected gunman’s attempts to join the French military. The news agency reports that Merah “twice tried and failed to join the French army”.

It quotes the country’s defence ministry saying that Merah first tried to enlist at the age of 19 in the northern city of Lille in January 2008.

The French prosecutor, Francois Molins, has been giving more information on Merah. He told a press conference the suspect in the shooting attacks had been to Afghanistan twice and trained in Pakistan’s Waziristan, a militant stronghold. He said Merah’s brother had been implicated in a network that sent militant fighters to Iraq.

The French interior minister, Claude Gueant, said Merah had told police he belonged to al-Qaida and wanted to take revenge for the deaths of Palestinian children. Gueant said Merah was also angry against French military intervention overseas.

“The mystery here is that he was found to have quite a good arsenal of weapons, war weapons, and given that he was under surveillance it’s not clear how this could have escaped the attention of the authorities.” – Pierre Haski

Was he ever in Afghanistan or Pakistan? If not, why the claims of being under surveillance since returning? Who’s lying? The Government official or Kandahar Media Dept? With his Mother & siblings in precautionary custody surely they can establish his whereabouts during this period.

He has a history of petty theft & thuggery and no overt signs of religious or political militancy. Between 2007 and 2012 he attempted to join the French army twice & visited Pakistan & Afghanistan twice. He supposedly served 5 months in a Kandahar jail yet found his way back to France and was allowed to settle back into society whilst stockpiling weapons under surveillance. Despite being under suspicion for the murder of the soldiers, he was able to carry out the atrocity at the Jewish school.

As I write the siege is still in progress. If Merah doesn’t survive we’ll probably never find out exactly what is fact or fiction, which will no doubt fuel conspiracy talk. The web is already awash with speculation about false flag operations, inside jobs etc allowing Sarkozy to play the hero running up to the election.

What is certain, is that the only people who will suffer due to the actions of Merah and any repercussions are more innocents.

My thoughts are with the victims and their families.

Sweden’s Jews, Muslims Face Web Hate Rise: Study

Posted in Loon People, Loon Sites, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2012 by loonwatch

We’ve always noted that Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism are linked and on the rise. (H/T: Benjamin Taghiov)

Sweden’s Jews, Muslims face web hate rise: study

(The Local)

The number of xenophobic web sites have almost doubled since 2007 and Jews and Muslims wearing apparent religious symbols are subjected to significant discrimination in Sweden today, according to a new report from the Living History Forum (Forum för levande historia). 

“Sweden as a whole is a tolerant country but this report shows that racism is growing and is being professionalized on the internet. There is today a small but growing minority that harbour hatred against Muslims and Jews,” minister for integration, Erik Ullenhag, wrote in a statement on Monday.

The report, which was requested by the government and carried out by the Forum, also shows that an increased number of racist web pages have been created in recent years and that prejudice is being spread through schoolbooks.

According to the report, the number of racist sites in Sweden has almost doubled in two years. In 2009 there were around 8,000 xenophobic Swedish sites whereas today the authors of the report estimate an increase to 15,000.

This follows a EU-wide trend where right wing extremist groups are using the internet to spread hate-propaganda.

According to the report, these are characterized by anti-Semitic and Islamophobic views, where conspiracy theories are the most recurring elements.

The Jewish group is often cast as world conspirators whereas the Muslim group is seen as physical occupiers, actively are on their way to taking over society through mass-immigration and rising nativity figures.

The Jewish community in Sweden consists of some 20,000 individuals and the Muslim community of 300,000. Fresh crime statistics show that there were 161 reports of crimes with anti-Semitic motives and 272 with Islamophobic motives last year.

But according to the Forum it is difficult to get a fair idea of the situation from these statistics as they are based on police reports and the authors believe there may be many more unrecorded cases.

“Above all this study shows that research and follow-ups into preventative actions regarding intolerance against Jews and Muslims is sorely needed,” said head of Forum for Living History, Eskil Franck, in a statement.

According to Ullenhag, Swedish authorities must further their knowledge about what causes the hate against these groups to grow in Sweden and how they should meet it. That, he said, is the aim behind the investigation regarding xenophobia that the government launched earlier this spring.

“We have learnt from experiences in other European countries that all the forces who want a tolerant society need to be active in the public debate. Prejudice against Jews and Muslims can never be normalized,” said Ullenhag.

When American research centre Pew recently investigated the development of religious conflicts and oppression worldwide between 2006 and 2009, Sweden distinguished itself as a country where hostilities related to religion are increasing the most.

French PM Calls on Muslims and Jews to Renounce Halal and Kosher Slaughter

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2012 by loonwatch

More French loonieness:

French PM calls on Muslims and Jews to renounce halal and kosher slaughter

France’s prime minister urged Muslims and Jews to consider scrapping their halal and kosher slaughter laws on Monday as President Nicolas Sarkozy and his allies stepped up their efforts to woo far-right voters.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon made the suggestion after Sarkozy called at the weekend for butchers to clearly label meat slaughtered according to religious laws and his allies warned immigrants might impose halal meat on French schoolchildren.

Fillon and other conservative leaders linked this tough stand on ritually prepared meat to issues such as immigration and French identity that the far-right National Front uses to tap into resentment against Europe’s largest Muslim minority.

“Religions should think about keeping traditions that don’t have much in common with today’s state of science, technology and health problems,” Fillon told Europe 1 radio while discussing the two-round presidential election ending May 6. The “ancestral traditions” of ritual slaughter were justified for hygienic reasons in the past but were now outdated, he said. “We live in a modern society.”

Mohammad Moussaoui, head of France’s Muslim Council, said ritual slaughter was no more painful than modern methods and labelling meat as being prepared “without stunning” would feed resentment against the two minority religions using it. “It will stigmatise Muslims and Jews as people who don’t respect the interests of animals,” he said. “That will raise tensions in society.”

Reuters, 5 March 2012

Jerusalem SOS

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on February 16, 2012 by loonwatch
West Bank Wall
A graffiti depicting a way toward peace on the wall in Bethlehem on the edge of the West Bank shows hope and a wish for reconciliation. Image: Delayed Gratification Flickr

Undividing the Muslim Jewish experience by ignoring difference

by Dr. Ms. Mehnaz Afridi – Women’s News Network

(WNN/CGN): NY, NEW YORK: As I listen to sound bites of news, a swarm of words sting me: Iran, Israel, nuclear, Palestine-Israel at a standstill, Muslims kill Jews, and Jews kill Muslims. As a Muslim woman who teaches classes about the Holocaust at a Catholic college, I am constantly frustrated by the media coverage of the Middle East which overwhelmingly serves to highlight and entrench national and religious tensions, prejudice and conflict.

A recently-aired documentary by filmmaker Karen Ghitis, on Al Jazeera, was an extremely heartening exception to the rule. The film, Jerusalem SOS, showed Jews and Muslims saving each other’s lives.

The documentary, which aired last month, portrayed Arabs wearing orange vests printed with the red Star of David teamed up with haredi (or ultra-Orthodox) Jews with side curls, black skullcaps and tzitziot (knotted ritual fringes on their garments). And both groups have only praise for each other. Working as volunteer paramedics for the Orthodox Jewish organisation United Hatzalah (UH), these Jews and Muslims are taking note of the most important aspects of their faiths: preserving human lives and justice.

I was reminded of the Qur’anic injunction that states that “on that account We ordained for the Children of Isra`il that if any one slew a person … it would be as if he slew the whole humanity: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole humanity” (5:32).

Likewise, the Talmud (a repository of the ancient Jewish oral law and wisdom) states, “whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” (Babylonian Talmud, 22a).

In the documentary the UH-trained Palestinian paramedics note that there are often delays in ambulances reaching the sick and wounded in East Jerusalem because Israeli ambulances are not permitted to enter Palestinian neighbourhoods without being accompanied by a police or military escort. Moreover, some of the homes have no addresses. Because the UH paramedics know the area well and drive ambucycles (ambulances on motorcycles), they are the first to arrive at the scene.

The film shows the rescue team transcending physical and political borders in order to save lives. Members of both faiths help each other provide for their communities on their respective holy days: Muslims come to the rescue of Jews on the Jewish Sabbath, and Jews help Muslims in emergencies on Fridays, as well as during Ramadan.

Eli Be’er, the founder of UH, was quoted in the Jerusalem Post as saying: “Jews and Muslims do not oppose working together, despite the invisible boundaries and suspicions that separate their communities. In the beginning, I met a few who were surprised about working together, but after they saw that they are great people and really professional, they all like it.”

These Muslim and Jewish paramedics have embraced the spiritual richness of their faiths and ignored the superficial boundaries of difference. Media outlets should try and take a cue from their story, and focus more attention on hope and cooperation.

Another heartening interfaith story from some months ago comes to mind. On 5 June, ABC News reported that “One Israeli man dying of a failing heart learned today that he would live, thanks to a Palestinian family who donated the heart of one of its members slain in the escalating violence wracking Israel.”

The Israeli who received the heart commented on how their hearts were the same, and ultimately they were the same inside.

Even though the rancour of negative media surrounds us, it is important to acknowledge that grassroots initiatives by organisations like UH, or the personal initiative of the Palestinian family who donated a loved one’s heart, are the key to building understanding between Jews and Muslims.

It is therefore crucial that Jews and Muslims tune into the many positive stories of life and death, faith and justice that occur on a daily basis on the ground.

I am always in search of such heartfelt stories that illuminate the commonalities of our faiths and demonstrate social justice. In the three monotheistic religions we are commanded not to bear false witness. After all, we are all children of God and it is through our actions and perseverance that we affirm our shared values and commitments to one another – irrespective of religious differences.

***************************************

Witness: Jerusalem SOS

90% of Anti-Semitic Crimes in Germany Committed by Right-Wing Extremists

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on January 25, 2012 by loonwatch
Berlin_GermanyBerlin, Germany

Horowitz tool Robert Spencer and his right-wing buddies, Bat Yeor, Geert Wilders, Pamela Geller, etc. have attempted to create a narrative that Muslim immigrants and their children are responsible for most, if not all “anti-Semitic crimes” in Europe. We have shown in the past that this is false, and the below article asserts that it is actually “right-wing extremists” who commit most anti-Semitic crimes–upwards to 90%.

The article also reveals that about 20% of Germans harbor some form of anti-Semitism:

(via. YNetNews)

Study: 20% of Germans harbor anti-Semitism

Sarah Bauder and AP

A new study by a Parliament-appointed commission shows 20% of Germans harbor “latent” anti-Semitism, but anti-Jewish crimes are almost exclusively committed by the far right.

The 188-page report – which draws on several different surveys and other research – puts Germans in the middle of the pack in Europe, with a German university survey showing more latent anti-Semitism in countries such as Poland, Hungary and Portugal, and less in Italy, Britain, the Netherlands and France.

The study released Monday said the surveys show that about one-fifth of Germans agree with anti-Semitic statements, such as “Jews have too much power in business.”

The study also showed that 90% of anti-Semitic crimes are committed by right-wing extremists, who number about 26,000 according to official estimates.

It recommends better coordination of local, state and federal strategies to combat anti-Semitism.

The report makes reference to “a wider acceptance in mainstream society of day-to-day anti-Jewish tirades and actions”.

“Anti-Semitism in our society is based on widespread prejudices, deeply rooted clichés and on sheer ignorance about Jews and Judaism,” stated one of the report’s authors, Dr. Peter Longerich of the University of London, Holocaust Research Center.

The report cites the Internet as a contributing factor to the spread of anti-Semitic thought.

“With regard to modern forms of communication – we point to the Internet in particular – it is virtually impossible to prevent the spread of such thinking,” Longerich continued.

Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life